10 reasons why 2020 gave us hope for tiger conservation
Despite all the challenges in the last year tiger conservation didn’t stop!
The pandemic has exposed inequalities across the world, and impacted some more than others. The collapse of tourism in countries such as Nepal meant many communities who relied on tiger tourism lost their income literally overnight.
In many countries rangers were identified as key workers and patrols were stepped up to protect tigers and other wildlife from poachers who might look to take advantage of the global pandemic.
There have been plenty of positives to celebrate in the last 12 months so sit back, and take some hope from our top ten moments for tigers in 2020…
1. Tigers continue to recover in Russia’s Far East
This year the 2013 tiger reintroduction to Russia’s Far East province of Evreiskaya was hailed a success as a survey revealed numbers had gone from 0 to 20!
2. Support was provided to communities in tiger landscapes in India impacted by the the COVID-19 pandemic
WWF-India responded to the global crisis and delivered vital food and hygiene supplies to communities across tiger landscapes. Support included boat deliveries to communities in the Sundarbans with a range of supplies to support people who live on the islands. Looking forward we're continuing our work with communities and local organisations to help them recover and build resilience to future threats.
3. New tigers spotted in Bhutan
Six new tigers have been spotted on camera traps across Bhutan! Supported by WWF-Bhutan, these remarkable discoveries are thanks to communities, partners and government who have shown real commitment to tiger conservation over the last two decades.
4. India steps up the protection of its tiger habitat
In an incredible move, the Indian government has committed to the adoption of the Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards [CA|TS] across all of the country’s 50 Tiger Reserves. CA|TS is a conservation tool that sets best practice and standards to manage species such as tigers. This is great news for tigers in India, especially as the country is home to over 60% of the world's wild tiger population.
5. KENZO & WWF partner to save tigers
French fashion house KENZO have released a special tiger collection which is raising funds to protect this iconic species. They’re also working with us to improve the sustainability of their cotton supply chain and freshwater footprint which is good news for tigers and the planet!
6. The US House of Representatives passes the Big Cat Public Safety Act
Shockingly there are more tigers in captivity than in the wild. The US alone holds some 5,000 tigers in captivity and breeding tigers for entertainment isn’t conservation. This legislation will help prevent captive tigers from ending up in the illegal trade in tiger parts and products, the primary threat to the species in the wild.
While passage in the House is a positive step forward, the bill is unlikely to pass the Senate before the end of the year. It will be reintroduced next Congress, with greater support and momentum towards becoming law.
7. Sounding the alarm on the snaring crisis in Southeast Asia
An estimated 12.3 million snares threaten wildlife in the protected areas of Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam - a group of countries that are at the centre of the regional snaring crisis. These silent killers are a major threat to the remaining tigers in the region and their prey, and our report published this year outlined the bold actions needed by governments to address this problem.
8. The record for the highest altitude tiger sighting was broken in Nepal….twice!
In April the first ever sighting of a high altitude tiger was captured at ~2500m in western Nepal. The exciting historic event made headlines and is evidence that high altitude habitats may provide refuge for tigers.
But that record was smashed towards the end of this year, this time in eastern Nepal where a tiger was sighted at an incredible 3165m!
9. Three little signs of hope caught on camera in Malaysia
A new tiger litter caught on a camera trap in Malaysia’s Belum Temengor Forest Complex lifted all of our spirits this year. Malaysia witnessed a 50% reduction in its tiger numbers from 2009-2018 which was largely due to the snaring crisis. In the last two years the number of patrol teams has increased, as have the efforts to remove snares. This significant discovery shows what can be achieved if tiger habitat is properly protected and we are hoping to see this family again in the future!
10. Celebrating the best in tiger conservation with the TX2 Awards
In November we celebrated the first TX2 awards, marking the 10-year anniversary when all 13 tiger range countries committed to double the global population of wild tigers by 2022. Three tiger sites which have achieved significant progress in tiger conservation received the inaugural TX2 anniversary awards.
Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, India received the TX2 Award to celebrate their achievement in doubling their wild tiger numbers. The Royal Manas National Park, Bhutan and Manas National Park, India were awarded the Conservation Excellence Award for their significant conservation achievements and transboundary partnership.
These awards are supported by CATS, Global Tiger Forum, IUCN, UNDP, The Lion’s Share and WWF.