Russian summit sees 13 countries agreeing to double tiger numbers

Thursday, November 25, 2010

LONDON - At a summit held in St Petersburg, Russia, the government of 13 countries where tigers still live have endorsed a plan to save the big cats from extinction.

Delegates agreed to double tiger numbers by 2022, and the countries plan on focusing on protecting tiger habitats, addressing poaching, illegal trade and providing the financial resources for the plan.

In the last 100 years, tiger numbers have dropped from about 100,000 to less than 3,500 tigers in the wild today.

There has been a 40 percent decline in numbers in a decade, and some populations are expected to disappear within the next 20 years.

The United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) says that the St Petersburg Declaration will strengthen international collaboration to protect the majestic Asian wild cat.

“Safeguarding international migration corridors and trans-border habitats will be crucial for global efforts to save the tiger,” the BBC quoted Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, executive-secretary of Unep’s Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Secretariat, as saying.

The declaration sets in motion a strategic plan for tiger recovery; the countries are putting together a roadmap for post-summit action.

They are also discussing the institutional structure, which will be set up to implement the aims and objectives of the declaration and its recovery programme.

“There was clearly a loud roar from St Petersburg this week on behalf of the last remaining tigers on our planet,” John Robinson, chief conservation officer with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), stated.

“World leaders rarely find agreements at conferences and summits but the beloved tiger has proven to be a uniting force. And as we save the tiger, we have new hopes to save the world’s biodiversity,” he said.

WCS was one of several groups pledging new money to assist conservation efforts, in this case 50 million dollars over 10 years.

The World Bank, whose president Robert Zoellick takes a strong personal interest in the tiger, put in a similar amount, and aims to leverage further funding from governments and the corporate sector. (ANI)

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