IFAW calls for global tiger conservation plan with teeth

Thursday, November 18, 2010
Yarmouthport, MA
As leaders of tiger range countries prepare to gather in St. Petersburg, Russia this month to hammer out a global plan to save one of the world’s most endangered species, IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare - www.ifaw.org) is urging governments to intensify efforts to curb illegal trade in products and parts from dead tigers.

“Poaching fueled by black market trade is the single greatest threat to tigers,” said Fred O’Regan, IFAW president and CEO. “Unless governments put teeth into existing bans and crack down on tiger trade, we can wave goodbye to one of the world’s most magnificent species.”

Wild tiger populations have plummeted by 97% in the past century. In 1900, about 100,000 roamed throughout Asia. As few as 3,000 wild tigers survive today.

“Tigers are caught in a vicious cycle,” said Grace Ge Gabriel, Asia Regional Director for IFAW. “Poaching supplies the black market for dead tigers, then trade in tiger parts and products stimulates consumer demand, which in turn fuels more poaching.”

The scope of the black market trade in tigers was highlighted last month when 25 suspected traffickers in tiger body parts were arrested in raids across six tiger range countries as part of a two-month operation coordinated by INTERPOL. More than 50 Kg of tiger bone, including skeletons and skulls, were seized.

Curbing trade and eradicating poaching are two of the key issues to be discussed at the St. Petersburg summit, where Governments from the last 13 tiger range countries will try to agree on a coordinated global plan to save tigers from extinction. With the ambitious goal of doubling the number of wild tigers in the next 12 years, the strategy will be based on national action plans and shared commitments to better conserve key tiger habitats across range countries, as well as trans-boundary action to combat trade through better enforcement and by reducing consumer demand. 

“This may be our last chance to ensure that talk and plans translate into real protection for tigers on the ground,” said O’Regan.

IFAW works on the front line of tiger protection to end all trade in tiger body parts and products, reduce consumer demand, provide anti-poaching training and capacity-building, and secure habitat.

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