| Sep 14, 2023
Protecting Tigers - September Update
Indochinese Tiger - Credit Freeland
We recently celebrated World Tiger Day on 29th July, where we celebrate one of the world’s most iconic, revered, and best loved animals. However, as we celebrate this majestic animal, it is important to highlight that tiger numbers have declined by a shocking 96% in just the last 100 years. The illegal trade in tigers and tiger parts, made worse by captive breeding facilities across Asia and South Africa, alongside threats from habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict, has pushed them to the brink of extinction.
Tragically, there are now more tigers in captivity than in the wild. Captive figures outnumber wild tigers 2:1, with an estimated 7,000-8,000 tigers in breeding centres across Asia. Many of the Asian tiger breeding centres are involved in the illegal trade of tigers and tiger products, and exist solely to profit from tiger parts. Captive breeding facilities muddy the waters of the trade, not only giving legitimacy to the demand for tiger products but also providing a route to market for illegally sourced tigers and tiger parts.
Read more on the dark side of the illegal tiger trade here: https://davidshepherd.org/news-events-insights/news/tigers-a-future-thats-anything-but-bright/
DSWF actively campaigns for and works to support a total ban on the international trade in tiger parts and derivatives, as well as the closure of all tiger breeding farms. We’re helping drive effective, impactful reductions in illegal wildlife trade, through legislation and lobbying across governments and funding investigations into criminal syndicates. We work with communities to foster peaceful coexistence with wild tigers and run public awareness campaigns to reduce demand for wild animals in Traditional Chinese Medicine and as luxury, high value products. In addition, we support the deployment of anti-poaching rangers in the field, including the use of specialist K9 sniffer dogs. This holistic approach to conservation helps fight wildlife crime and illegal trade from all angles.
Using K9 units for conservation has proven to be an effective method in apprehending poachers and acting as a deterrent. Our partners in India manage several K9 Units who accompany rangers on patrols. These trained and certified tracking dogs assist in locating suspects as well as gathering evidence from poaching areas. Two junior canine members, who joined the team as puppies last year, named Nova and Harley, have shown tremendous development over the past few months. Their tracking skills are greatly improving with continuous training from the senior handlers. They have now mastered basic sniffing and tracking exercises, and have since been completing training in evidence collection, tracking a crime site, and advanced detection. Nova has now been fully deployed into the field with handler Dhrubajyoti, and Harley will be following her very soon!
Education is a pivotal tool of conservation. By supporting educational work, we can raise a new generation concerned about nature and prepared to engage with their communities on issues like poaching, the illegal wildlife trade, unauthorised logging, and forest fires in tiger habitat. Education programmes are also a further benefit to local communities, as they promote learning amongst young people and teach new skills to adults. From Tiger Day Festivals and art contests, to talks and workshops, we can foster community spirit and bring communities together for a united cause – to protect the tiger. Educational activities will indirectly contribute to conservation of tigers and their habitat by fostering positive attitude towards endangered wildlife and conservation, increasing people’s environmental awareness, raising young people to protect and treasure the planet’s wildlife, and motivating people to implement conservation actions.
With your ongoing support we can continue to fight for a brighter future for tigers.
K9 Unit - Credit Aaranyak