Gland, Switzerland, 14 January 2013 – A tiger conservation programme managed by IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, has received EUR 20 million from the German government through the KfW Development Bank. The aim of the programme is to increase the number of tigers in the wild and improve the livelihoods of communities living in and close to their habitat.
The agreement was signed today at IUCN Headquarters in Gland, Switzerland.
“The tiger is the face of Asia’s biodiversity and an emblem of the world’s natural heritage,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General. “This generous support from Germany provides great hope for this iconic species, which is currently on the brink of extinction. Saving the tiger depends on restoring its rapidly shrinking forest habitat. This will regenerate valuable ecosystem services and improve the lives of some of the most marginalised people on our planet.”
The five-year Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme will benefit NGOs and conservation authorities from selected tiger range countries which, at the St Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010, committed to doubling the number of tigers occurring within their territories by 2020. Eligible countries include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal and Viet Nam.
The programme will involve improving the management of tiger habitats, tackling tiger-human conflicts, increasing anti poaching efforts and law enforcement and involving local communities in tiger conservation work.
"Ensuring the survival of tiger populations means keeping ecosystems intact,” says Dr Norbert Kloppenburg, member of the KfW Group Executive Board. “Tiger habitats offer prospects for tourism and guarantee the livelihood of the local community thanks to their diverse natural resources. If we make efforts to conserve these natural areas, we will directly alleviate poverty for the people living there."
The Tiger (Panthera tigris) is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. There are probably less than 2,500 adult individuals currently surviving in the wild, down from 100,000 a century ago. Out of nine recognized subspecies of tigers, three are Extinct (Javan, Caspian and Bali), one is Possibly Extinct in the Wild (South China), one Critically Endangered (Sumatran) and four Endangered (Bengal, Amur, Indochinese and Malayan).
“With its membership of conservation organisations and government agencies and the support of its network of experts, in particular the Species Survival Commission and its Cat Specialist Group, IUCN is uniquely positioned to take on the management of this programme,” says Jean-Christophe Vié, Deputy Director of IUCN Global Species programme and SOS Director. “Drawing on the experience from managing the species conservation fund SOS – Save Our Species, which supports field projects around the world, we shall make sure that only the best projects and the best partners are selected in order to have maximum impact on the ground.”
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