What your support means to wild tiger survival…
Jul 27, 2016
This week the Indian Government announced the loss of 73 tigers to July 20, almost equalling the total number of tiger deaths recorded for the whole of 2015. The tally includes natural deaths, poaching and 43 ‘unresolved’ cases. In Russia too, at least five tigers are known to have been lost to poaching and other human activities this year. With so few tigers in Russia – the latest census estimated there to be c. 480 – the loss of any tiger is a tragedy.
“TigerTime supports anti-poaching and tiger conservation work in India, Thailand and Russia and, although the recent statistics do not make for happy reading, thanks to your support there is good news coming from the areas where we work,” says TigerTime manager Vicky Flynn.
Success in Assam
In India, TigerTime and parent charity the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) have been supporting conservation efforts in Kaziranga National Park for over 20 years. Today, Kaziranga can boast the highest density of tigers in India, a real success in the continuing battle to conserve this pristine wilderness and its precious Bengal tiger population.
Thailands Tigers Protected
In Thailand, tiger news has been dominated by the Thai Governments successful closure of the infamous Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi. After more than 15 years of deceiving tourists that the temple worked to save orphaned tigers the authorities uncovered a house of horrors that included tiger parts being sold as talismans and tiny cubs stored in freezers. On the wilder side in Thailand TigerTime funding has been helping to identify and monitor a key tiger population in the Eastern Forest Complex. No tigers have been poached in this area since TigerTime funded monitoring and regular patrolling began in this area six years ago.
“This is very positive news but much still needs to be done to ensure the future for wild tigers in Thailand,” adds Vicky. “The Thai Government has been quite active in law enforcement relating to tiger crimes and a major wildlife trafficker, who has been jailed at least six times for tiger related crimes, remains in jail after being caught transporting a poached, female tiger in western Thailand.”
As most tiger cubs do not live independently of their mother until they are at least 18 months old, the fate of her ten month old cubs was a serious concern. However, in early 2016 the cubs were seen again, alive and healthy and surviving on their own.
A story of hope in the Russian Far East
In Russia, where your support for TigerTime helps protect the largest subspecies, the Amur tiger, increased enforcement has led to the arrest of a number of traffickers caught with tiger parts and skins. Perhaps as a direct result of these poaching cases a number of orphaned cubs have also been reported and rescued. While some, too small to survive the freezing winters without their mothers, have sadly not survived there is hope for one very special couple.
Two orphaned tigers Boris and Svetlaya - that had been cared for at the Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Tigers and released back into the wild in 2014 - have been caught on camera trap spending time together (see photos below). What is remarkable about these sightings are that the tigers were released 500km apart.
“It is not unusual for male Amur tigers to cover large distances to find a mate but this 500km journey to find the tigress he had shared his rehabilitation with is an extraordinary story,” says Vicky. “While we are hugely hopeful that their reunion may lead to offspring of their own Boris’s long walk may also be an indication of the scarcity of Russia’s tigers.
“It is crucial that we work to stabilize and grow wild tiger populations, to increase their connectivity and end poaching. As this brief update illustrates there are moments of real hope, of governments taking decisive actions, of enforcement being stepped up, of successful returns to the wild for Russia’s Amur orphans showing that together we can take actions that save wild tigers. Please, if you can, continue to support our work and make these moments of hope more frequent and more permanent.”
Photos credits: PRNCO "Tiger Centre"
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