Tigers in 13 countries will be safer after a critical meeting this week laid the foundation for world leaders to agree to a historical global plan to double the number of tigers in the wild.
The Tiger Summit in Bali produced solid plans to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022 along with commitments to raise the $356 million to implement the Global Tiger Recovery Program.
“Hosting this meeting in Bali – where the Balinese tiger went extinct in the 1940s – is a symbol of Indonesia’s commitment to help with this global effort to protect tigers and bring them back from the brink of extinction,” said WWF Indonesia CEO Dr. Efransjah.
“Now that these countries have shown their willingness to act, the success of any global plan launched in St. Petersburg will depend on financial support from the international community and the tiger nations themselves,” said Michael Baltzer, leader of WWF’s Tiger Program.
The meeting is a prelude to the Tiger Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia in September.
Governments also agreed to elements for a Leader’s Declaration. Calling the Tiger Summit “unprecedented,” the Declaration will include:
- An agreement that tigers are key to healthy ecosystems
- That tiger conservation efforts are primarily a national responsibility, but that “financial and technical support of the international community ” is still needed to save wild tigers
- That the 13 governments will collaborate on issues that affect tigers across borders, including ensuring the uninhibited movement of tigers and the management of joint tiger conservation areas
- Increasing enforcement efforts to eradicate poaching, the main driver of tiger loss, and to reduce the trafficking of tiger parts
- Identifying and better protecting key tiger habitats, such as critical breeding areas
- Improving protection efforts by implementing systematic patrols of tiger areas, and protecting their prey
World tiger experts and representatives from other NGOs, including the Global Tiger Initiative, also are in attendance this week.
The Bali meeting is a follow up to earlier governmental meetings on tiger conservation, including one in Thailand in January where the goal of doubling the number of wild tigers was adopted.
Tigers are in a dire situation. The global wild population is reduced to an estimated 3,200 individuals. From nine tiger sub-species, six exist today — the Sumatran, Bengal, Amur, Indochinese, South China and Malayan tiger. Threats to the tiger include poaching and illegal trade, massive habitat fragmentation and destruction.
With an estimated 400 Sumatran tigers left, or 12 percent of the global tiger population Indonesia has a key role to play in the global tiger recovery program.