Although the tiger population has been dwindling steadily
over the years, only recently are officials realizing how dire the
situation actually is.
In 2010, the World Bank organized a
gathering in St. Petersburg, Russia, which resulted in the Global Tiger
Recovery Plan. The plan calls for expanded efforts to conserve tiger
populations by increasing conservation efforts in more tiger preserves.
Scientists want to connect new protected areas to the reserves where
tigers already live. Their main goal is to double the current world
tiger population by 2022. The plan will initially cost around $350
million for the first five years and will require more money in the
Alan Rabinowitz, the CEO of Panthera, an
organization that specializes in wild cat conservation, and 21 other
world-leading tiger biologists, strongly disagree with this plan. They
want to spend the money on protecting the breeding areas, rather than
expanding efforts to larger areas containing few tigers.
only occupy six percent of the proposed new reservations, and seventy
percent of these individuals cluster together in tight groups. “With the
limited resources that we have, we need to perform triage on areas with
the largest number of remaining tigers,” says director of Asian
programs for the Wildlife Conservation Society, Joe Walston. Triage is
the action of sorting according to urgency. For example, in hospitals,
the severity of the wound or illness decides the order of treatment.
“If we fail at these source sites, all else is insignificant.”
According to Walston, once the core population has been secured, the
surrounding areas will be stabilized as well.
Seidensticker of the Smithsonian Museum, and an independent adviser for
the World Bank initiative, agrees with the original plan, stating,
“There’s no time left to have one or the other, you have to do both at
the same time.”
Seidensticker and others are looking at
more ways to fund the big price tag for a combined effort. One
suggestion is to link the carbon trading market with tiger conservation.
In the carbon market, people who burn or cut trees would buy carbon
credits from others who are keeping their forests intact. The plan is to
give forests that contain tigers a higher price, both improving the
ecosystem and enhancing the cats’ habitat.
Erin Dinerstein, World Wildlife Fund chief scientist and a World Bank
consultant, “You’re not going to raise $350 million for tigers alone,
you are going to have to link in carbon and likely [fresh] water.”