Paper: Proper land management could triple Asian tiger population
In a 2008 photo, a rescued tiger leaps into India's Sundarikati River after being released from a cage on a boat.
January 26th, 2011
02:23 PM ET

Paper: Proper land management could triple Asian tiger population

The wild tiger population in Asia could triple to more than 10,000 with thoughtful land management where they live and breed, a new paper from top conservation scientists says.

If governments were to treat the many disconnected tiger reserves throughout Asia as a single "landscape" and provide safe corridors for the animals to roam among them, populations could flourish, the paper argues.

The paper, "A landscape-based conservation strategy to double the wild tiger population," appears in the current issue of the journal Conservation Letters.

"In the midst of a crisis, it's tempting to circle the wagons and only protect a limited number of core protected areas, but we can and should do better," said World Wildlife Fund chief scientist Dr. Eric Dinerstein, a co-author of the study. "We absolutely need to stop the bleeding, the poaching of tigers and their prey in core breeding areas, but we need to go much further and secure larger tiger landscapes before it is too late."

Wild tiger numbers have declined from about 100,000 in the early 1900s to as few as 3,200 today because of the poaching of tigers and their prey, habitat destruction and human/tiger conflict, according to the WWF. Most of the remaining tigers are scattered in small, isolated pockets across their range in 13 Asian countries.

The paper gives several examples of how tiger populations were able to recover from losses because animals were able to migrate from other areas through protected corridors.

It also notes places where tigers were severely diminished and unable to recover because their habitats were isolated from those of other tigers.

The analysis was prompted by November's St. Petersburg Declaration, a pledge among 13 countries in the tiger range to try to double the animals' population. The summit that led to the declaration was sponsored by the World Bank's Global Tiger Initiative.

The 13 signatories are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.

"Following the St. Petersburg Declaration, Nepal has committed to the goal of doubling wild tiger numbers across our country by 2022," said Deepak Bohara, Nepal's minister for forests and soil conservation, quoted by the WWF. "This analysis shows that it can be done, not just in Nepal, but, if done right with careful study and planning, across the entire tiger range."

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Filed under: Animals • Environment • World
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. benny

    does this mean I still might get to try one of those tiger burgers?

    January 26, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. kim

    Save the big cats SAVE THE TIGERS, LIONS, AND NORTH AMERICAN COUGARS

    January 26, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. RUFFNUTT

    as i've stated before. give those cats some kittie food and some viagra and all will be well.

    January 26, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jim

    We've been saying this for decades, yet here we are once again. All talk, little action.

    January 26, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cesar

    @Benny....YOUR COMMENT IS WAITING MODERATION

    January 26, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff Frank

    The market for Asian Tiger Tacos would be phenomenal.

    January 26, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RUFFNUTT

    why don't they just get a professional cat-milker to milk those cats then get a turkey baster and wham-o..more kitties.

    January 26, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Matthew

    That's a cool picture.

    January 26, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ashley

    SAVE THE TIGERS!!!!!!!!!!!! THE PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO CAPTURE THEM AND EAT THEM ARE CRUEL! WHAT IF YOU WERE A TIGER,WOULD YOU WANT TO GET KILLED!!!!!!?????NO!

    February 18, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |