VIDEO: As the Year of the Tiger Ends, Will Only Words Remain?
So, it’s been two months since the International Tiger Forum where heads of tiger range states and other world leaders – from Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and World Bank President Robert Zoellick to international film star Leonardo DiCaprio – pledged passionately to do more to save wild tigers from extinction. And, more importantly, to do it better.
But, as this year of the tiger comes to a close, the question remains: Can we, will we, turn those promises into action on the ground for tigers?
I think we can. We must. Here at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, we are. We’re stepping up our work with local communities to protect tiger habitat with solutions that will work for the long term because they safeguard both tigers and people. We’re delivering supplies and much-needed training to thousands of rangers working on the front lines to stop tiger poaching – the single-greatest threat to the survival of wild tigers.
Resources allowing, we will also respond to a number of governments to assist in training and capacity building to go after poachers and illegal traders. Over the past few years, we have also worked with Interpol to develop a wildlife crime unit that is targeting international crime syndicates that have moved into wildlife while continuing their other trade in drugs, arms and humans. And we’re campaigning hard to change minds, change attitudes and change consumer choices in countries like China where businessmen, not tradition, are fueling the poaching by promoting trade in tiger body parts.
We must sustain the momentum, the commitment and the promise of St. Petersburg. Otherwise twelve years from now, when the next year of the tiger dawns, only empty promises will remain.
For more information on IFAW efforts to protect tigers in the wild, visit http://www.ifaw.org/tigers