Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Decline in Russian Tigers Renews Calls to End All Trade

21 October 2009

Categories: Homepage News, Big Cats Campaign News

A shocking decline in the Russian Federation’s wild tiger population highlights the importance of eliminating trade in and demand for tiger parts, according to the International Tiger Coalition (ITC)¹, of which Born Free is a signatory member. The alliance of 40 organizations worldwide issued the statement upon news that Siberian tigers may have suffered a serious drop in numbers over the past four years.

New census figures indicate that tiger populations in the Russian Far East, which in 2005 numbered nearly 500, have declined significantly due to poaching of tigers for their skins, bones and meat as well as poaching of tiger prey and habitat degradation.  The seriousness of the news was underscored the day before, when a young male tiger was found dead in the region with two bullets in its head.

“Russia’s tigers have been a stand-out success story,” said Judy Mills, the ITC’s moderator. “This apparent sudden, marked decline should act as a reminder of why regional efforts must be strengthened in response to increasingly sophisticated criminal networks.”

The ITC recommends concerted bilateral law enforcement between the Russian Federation and China to address illegal cross-border wildlife trade, especially in tigers, as an immediate first step.  Furthermore, the ITC encourages countries to remind potential consumers that tiger trade is illegal and destroy existing stockpiles of tiger parts and products, as their existence raises expectations of a future resumption of trade.

A meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal at the end of this month will bring together 13 of 14 tiger range countries, including the Russian Federation, to discuss how to reverse the precipitous decline in all wild tiger populations.  The meeting, at which Born Free will be represented, is the first step in preparations for a summit of heads of tiger range states next year to mark the 2010 Year of the Tiger in the Chinese calendar.

Without urgent action, the ITC warns, there may not be wild tigers when the Year of the Tiger comes around again in 12 years.

For more information, please contact Chris Wright

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¹American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine * AMUR * Animal Welfare Institute * Animals Asia Foundation * Association of Zoos & Aquariums  * Big Cat Rescue * Born Free Foundation * Born Free USA * British and Irish Association of Zoos & Aquariums * Care for the Wild International * Conservation International * Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine * David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation * Education for Nature − Vietnam * Environmental Investigation Agency * FREELAND * Global Tiger Patrol * Humane Society International * Humane Society of the United States * International Fund for Animal Welfare * Phoenix Fund * ProFauna Indonesia * Save The Tiger Fund * Species Survival Network * The Fund For The Tiger * Tigris Foundation * Tour Operators for Tigers * TRAFFIC * 21st Century Tiger * WildAid * WildCat Conservation Legal Aid Society * Wildlife Alliance * Wildlife Conservation Nepal * Wildlife Conservation Society * Wildlife Trust of India * Wildlife Watch Group * World Association of Zoos & Aquariums * World Society for the Protection of Animals * World Wildlife Fund * Zoological Society of London

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