Project C.A.T.+WWF: Double the Number of Tigers

by World Wildlife Fund - US
Project C.A.T.+WWF: Double the Number of Tigers
Project C.A.T.+WWF: Double the Number of Tigers
Project C.A.T.+WWF: Double the Number of Tigers
Project C.A.T.+WWF: Double the Number of Tigers
Project C.A.T.+WWF: Double the Number of Tigers
Project C.A.T.+WWF: Double the Number of Tigers
Project C.A.T.+WWF: Double the Number of Tigers
Project C.A.T.+WWF: Double the Number of Tigers
Project C.A.T.+WWF: Double the Number of Tigers
Project C.A.T.+WWF: Double the Number of Tigers
Project C.A.T.+WWF: Double the Number of Tigers
Project C.A.T.+WWF: Double the Number of Tigers
naturepl.com / Andy Rouse / WWF
naturepl.com / Andy Rouse / WWF

The Tigers Alive Initiative

2022 is the final year of the most ambitious recovery effort ever undertaken for a single species. TX2, the goal to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022, was a global commitment made in 2010 by 13 tiger range governments. Once over 100,000 strong, the wild tiger population was believed to be down to just 3,200 in 2010. WWF supports and advises these governments in achieving this goal which is vital in ensuring a future for tigers. With the end of 2022 approaching, it is a great time to reflect on ways that WWF is working to ensure the long-term recovery of the tiger population.   

Tiger conservation is crucial, but it is often difficult as tigers live in some of the most densely human populated regions of the world. Conserving tiger habitat helps conserve land that supports the livelihoods, culture, traditions, and social existence of local communities, but can also lead to conflicts between humans and their wildlife neighbors. To ensure the long-term success of the wild tiger population it is essential to work directly with the people living and working in these areas, which led WWF to create the Tigers Alive Initiative.

Living with Tigers

Tigers are apex predators which means that they play a vital role in maintaining the earth’s ecosystems. In addition, they also require large spaces to roam and therefore, finding solutions that conserve apex predators and help local communities thrive is becoming increasingly difficult as the human population continues to grow quickly and spread rapidly.

Tigers often have a positive effect on a community by bringing in tourism revenue and employment opportunities. Unfortunately, there are also instances of loss of land, loss of decision-making power over resources, and increased human-wildlife conflict for the people living in a tiger landscape. WWF is striving to answer the question: how can we work with communities as partners in long-term tiger conservation?

Working with Local Communities

Our main objective of the people-centered tiger conservation approach, the Tigers Alive initiative, is to become trusted partners with the communities in tiger landscapes by better understanding their priorities and values, maintaining dialogue, and seeking innovations together. The partnership is rooted in trust, transparency, and the continuous monitoring of the impact of the project on the communities.

The Tigers Alive Initiative is unique to other community engagement programs because it seeks to understand both the benefits and non-monetary costs of conservation for communities such as loss of access to land and usage rights. This can help strengthen the ownership and buy-in of communities towards the conservation goal. The Tigers Alive Initiative, through its people-centered tiger conservation approach, is working to make the shift from viewing communities as beneficiaries of conservation projects, to working with them as partners in tiger conservation. This initiative is crucial in helping to reach our global goal of doubling the number of tigers in the wild by 2022.  

How You Can Help!  

As we near the end of the TX2 global recovery effort, the world’s wild tiger population is showing signs of recovery. Thanks to supporters like you, WWF has accelerated tiger monitoring, habitat protection, anti-poaching efforts, and created programs such as the Tigers Alive Initiative to save the beloved species. The fight is not over! Your commitment makes a difference in our work and sets an inspiring example that together, change is possible. Thank you! 

Emmanuel Rondeau / WWF-US
Emmanuel Rondeau / WWF-US
Nitish Madan / WWF-International
Nitish Madan / WWF-International

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WWF-Nepal
WWF-Nepal

2022 - The Year of the Tiger  

The start of 2022 brings the beginning of the final year of the most ambitious recovery effort ever undertaken for a single species. TX2, the goal to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022, was a global commitment made in 2010 by 13 tiger range governments. Once over 100,000 strong, the wild tiger population was believed to be down to just 3,200 in 2010. WWF supports and advises these governments in achieving this goal which is vital in ensuring a future for tigers. 2022, the Year of the Tiger, according to the Chinese Lunar calendaris here and is a time to reflect over the progress that has been made since 2010.  

