naturepl.com / Andy Rouse / WWF
As we enter a new decade and prepare to face the challenges that lie ahead, we’d like to take a moment to share a couple stories of champions hard at work during 2019 to help protect tigers.
Citizen Scientist Chhabi Magar walks through western Nepal’s Gauri Mahila Community Forest, reminiscing about a time only 10 years ago when this area was treeless, and the only place he’d see tigers was on rupee notes. But now, thanks to community reforestation projects, the forest is abundant—and thanks to the work Magar is doing, his dreams of seeing real wild tigers are coming true. For the past two years, Magar has been serving as a local citizen scientist, setting up and maintaining camera traps in the forest close to where he lives in order to monitor tigers’ movements. By capturing these images of the big cats in their natural habitat, scientists can get a much clearer sense of how tiger populations in the forest are faring, providing valuable insight into how to best protect them. Happily, the results of Magar’s camera trap data are contributing to some very uplifting news. Eleven years ago, only 18 tigers were counted in this region. Today, there are 87.
In a village tucked deep in the Dawna Tenasserim forests of Myanmar, Hey Mer, a rubber farmer, made a choice. She wouldn’t follow the example of so many who had been destroying her country’s fragile forests to create rubber farms. Instead, she decided to take a WWF-led workshop on sustainable rubber farming and production. She learned how to plant in ways that would conserve the forest and allow her to create the kind of sustainably grown rubber that’s typically in high demand with international buyers. She applied what she’d learned, and soon word spread about the high-quality product she was producing. Neighboring villagers began visiting, asking her to teach them how to do what she was doing. Today, Hey Mer has become known as a leader in her village, nurturing enthusiasm for sustainable farming and dispersing seeds of knowledge she hopes will help her entire region reap better income for all while protecting their precious forests for future generations – and for tiger survival.
The world’s first Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber aims to transform the global rubber industry through standards for sustainable rubber that protect forests, biodiversity, and human rights, while improving the livelihoods of small-scale farmers.
- While the global tiger numbers have increased for the first time in more than a century due to great effort and focus by countries like Nepal, Bhutan, India, and Russia, tiger conservation remains a challenge in Southeast Asia, where rampant poaching, demand for tiger parts, and deforestation are an ever-present threat.
- Illegal wildlife trade remains a severe threat to tigers. WWF prioritizes our work to ensure Asian tiger farms are closed, and works through public outreach, international policy forums, and on-the-ground with our country offices in China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand to ensure those governments commit to complete bans on tiger trade, and a rapid shut down and phase out of their tiger farms.
Innovative collaborations and solutions:
- WWF prioritizes our work to ensure Asian tiger farms are closed, and works through public outreach, international policy forums, and on-the-ground with our country offices in China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand to ensure those governments commit to complete bans on tiger trade, and a rapid shut down and phase out of their tiger farms.
- In just over a year since its start, the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online has become the leading wildlife crime and tech industry partnership, with 34 of the world’s top tech companies working together to stop wildlife trafficking online. The coalition brings together companies from across the world in partnership with wildlife experts at WWF, TRAFFIC, and IFAW for an industry-wide approach to reduce wildlife trafficking online by 80% by 2020.
What you can do to help:
- Your continued support means the world to tiger survival. Please share our project with your colleagues, friends and family.
- Watch Discovery's documentary, Tigerland, which aired this past March. The documentary covers generations of tiger conservation efforts from India to Far East Russia, and the brave champions leading the efforts.
With a global population of as few as 3,890 wild tigers, every population increase, and collaborative milestone matters. In the face of tremendous threats to wild tigers’ survival, your support is helping to strengthen law enforcement, anti-poaching efforts and slow deforestation in tiger habitats—all lending to our goal of doubling the number of tigers in the wild by 2022. Your commitment makes a difference in our work and sets an inspiring example that together, change is possible. Thank you.
naturepl.com / Yashpal Rathore / WWF