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Good news for tigers shows we’re on the right path

It can be a long week/month/year/decade (delete as appropriate) when you’re constantly confronted with bad news and the terrible things that we are doing to life on this planet. It can often seem like a never-ending uphill battle. And, well, that’s what it is, but every now and again you get some news that gives you a glimmer of hope.

Since late December, there has been a flurry of positive news coming from different parts of India, home to the world’s largest remaining population of wild tigers. Where they are being well protected, where there is a good relationship between forest officials, scientists and NGOs, tigers are breeding and, because of limitations on carrying capacity, tigers are spilling out of protected areas, returning to the forests from which they once vanished and taking up residence rather than just being transient.

Tiger and cub (c) Robin Hamilton

News of cubs in Kudremukh National Park, in Karnataka, which has historically been ravaged by iron ore mining, and of 25 tigers residing in the Sathyamangalam forests of Tamil Nadu is further testimony to the emergence of the southern states as tiger conservation champions.

That said, news of cubs galore in Kanha Tiger Reserve (21-23 cubs) and Pench Tiger Reserve (21 cubs) in Madhya Pradesh, and even in Panna Tiger Reserve where the translocated tigers have given birth to seven cubs, suggests the battle for the title of The Tiger State is not over yet.

Further north, tigers have returned to the Nandhor Valley of Uttarakhand, while Assam is home to 143 tigers, 118 in Kaziranga National Park alone – the highest tiger population density in the country.

(c) Robin Hamilton

To be sure, things are far from perfect. Dispersing and transient tigers leave the protected areas to face forests destroyed for coal, diamonds, sandstone, iron ore and bauxite. Roads, dams and river-linking projects carve up the forest corridors. With forest loss comes the decline in natural prey and the inevitable slide into conflict with people and livestock. Poaching in India to feed the illegal trade in China continues. So far this year, there have been four tiger and nine leopard poaching/trade incidents reported. None of us can take our foot off the gas when it comes to saving tigers.

But what the good news from India tells us is that the tiger’s decline is not an irreversible situation; that with the right set of circumstances, tiger populations can recover, and with them the watershed forests that all our futures depend on. Now is the time to invest in progressing the strategies that are paying dividends (cubs), to spread the word of what works and what doesn’t, to open up the system of governance so that independent scientists, NGOs and civil society can work with the government officials.

We must take heart that we are on the right path. Have a good weekend!

 

At EIA we’ve been keeping track of the news emerging from tiger countries since the St Petersburg International Tiger Forum in November 2010; curious to see if the pat-on-the-back reports from the governments match up with news from the field.

Check out what the tiger range country governments have said they are going to do here – and let us know if you have information that shows they’re doing the contrary, together we can hold them accountable!

 

Debbie Banks
Lead Campaigner

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3 Responses

  1. Marc Daniels says:

    Thank You for spreading the positive news and Tiger Awareness-

    Please see my group, We are 600 strong and really want to be doing more to help.

    If you have any ideas or wish to work together in some capacity please email me

    Best wishes

    Marc Daniels

    http://www.causes.com/causes/137517-panthera-tigris/actions

    psuedo@mac.com

  2. Andrea Polden says:

    It’s lovely to have good news about tigers for once. Are you sure they are being accurately counted? I know that in the past tiger numbers were grossly over-estimated, so it is very important to know these figures are correct!

  3. [...] is a good one. Over the past decade I have worked closely with the amazing tiger campaigners at the Environmental Investigation Agency – take a look at the great news on their latest update. They need your [...]

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