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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

Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia's Snaring Crisis

In previous updates we have shared encouraging news about the progress some countries have made in increasing the number of tigers, such as India and Bhutan. But countries in Southeast Asia continue to face challenges. Just last month, WWF issued a report on the surge of the snaring crisis in SE Asia that is threatening the survival of not only tigers, but countless other species as well.

Snares are contributing to a wildlife extinction crisis, while also impacting ecosystems that support human well-being across Southeast Asia. Usually made from wire cable, nylon, or rope, snares are rudimentary traps used to supply the demand for wildlife meat and products. Snares have often been singled out as one of the cruelest means of hunting, given that animals can sometimes languish for days or weeks in a snare before dying from their injuries, dehydration or from starvation. Even when an animal does escape a snare, it will often perish later from infection caused by the injury or starve due to the fact that the injury has limited its ability to walk, forage or hunt.

Between 2005 and 2019 more than 370,000 snares were removed by patrol rangers from just 11 protected areas in five countries. As to the task of snare removal alone (i.e. ignoring any deterrent effects) there are three main constraints that currently limit the overall impact of using government rangers for this task. These are; i insufficient numbers of government rangers in many parts of Southeast Asia; ii) the low detectability of snares; and iii) the low cost of snare replacement. As such, in the majority of high snare density landscapes government ranger patrols alone will fall well short of removing the majority of snares.

Drivers of the Snaring Crisis

  • Increased demand for wildlife meat from growing urban middle-class consumers in East and Southeast Asia 
  • Increased accessibility into previously remote protected areas due to infrastructure developments (e.g. roads, hydropower) – this enables hunters to access such areas more easily and allows for the rapid transport of wildlife back to urban areas.
  • Increased access to and use of wire cable and rope snares by poachers, as opposed to the more traditional liana and rattan.
  • Gaps in wildlife protection legislation in relation to snaring, as well as inconsistent enforcement of existing wildlife protections and protected areas laws.

The Connection Between Snares and Zoonotic Diseases

  • Snare use increases human exposure to species carrying zoonotic diseases. Many of the animals targeted by snaring have been identified as among the highest risk for zoonotic disease transmission. A zoonosis is an infectious disease caused by a pathogen – such as a virus or bacteria – that has jumped from an animal host to a human. These account for a large proportion of overall diseases experienced by humans:
  • Snaring and handling wildlife increase the likelihood of zoonotic disease spillover: zoonotic diseases become more probable in situations where close contact between humans and wildlife increases.
  • The quickening pace of habitat destruction and fragmentation in recent years is one way in which this proximity has been increased.
  • Considerable increases in global trade and urban consumption of wildlife is another.
  • Models created to predict areas at elevated risk for zoonotic disease emergence have identified high risk in South and Southeast Asia, where all the above drivers are prevalent.

Hope for the Future

While we continue to address the snaring crisis and protect iconic species, we need governments to continue to tighten controls.  The increased awareness and publicity around the connection between zoonoses and wildlife trade and consumption can foster an environment for needed change. On July 23, 2020, Vietnam announced a new Directive No. 29 as part of the country’s efforts to prevent future pandemics and halt further loss of Vietnam’s declining wildlife populations.

Closing down illegal wild animal markets and high risk locales that illegally sell wild animals; planning for ivory and rhino horn stockpile destruction; stricter control and management of farmed wild animals including tiger farming; a temporary ban on the import of wild animal specimens; and reviewing and revising the legal system in relation to enforcement mechanisms for illegal consumption of wild animal specimens are some of the key highlights of the Directive. These changes, if implemented effectively, could signal a major U-turn in wildlife conservation in Vietnam.

The Directive is a timely response from the Prime Minister of Viet Nam recognizing the potential threat of the next pandemic if no urgent actions are taken to address the environmental factors driving the emergence of zoonotic diseases in which the hunting, trade and consumption of high-risk wildlife is one of the biggest drivers. This signifies a step toward reducing threats to public health and the national economy, and helps secure a future for countless species threatened by high-risk wildlife trade and consumption in Vietnam and across the region.

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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Anton Vorauer / WWF
Anton Vorauer / WWF

Dear Friend,

With each passing day, many millions of people learn to grapple with the new reality brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic. All of us have seen our lives transformed by social distancing, a halt to public gatherings and conferences, and the mandatory closing of many businesses that our communities hold dear. We all continue to cope in our own ways, while also seeking to retain some sense of normalcy in this extraordinary time.

