Tigers need vast amounts of forest to survive. With the ever growing threat of poaching, and increasing pressures from habitat loss, protected areas are essential. However, simply designating an area as ‘protected’ is not enough.
This is where Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards (CA|TS) comes in.
WHAT IS CA|TS?
CA|TS is a set of criteria which allows tiger sites to check if their management will lead to successful tiger conservation. CA|TS is organised under seven pillars and 17 elements of critical management activity.
CA|TS was developed by tiger and protected area experts. Officially launched in 2013, CA|TS is an important part of Tx2, the global goal to double wild tiger numbers by the year 2022.
"The long-term goal of CA|TS is to ensure safe havens for tigers."
HOW DOES CA|TS WORK AND WHO IS USING IT?
Sites taking part will initially be ‘registered’ (standards not yet attained) then, when all required standards are met, ‘approved’ (standards achieved). An approved site has achieved excellence in tiger site management. Sites are evaluated through an assessment and independent review process.
Of the 13 tiger range countries Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Russia have registered and rolled out CA|TS, whilst discussion is ongoing with Bhutan, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and China.
Currently there are two sites that are CA|TS approved; Chitwan National Park in Nepal and Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve in Russia.
In November the First Global CA|TS Consultation Meeting will be held in Bangkok, Thailand where CA|TS will be further explained, and experiences and challenges shared.
WHY IS CA|TS IMPORTANT?
Protected areas are a good strategy for retaining forest cover, however their role in protecting wildlife depends on the quality of management. Many studies show that tiger numbers can continue to decline in protected areas, particularly due to bushmeat (tiger prey) hunting or the poaching of tigers themselves for trophies, traditional medicines and other illegal activities.
Until CA|TS, there has not been a set of criteria which not only provide clarity on management of tiger sites, but also encourage further development and sharing of best practice across the tiger range countries.
Tigers are a large, charismatic species that require rigorous conservation efforts and best practices to ensure their future in the wild. This, combined with their need for vast areas of forest, make tigers an “umbrella species”. By focusing on tigers, and ensuring the forest they live in is protected to the highest standard, all the other species in the same forest benefit too.