Legal Protection for Tigers
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international treaty developed in 1973 to regulate trade in certain wildlife species, including tigers. CITES categorizes various animals according to their current status. All subspecies of tiger are classified as Appendix I. Appendix I lists species identified as currently endangered, or in danger of extinction.
IUCN/ The World Conservation Union is a nongovernmental organization founded in 1948 that supports the conservation of wild living resources. The IUCN Red List has classified all subspecies of tigers as endangered in all parts of their range.
The Captive Wildlife Safety Act (Public Law No. 108-191) was passed in December 2003 that bans the interstate and foreign commerce of dangerous exotics such as lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars and cougars as pets.
The Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994 assists in the conservation of rhinoceros and tigers through the provision of financial resources to national conservation programs whose efforts directly or indirectly affect rhinoceros and tiger populations.
Indira Gandhi held tiger conservation in high regard and upon becoming prime minister is 1968 she took political leadership in their protection. In 1968 the export of tiger skins was prohibited and a ban on tiger shooting was established in 1970.
India launched a tiger habitat conservation program entitled Project Tiger in 1973 with the help of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Indira Gandhi. By 1990, 17 tiger reserves had been established. The success of Project Tiger inspired other nations, such as Nepal, Thailand and Indonesia to create and/or enhance their own tiger reserves. Russian government had earlier adopted its own conservation measures.
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 provides protection for endangered species. (http://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa.html)
The Forest Conservation Act of 1980 provided legal protection for the forests of India. (http://envfor.nic.in/legis/forest/forest2.html)
Economic incentives involve the provision of financial benefits for the conservation of land and animals - in essence making conservation profitable for local people.
Several technologically advanced nations have provided not only financial assistance to tiger conservation programs, but also forensic science materials and expertise to facilitate enforcement of wildlife conservation laws. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service's forensic laboratory has an established international repository in which ballistic evidence is housed. The repository assists tiger conservation officials with the identification of repeat offenders, the provision of cross-border poaching evidence and violator prosecution.
The U.S. government imposed wildlife trade sanctions on Taiwan in 1994 for illegal trade of tiger and rhinoceros products. This was the first time the U.S. government imposed a trade sanction to impede illegal trade in endangered wildlife.
Ecotourism is an economic incentive that combines conservation with tourism that benefits local people. It may promote both education and conservation opportunities as well as revenue for conservation projects and jobs for local citizens.
Increasing Public Awareness
The Siberian Tiger Project has united Russian tiger authorities and American wildlife biologists to study the ecological requirements of P.t. altaica in order to design a conservation plan. The project worked with local governments to increase public knowledge about tigers, encourage conservation methodologies and to increase protected lands for them to roam.
Government officials and conservation-dedicated individuals in Chitwan region of Nepal are collaboratively working together to preserve tall grasses. These valuable grasses are utilized in home construction and their efforts will help ensure a continual supply of grasses which may be harvested once a year.
Established educational programming in India is concentrating on conservation/rehabilitation of overgrazed/eroded farmlands as well as soil and water conservation for resource replenishment.
Non-governmental organizations provide assistance for tiger law enforcement personnel and alerting governments to problems at every level: international, regional, subregional, national, state and district.
During the 1994 CITES meeting, the members of CITES, including China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand adopted an agreement to improve and expand tiger protection. Specifically, the parties agreed to enact internal tiger trade bans, enhance border controls, share illegal trade information and increase funding for anti-poaching, field conservation and public education programs.
CITES organized a two-week training seminar in May 2002 for wildlife enforcement officials from twelve tiger-range states on policing techniques.
The Save the Tiger Fund was established in 1995 by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the Exxon Corporation. The fund will be used to support conservation projects, breeding programs and educational programming throughout the world. (http://www.savethetigerfund.org)
In a cooperative effort with other AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) institutions, Busch Gardens closely manages tiger populations through a program called the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which works to improve the genetic diversity of managed animal populations.
The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund's mission is to work with purpose and passion on behalf of wildlife and habitats worldwide, encouraging sustainable solutions through support of species research, animal rescue and rehabilitation and conservation education. Since 2004, the Conservation Fund supported the following tiger preservation projects through conservation education programs, species research and habitat protection.
- Project: Annual Support to Tiger Anti-Poaching Patrols
Partner: World Wildlife Fund
This project supports the World Wildlife Fund's anti-poaching units in Tesso Nilo-Bukit Tigapuluh Landscape in central Sumatra. The conservation effort includes anti-poaching patrols, prosecution of arrested poachers and tiger monitoring. The continued maintenance of these patrols will contribute to the survival of this highly endangered species.