Since the project began, tiger populations have been increasing in countries such as Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, and Russia, where there is political support, funding, and collaboration. Other countries are struggling to see positive results due to hunting and habitat loss which continue to be the primary drivers for tiger population declines across Southeast Asia including Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Malaysia.  

This massive recovery effort is being led by governments, conservation organizations, and communities and we often think about the progress on a large scale. But it is also important to celebrate the individuals in the field that make the research for this kind of project possible. Since TX2 began in 2010, teams of scientists have dedicated countless hours to tracking the location of tigers and closely monitoring changes in their population. WWF-Nepal did a special interview of a team of researchers to highlight what a day in the life of a tiger tracking team in the Terai Arc Landscape of Nepal looks like.  

A Day in the Life of a Tiger Tracker  

This six-member team of researchers is led by Bishnu Bahadar Lama, who is often regarded as Nepal’s finest tiger tracker. Bishnu and his team are on a tiger monitoring project that will last 20 days and will cover a total area of 44 square miles. The team startevery morning early with coffee and biscuits around the fire. After breakfast at camp, the team prepares the equipment and gear that they will need for the day. Using their map that is divided into different sites, each 1.5 square miles in size, they figure out which area they need to cover that day. They pack with them ten pairs of cameras for the day, each equipped with motion/infrared sensors and GPS to detect and monitor wildlife. They head out into the forest for a long day of tracking.  

After an hour of hiking, they are at their first site, Nakkali Khola. After spotting tiger tracks along the river trail, the team chooses locations to mount the cameras each 16 inches from the ground and 26 feet apart from on another. They mark each camera with a specific ID number and test the placement of the camera to ensure it would capture a tiger walking. The cameras will be left in each grid area of the forest for the next 15-20 days and are used to capture images of tigers which can then be identified by their unique stripe pattern. This information can be analyzed to estimate tiger populations.  

Following the camera installation, the team must conduct habitat occupancy and line transect surveys. These surveys help the team record signs of tiger and prey activity in the surrounding area to further understand the range occupied by both tigers and the species they prey on. For the occupancy survey, the team walks just over one mile of the riverbed and takes detailed notes and photographs of any tiger footprints found. The line transect survey requires the team to walk a straight line called a “transect” and note the distance, direction, and sex of any prey species found along the route. An abundance of prey is essential for the survival of tigers in an area, so understanding prey populations can give insight into why tigers are struggling or thriving in an area.  

The surveys take about four hours each and once completed, the team finally makes the trek back to camp. They arrive back by 7:15pm, unpack their supplies, and prepare for dinner and stories around the fire. The team will remain in the forest for the entirety of their 20-day tiger tracking expedition and each day will be just as busy as the next 

How You Can Help! 
 
With a common passion for tiger conservation, Bishnu and his team are an admirable example of the hard work going into protecting tigers in the TX2 project. Thanks to supporters like you, WWF has accelerated tiger monitoring, habitat protection, anti-poaching efforts, and more to save the beloved species, and for the first time in decades, the wild tiger population is showing signs of recovery. The fight is not over! Your ongoing commitment makes a difference in our work and sets an inspiring example that together, change is possible. Thank you! 

WWF-Nepal
WWF-Nepal
WWF-Nepal
WWF-Nepal

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Dr Sanjay K Shukla / WWF-International
Dr Sanjay K Shukla / WWF-International

TX2 by 2022 Progress Update 

As 2022 approaches, so does the final year of the most ambitious recovery effort ever undertaken for a single species. TX2, the goal to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022, was a global commitment made in 2010 by 13 tiger range governments. Once over 100,000 strong, the wild tiger population was believed to be down to just 3,200 in 2010. WWF supports and advises these governments in achieving this goal which is vital in ensuring a future for tigers. This past Global Tiger Day – July 29, 2021 – was a perfect time to reflect on the efforts thus far as 2022, the Year of the Tiger according to the Chinese Lunar calendar, quickly approaches.  