Our thoughts and gratitude go out to our partners, and to those providers on the front lines of essential services—doctors, nurses, health care workers, leading businesses and small business owners and individuals who ensure that our families can receive what they need.

And in the midst of these extraordinary times, the work of conservation goes on. WWF's far-flung network of programs around the world continues moving forward on our work, connecting with partners and each other via video conference apps and phone lines. We are re-imagining how we deliver against our mission in these unprecedented circumstances. And in the best way we can, we continue our work with governments and institutions and other partners to safeguard landscapes and protected areas that are fundamental to the provision of food, water, and livelihoods to some of the most fragile communities around the world. We are learning to navigate a new normal, and extending each other the kindness and flexibility we all need right now to keep momentum going in our work.

This is also a moment when we even more profoundly realize the connections between nature and human health. Questions remain about the exact origins of COVID-19, but the World Health Organization has confirmed it is a zoonotic disease, meaning it jumped from wildlife to humans.

This comes as no surprise. Many recent disease outbreaks, including SARS and Ebola, followed this same arc. A confluence of human expansion, vanishing natural habitat, and climate change has driven people and wildlife into closer proximity, increasing the risk of outbreaks like this. The global illegal wildlife trade, which finances the killing and consumption of hundreds of thousands of animals each year, has long been seen as a potential accelerator for the spread of infectious diseases to people.

As we respond to this crisis, it's imperative to take measures to prevent one root cause of potential future pandemics. Some obvious first steps include the following. Governments should commit to shutting down the illegal wildlife trade and back it up with meaningful enforcement measures. We all need to take robust steps to reduce consumer demand for illegal and unsustainable wildlife products. To that end, WWF is partnering with public and zoonotic health experts to build a coalition advocating for the immediate and permanent closure of illegal and unregulated wildlife markets throughout Asia.

Tigers and Illegal Wildlife Trade

A vast majority of these captive tigers are privately owned and living in people’s backyards, roadside attractions, and private breeding facilities. Often these facilities will allow public contact with the tigers, including photo ops and playtimes with tiger cubs. Not only is the welfare of these tigers compromised, but public health and safety is at risk during these encounters. More centralized oversight of US captive tigers is required to ensure that they can’t feed the illegal trade that threatens wild tigers and to ensure adequate welfare of individual animals and public safety.

These endangered big cats are largely unregulated by the federal government, making it impossible to know who owns them, when they're sold and traded, or what happens to their valuable parts when they die. Without this information, the United States is unable to ensure that its captive tiger population isn't feeding the illegal trade that remains the primary threat to the estimated 3,900 tigers remaining in the wild.

In April 2016, more than 450,000 WWF supporters called on the US government to tighten regulations around captive tigers and made it more difficult for these animals to filter into and bolster the illegal wildlife trade.

Although this was a significant win for tigers, the new rules protect some tigers and not others, and remaining legal loopholes leave captive tigers vulnerable to wildlife traffickers and the international trade in tiger parts—the same trade that is the primary threat to wild tigers.

It is critical that the US, a consistent leader in wildlife conservation, clean up our own backyard to ensure our tigers don’t contribute to illegal trade and to ensure the US can continue to be an effective and influential voice in tiger conservation.

The Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R. 1380) introduced to Congress in February 2019, would go a long way towards ensuring that the U.S. is minimizing its risk of contributing to the illegal trade of tiger parts and products, primarily by requiring a federal license for ownership and banning public contact activities.

You can help. Here’s how.

WWF is calling for greater oversight and protection of all captive tigers, and you can help. Ask your member of Congress to cosponsor the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which would help ensure that the US does its part to fight against illegal tiger trade.

Additionally, your continued support means the world to tiger survival.  Please share our project with your colleagues, friends and family. 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.

James Warwick / WWF-US
James Warwick / WWF-US
James Warwick / WWF-US
James Warwick / WWF-US

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naturepl.com / Andy Rouse / WWF
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.

Nepal

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.

Myanmar

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.

Looming challenges:

  • 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
naturepl.com / Yashpal Rathore / WWF

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Dear Friend,

In honor of Global Tiger Day – July 29, 2019 – we are thrilled to share some great news. The government of India announced today the results of the most comprehensive wildlife survey to date, updating the current estimated population at 2,967 tigers up from 2,226 in 2015. India continues to lead the way in tiger recovery and has the largest wild tiger population of any country – nearly 2/3 of all tigers worldwide.