- Project: Safe Travels: The Role of International Airlines in the Asian Wild
Partner: Conservation International
Location: Throughout China
Illegal wildlife trade is a primary threat to Southeast Asia's wildlife populations, including tigers. A significant portion of illegal wildlife trade is dependent on air transport. The goal of this program is to reduce the smuggling of endangered wildlife through Asian airports through educational programming designed to increase awareness of illicit trade and strengthening the capacity of airlines to efficiently inspect cargo passenger baggage.
- Project: Providing Water to Rescued Animals in the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Center in Cambodia
The Phnom Tamao Rescue Center provides refuge for rescued animals from the illegal wildlife trade. The current daily water requirement for the center about 60,000 liters which is increasingly difficult to attain following two extremely dry wet seasons. Additionally there is an increasing number of wildlife becoming ill from drinking and/or swimming in stagnant water. The goal of this project is to supply a constant source of high quality drinking water for the center through the construction of a bore hole that provides potable water.
- Project: Sustainable Forestry in China
Partner: Rainforest Alliance
Chinese forests are biodiversity hotspots that also prevent erosion and floods, such as those that prompted a government logging ban on natural forests in 17 provinces in 1998. Logging continues however, both illegally in the biodiversity-rich northeast and southwest and legally in areas outside the ban. But the amount of timber harvested falls short of the needs of China's manufacturing industry and its population. As the world's second largest importer of timber, China is putting pressure on biologically important forests around the globe. With support from the Fund, the Rainforest Alliance is helping alleviate the difficulties posed by China's current timber procurement practices by training and educating forestry practitioners in sustainable forestry management and certifying that China's national and international timber supply is sustainably harvested.
- Project: Tiger Conservation in Sumatra's Tesso Nilo-Bukit Tigapuluh Landscape
Partner: World Wildlife Fund
Despite the best efforts of conservation groups and governments, tigers still struggle to survive. Tigers around the world continue to be threatened by habitat loss, illegal poaching and the trade in tiger parts for traditional Chinese medicine. Central to the strategy for halting the immediate decline in tiger populations is the establishment and ongoing support for anti-poaching patrols in priority landscapes. The Fund is helping World Wildlife Fund continue its anti-poaching patrols on the Indonesian island of Sumatra in the Tesso Nilo-Bukit Tigapuluh Landscape, one of the most important tiger conservation landscapes in the world. This effort will help maintain the crucial support for anti-poaching patrols, prosecution of arrested poachers and tiger monitoring, providing an important check on illegal poaching and creating a favorable scenario for the survival of this highly endangered species.
- Project: Ecological Monitoring of Wild Tigers in Orang National Park, Assam, India
Tiger conservation in India's Orang National Park of Assam is increasingly difficult. Recently, six tigers were killed by local villagers. The human-tiger conflict has intensified, which is threatening the survival of the tigers dependent on the park for habitat. Support from the Fund is helping local researchers monitor tiger density in Orang with the use of camera traps and geo-spatial technology. In addition, the Fund is helping develop a strong community involvement interface structure, tapping locals to help manage, mitigate and prevent conflict between humans and tigers in Orang National Park.
- Project: Protecting Rhinos and Tigers in Bardia National Park
Partner: Wildlife Conservation Nepal
Six years ago, Babai Valley, a part of Bardia National Park recorded 75 rhinos and 13 tigers. Today, researchers can only find evidence of three rhinos and three tigers, indicating that poaching was rampant during this time. To protect the remaining rhinos and tigers in Bardia National Park, Wildlife Conservation Nepal is working in close collaboration with Nepal's Department of National Parks. With support from the Fund, Wildlife Conservation Nepal will develop and deliver programs that have direct link with the protection and conservation of these mega fauna. Efforts include workshops, anti-poaching training on intelligence gathering and identification of wildlife and body parts and conservation-themed curriculum for local schools.
- Project: Creating a Corps of Community Conservationists: Empowering Community-based Conservation Worldwide
Partner: Community Conservation
Over the past two decades, Community Conservation has worked with more than 20 community-based projects in nine countries, reaching out to more than 16 cultures and 100 villages. As a result, these grassroots projects have helped protect more than one million acres. With help from the Fund, Community Conservation aims to increase that success by educating and empowering other communities to help save the world's most endangered wildlife and habitats. Specifically, the Fund is helping deliver a training course for community conservationists in India, China, Madagascar, South Africa, Papua New Guinea, Bolivia, Ecuador, and the U.S.