Threats to wild tigers growing

June 01, 2007

The wild tiger now occupies a mere 7 percent of its historic range, and the area known to be inhabited by tigers has declined by 41 percent over the past decade, according to an article published in the June 2007 issue of BioScience. Growing trade in folk medicines made from tiger parts and tiger skins, along with habitat loss and fragmentation, is believed to be the chief reason for the losses. The assessment, by Eric Dinerstein of the World Wildlife Fund and 15 coauthors, describes the wild tiger's population trajectory as "catastrophic" and urges international cooperation to ensure the animal's continued existence in the wild.

Despite the discouraging numbers--there are believed to be only about 5,000 wild tigers left--some conservation programs have been successful. Dinerstein and his coauthors highlight a program in the Terai-Arc Landscape of northwestern India and southern Nepal as a notable victory. The scheme features wildlife corridors that connect 12 reserves. Tiger conservation efforts have also been successful in the Russian Far East. Many tiger reserves in India, in contrast, have been mismanaged and have failed to protect the animals, according to the article.

Plans to make use of tiger parts harvested from farmed tigers in China represent an emerging threat, the authors argue. Any trade in tiger parts encourages poaching, because products made from animals farmed at great expense cannot be distinguished from products made from wild tigers.

Because tigers must be able to roam over large areas, long-term conservation of the species will need planning that involves religious and civic leaders as well as national and local governments. International cooperation among nations that harbor the animal will also be essential. Dinerstein and his coauthors conclude by recommending that these countries appoint "tiger ambassadors" to advocate for the species, step up efforts to prosecute poachers, and provide economic incentives to encourage conservation.
-end-
BioScience publishes commentary and peer-reviewed articles covering a wide range of biological fields, with a focus on "Organisms from Molecules to the Environment." The journal has been published since 1964 by the American Institute of Biological Sciences, an umbrella organization for professional scientific societies and organizations that are involved with biology. It represents some 200 member societies and organizations with a combined membership of about 250,000.

The complete list of research articles in the June 2007 issue of BioScience is as follows:

Understanding the Genetic Basis of Floral Diversity.
Elena M. Kramer

The Implications of Scaling Approaches for Understanding Resilience and Reorganization in Ecosystems.
Andrew J. Kerhoff and Brian J. Enquist

Hidden Messages: Are Ultraviolet Signals a Special Channel in Avian Communication"
Martin Stevens and Innes C. Cuthill

The Fate of Wild Tigers.
Eric Dinerstein and colleagues

Is There Any Common Curriculum for Undergraduate Biology Majors in the 21st Century?
Kerry Cheesman and colleagues

The Role of Climatic Change in the Evolution of Mammals.
Anthony D. Barnosky and Brian P. Kraatz

American Institute of Biological Sciences

Related Tigers Articles from Brightsurf:

Big cats and small dogs: solving the mystery of canine distemper in wild tigers
Canine distemper virus (CDV) causes a serious disease in domestic dogs, and also infects other carnivores, including threatened species like the Amur tiger.

Camera trap study captures Sumatran tigers, clouded leopards, other rare beasts
Scientists deployed motion-sensitive camera traps across a 50-square-mile swath of Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in southern Sumatra and, over the course of eight years, recorded the haunts and habits of dozens of species, including the Sumatran tiger and other rare and endangered wildlife.

Study: yes, even wild tigers struggle with work/life balance
A new study by a team of Russian and American scientists revealed the first-ever detailed analysis of a tigress from the birth of her cubs through their first four months.

Mental health disorders rife in post-conflict areas
A new study has found that 58 percent of people displaced following the civil war in Sri Lanka have suffered mental health problems.

Climate change may destroy tiger's home
A James Cook University scientist says the last coastal stronghold of an iconic predator, the endangered Bengal tiger, could be destroyed by climate change and rising sea levels over the next 50 years.

Urbanization may hold key to tiger survival
A new WCS-led study published in the journal Biological Conservation says the future of tigers in Asia is linked the path of demographic transition -- for humans.

NSU researcher part of team that conducted genome-wide study of tigers
Study brings important context and conclusions to recovery and management strategies for a treasured endangered species, and included subspecies, at high extinction risk.

Genome-wide study confirms 6 tiger subspecies
Fewer than 4,000 free-ranging tigers remain in the wild. Efforts to protect these remaining tigers have also been stymied by uncertainty about whether they represent six, five or only two subspecies.

Research methods that find serial criminals could help save tigers
A geographic profiling tool used to catch serial criminals could help reduce the casualties of human-tiger conflict, according to scientists who collaborated on an innovative conservation research study.

Tigers cling to survival in Sumatra's increasingly fragmented forests
A research expedition tracked endangered tigers through the Sumatran jungles for a year and found tigers are clinging to survival in low density populations.

Read More: Tigers News and Tigers Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.