At a time when the future of wild tigers is under threat, every tiger counts. The updated India tiger population estimate suggests that numerous populations within the country may be stable or growing. The 2018 surveys were unparalleled in their extent, and provide comprehensive coverage of tiger habitats in India: 381,400 km2 of forested habitats in 20 tiger occupied states of India:

  • 317,958 habitat plot samplings
  • 522,996 km surveyed by foot
  • camera traps deployed at 26,838 locations
  • 34,858,623 images of wildlife of which 76,651 were tigers and 51,777 were leopards

The persistence of wild tigers can be attributed to enhanced protection, tiger prey management, habitat management, participation of local communities in tiger conservation, and political will. In the second most populous nation, the commitment to making room for tigers is a testament to the government’s strong role in championing the conservation efforts, and gives hope for the future of tigers in other regions.

Looming challenges:

  • 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.
  • Habitat loss and encroachment, particularly with the growth of infrastructure, is a growing challenge, and also leads to human-wildlife conflict. As we plan for tiger population growth, human-tiger conflict will only increase as tigers disperse through human-dominated landscapes in search of territory.
  • A rapid assessment of site-based tiger conservation areas across Asia that found that only 13% of the areas reviewed met global standards, and at least one-third were at serious risk of losing their tigers due to lack of anti-poaching resources.

Innovative collaborations and solutions:

  • WWF will be prioritizing our work to ensure Asian tiger farms are closed, and will be working 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.
  • To address illegal tiger trade, the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online - the first coalition of its kind bringing together corporate partners in the technology sector - was established to identify innovative ways to identify and halt online sales of tiger products.
  • WWF is managing human-tiger conflict with the SAFE Systems approach, which utilizes a holistic strategy to address conflict through comprehensive assessments and uses key tools of conflict management, such as policy, prevention, mitigation, understanding conflict, response, and monitoring, and balances the safety of people, assets, wildlife, and habitat. This approach enables the assessment of each context-specific human-wildlife conflict situation in a given landscape, region or village to enable development of a strategy and provide support to local communities to implement locally-appropriate solutions on the ground.

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.

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Dear Friend,

Once 100,000 strong, the world’s wild tiger population dipped to an estimated 3,200 tigers by 2010, as poaching, habitat loss, and conflict with humans threatened to erase this majestic cat from its historic range. WWF’s ambitious Tx2 campaign, to double the populations of tigers by 2022 is now half way through its timeline, and we are excited to share successes we’ve been able to achieve so far, in large part due to partnerships established with governments of tiger range countries. These are successes that individuals like you are helping to make possible.

Working with tiger range nations:

  • Earlier this year, China announced the creation of a Northeast Tiger and Leopard National Park - 60 percent larger than Yellowstone National Park - creating a refuge for the imperiled Siberian tiger.
  • Russia maintained its ban on commercial logging of the Korean Pine Forests (overturning an earlier lift of the ban), protecting a key habitat for Amur tigers.
  • In January, Bhutan announced that the tiger population in Royal Manas National Park doubled.


Looming challenges:

  • 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.
  • Habitat loss and encroachment, particularly with the growth of infrastructure, is a growing challenge, and also leads to human-wildlife conflict. As we plan for tiger population growth, human-tiger conflict will only increase as tigers disperse through human-dominated landscapes in search of territory.
  • A rapid assessment of site-based tiger conservation areas across Asia that found that only 13% of the areas reviewed met global standards, and at least one-third were at serious risk of losing their tigers due to lack of anti-poaching resources.

 

Innovative collaborations and solutions:

  • WWF will be prioritizing our work to ensure Asian tiger farms are closed, and will be working 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.
  • To address illegal tiger trade, the Coalition to End Wildlife Traficking Online - the first coalition of its kind bringing together corporate partners in the technology sector - was established to identify innovative ways to identify and halt online sales of tiger products.
  • WWF is managing human-tiger conflict with the SAFE Systems approach, which utilizes a holistic strategy to address conflict through comprehensive assessments and uses key tools of conflict management, such as policy, prevention, mitigation, understanding conflict, response, and monitoring, and balances the safety of people, assets, wildlife, and habitat. This approach enables the assessment of each context-specific human-wildlife conflict situation in a given landscape, region or village to enable development of a strategy and provide support to local communities to implement locally-appropriate solutions on the ground.

 

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, airing Saturday, March 30th. 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.

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

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World Wildlife Fund - US

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @world_wildlife
Project Leader:
Cheron Carlson
Washington, DC United States
$45,754 raised of $100,000 goal
 
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