World Bank joins the global fight to save the tiger

Monday, June 9, 2008
Washington, D.C.
The World Bank launched its Tiger Conservation Initiative today in what conservationists hope will translate into global action that helps to bring the world’s remaining wild tigers back from the brink of extinction. The launch featured a full day of events conducted in partnership with the International Tiger Coalition (ITC), an alliance comprised of 39 member organizations and millions of supporters worldwide, fighting for the long term survival of wild tigers. Grace Ge Gabriel, spokesperson for the International Tiger Coalition and Asia Regional Director for IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare; www.ifaw.org), emphasized in her speech that “Nothing short of global action will ensure the recovery of tigers in the wild.”
Wild tigers face increasing threats from habitat loss, prey loss and poaching for the trade in their body parts. Wild tiger population, which at the turn of the 20th century stood at 100,000 individuals, has diminished to below 4,000, spread out in fractured habitats in 13 range states.
 
"Addressing the threats to tigers calls for innovative interventions which tackle the root cause of the problem--the incentives to poach tigers and their prey and to destroy habitats," reads a statement issued by the World Bank. Representatives of the bank intend to review past performances of development schemes in or adjacent to tiger habitats and to "develop effective strategies for harmonizing conservation with other development objectives.” The bank will also “support cross regional initiatives to protect tigers from any form of exploitation."
 
"The ITC hopes that the World Bank in the coming months will have open and frank dialogues in tiger range countries about what has and has not worked in tiger conservation,” says Gabriel.  “We must build on the successes, while learning from the past. This process is crucial for avoiding further damage to tigers brought by poorly planned development projects,” she continued. "ITC member organizations stand ready to inform the World Bank on the initiative to build a future for wild tigers.

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