Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tigers could be vanished in 12 years if unprotected

Wild tigers could become extinct in 12 years if countries where they still wander fail to take quick action to protect their habitats and step up the fight against poaching, global wildlife experts told a "tiger summit" Sunday. The World Wildlife Fund and other experts say only about 3,200 tigers remain in the wild, a dramatic thrust from an estimated 100,000 a century ago.

James Leape, director general of the World Wildlife Fund, told the meeting in St. Petersburg that if the proper defensive measures aren't taken, tigers may disappear by 2022, the next Chinese calendar year of the tiger. The summit approved a wide-ranging program with the goal of doubling the world's tiger population in the wild by 2022 backed by governments of the 13 countries that at rest have tiger populations: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam and Russia.

The Global Tiger Recovery Program guesses the countries will need about $350 million in outside funding in the first five years of the 12-year plan. "And you have to find a way to make it work for the local communities so that they would be partners in tigers protection and benefit from them," Leape said.

"To save tigers you need to save the forests, grasslands and lots of other species," he added. "But at the same time you are also conserving the foundations of the societies who live there. Their economy depends very much on the food, water and resources they get from those forests."