While reflecting on the data over the last 11 years, it became clear that uneven progress has been made towards the goal. While some tiger range countries are seeing positive increases in population numbers due to political support, funding, and collaboration, other countries in Southeast Asia are experiencing challenges and tiger numbers continue to decrease. 

Success Stories  

Major conservation progress is occurring in countries such as Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, and Russia where tiger numbers are increasing. India has made impressive strides and announced recently that they have approved 14 new sites under the Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CA|TS). This means that all tiger reserves are now CA|TS sites and have been approved by an international grading system for protected area management. This is a crucial milestone as India is home to over 60% of the world’s tigers. Nepal has also been successful in increasing tiger numbers by raising their political profile. The country has created national tiger committees which are chaired by the heads of government to keep tiger conservation in the forefront of political decisions. Russia has been able to triple populations numbers in their Land of the Leopard National Park by converting the park into a wildlife corridor and a main route for tigers to establish new territories.  

These examples give hope for saving tigers. Ginette Hemley, Senior Vice President for Wildlife Conservation WWF-US, writes that “We have proven recovery is achievable when governments, communities, conservation organizations and other partners work together.” These countries will continue in their efforts and can act as an example for countries across Southeast Asia.  

The Struggles Facing Southeast Asia  

Hunting and habitat loss have been drivers for tiger population declines across Asia for more than 100 years, and unfortunately continue to be a problem in countries across Southeast Asia including Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, and MalaysiaSpecifically, a snaring crisis, human-wildlife conflict, and the illegal wildlife trade have made it almost certain that these countries will enter 2022 with fewer tigers than they did in 2010.  

The snaring crisis continues to empty the forests of Southeast Asia of wildlife with an estimated 12 million snares on the ground across Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam. Tigers are extinct in each of these countries and unless strong action is taken, the same could happen in other areas of the region. Habitat loss from development, illegal logging, and expanding agriculture continue to threaten tigers but are not as devastating as the illegal trade for tigers and tiger parts. The demand for tiger products has led to an increase in tiger ‘farms’ where an estimated 8,000 tigers live in captivity in China, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. Between 2000 and 2018, an estimated 1,004 whole tigers were seized from traffickers across Southeast Asia. To fight this problem, WWF is calling on these governments to put an end to tiger farms and stop the trade of tiger parts from all sources.  

These statistics are bleak, but there is still an opportunity for change across Southeast Asia.  With increased government intervention, these countries can begin to turn things around and thankfully, the intersection of organized crime and illegal wildlife trade is gaining more political attention.  WWF Japan is hosting a dedicated ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) and Illegal Wildlife Trade session with the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists at a conference this month for participants from Japan and the region. Stronger collaboration between governments, NGO’s and local communities will also be key.  Malaysia is beginning to see positive changes as anti-poaching patrols led by local communities has helped to reduce the number of active snares by 94%. Sophia Limm, Executive Director and CEO of WWF-Malaysia, acknowledges that this collaboration has reduced poaching in Malaysia and states that “We now need to scale this up across the country and match it with strong will and investment.” A combined effort from all parties can help recover the Southeast Asia tiger population.  

How You Can Help!  

In the face of tremendous threats to wild tigers’ survival, your support is helping to strengthen law enforcement and anti-poaching efforts and to 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! 

Gordon Congdon
Gordon Congdon
Rahul K Talegaonkar
Rahul K Talegaonkar

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Jim Jabara / WWF
Jim Jabara / WWF

Threat of Wildlife Trafficking

One way that WWF is helping to protect tigers is by continuously striving to end online wildlife trafficking. Wildlife trafficking, the second largest threat to species loss, affects tigers each day as they continue to be targeted because there is a demand for products made from their fur, claws, teeth, and bones as well as a demand for live tiger cubs. Other species such as elephants, pangolins, marine turtles, and many more are also killed for various products, or captured to be sold in the pet trade. Unfortunately, technology advances have heightened this problem as the communication link has been made easier between poacher and consumer. Now, with the click of a button, live animals and animal products can be illegally bought and sold directly on the internet. With just under 4,000 wild tigers left in the wild, putting an end to online wildlife trafficking is essential in protecting the remaining population.

Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online

To address this issue, WWF joined forces with NGO partners TRAFFIC and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and many of the world’s leading tech companies in 2018 to launch the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online. The coalition aims to create an industry-wide approach to reducing wildlife trafficking online by implementing crucial policies, conducting staff trainings, and focusing on user education. By developing specialized action plans for each online platform the coalition believes that together they can work to reduce online wildlife trafficking by 80%.

What is the latest update?

The 2020 Annual Report shares that since its start in 2018, the coalition has grown to include 34 tech companies have joined the mission, from Google and Microsoft to eBay, Pinterest and Etsy. Together these tech companies have helped to remove 3,335,381 listings of endangered species off their platforms. They have flagged more than 4,500 wildlife products for sale, have trained more than 470 staff members and have engaged a potential user pool of 4.54 billion people. This success and the common alignment to policy is showing cybercriminals that direct action is being taken and is helping protect tigers each day.

How you can help!

You can help WWF protect tigers by continuing to support our project, and sharing it with your family, friends, and colleagues. Increasing awareness about the importance of being a conscious shopper and ensuring you are not purchasing animal products made from endangered species is crucial. You can also use our resources to identify illegal products and report them to the coalition for verification.  Together we can protect animal species and put an end to online wildlife trafficking!

https://www.endwildlifetraffickingonline.org/
https://www.endwildlifetraffickingonline.org/
Nitish Madan / WWF-International
Nitish Madan / WWF-International

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DoFSC/WWF Nepal
DoFSC/WWF Nepal

Tiger spotted at record-high elevation in Nepal

New camera trap images reveal the highest-elevation sighting of a tiger in Nepal, captured at over 8,000 feet in a densely forested area. The images were taken by one of the 32 pairs of cameras set up in the Dadeldhura district in western Nepal as part of a month-long survey conducted by the Divisional Forestry Office and WWF Nepal. The survey built upon results from a 2017 survey conducted by the Terai Arc Landscape Program, which confirmed the presence of an individual tiger in lower elevations1,598 feet—in Dadeldhura.

Why is this significant?

This first-ever recorded evidence of a tiger at this high of an elevation in Nepal supports the notion that high-altitude habitats may provide refuge for tigers and help connect their territory between Nepal and India. The finding also expands Nepal’s known tiger distribution from the Terai Arc Landscape, widening opportunities for potential tiger habitats including the use of high-altitude areas.  

“We know that tigers are highly adaptable and have been documented at various altitudes in different landscapes, but in this case, it is important to find out why,” said Nilanga Jayasinghe, senior program officer for Asian Species Conservation. “These images are especially significant because they point to the importance of natural corridors that provide safe dispersal pathways between protected areas for tigers and other wildlife.” 

The Government of Nepal’s flagship Terai Arc Landscape Program has already restored many such connectivity bottlenecks to make the landscape functional, recognizing that the main threat to wild tigers in the Terai Arc is habitat loss and fragmentation. Still, more needs to be done to ensure those landscapes stay connected in the future.

What's next?

Maintaining and restoring key wildlife corridors is essential to expanding tiger populations, but increasing threats from infrastructure development is fragmenting these key habitats. WWF is working with policymakers, companies, and investors to improve sustainable approaches to infrastructure planning and construction to ensure consideration is given to important wildlife passages and crossing points into protected landscapes. Sustainable infrastructure is not only beneficial to tigers and other wildlife, but also important to socio-economic growth, particularly to the rural areas and local communities, and for maintaining functional habitats, ecosystem services, and climate resilience.

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.

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World Wildlife Fund - US

Location: Washington, DC - USA
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Project Leader:
Cheron Carlson
Washington, DC United States
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