Poaching across Asia is reaching critical levels. Forests are falling silent as the last remaining tigers, elephants, rhinos, bears, snakes, pangolins, lizards, birds, and many other species, are poached to feed an unrelenting illegal wildlife trade.
Zero Poaching is a call to all 13 tiger countries to stop poaching, by adopting the Zero Poaching toolkit. If poaching continues at the current rate, these countries will lose their wildlife. When species disappear, it disrupts the balance of the ecosystem, which has serious repercussions for people – both local and afar. We all rely on these ecosystems for fresh water, food, products, clean air and a stable climate – wherever we are in the world.
TIGERS AND POACHING
Tigers are a large, charismatic species admired around the world for their power and beauty. Unfortunately, this is also makes them a lucrative target for the illegal wildlife trade. Every single part of the tiger – from their whiskers to their tail – can be traded and sold on the black market.
With less than 4000 wild tigers left in the world, urgent action is needed to combat poaching. Zero Poaching is a crucial part of Tx2, the global goal to double wild tiger numbers.
HOW TO ACHIEVE ZERO POACHING
Poaching is now a sophisticated, highly organised, multinational business. To combat it, anti-poaching must be the same. WWF and partners are working with tiger governments on the six Zero Poaching pillars:
- Assessment of current site enforcement
- Adopting new tools and technologies
- Institutional capacity building including rangers
- Strengthening prosecution processes
- Increasing and improving involvement of local communities and other partners
- Improving national and regional cooperation
- Only once all these factors are being addressed can a country achieve Zero Poaching.
IS ZERO POACHING POSSIBLE?
As total eradication of poaching is almost impossible, Zero Poaching means reducing poaching to such negligible levels that there are no visual signs of poaching and there is no negative impact on species population.
Nepal, a Himalayan country nestled between India and China, has achieved Zero Poaching four times – first in 2011 for rhinos, and second in 2014 for tigers, elephants and rhinos. The past two years (2015 and 2016) have also seen not a single rhino poached. This tremendous achievement proves that when a country adopts a professional attitude to anti-poaching and dedicates the necessary resources, it is possible to achieve Zero Poaching.
PROGRESS OF ZERO POACHING
In February 2015, Nepal hosted the first ever Zero Poaching Symposium, which was attended by representatives from all 13 tiger range countries along with leading experts from around the world. It was the first time poaching in Asia had ever been so comprehensively and practically addressed.
The Symposium resulted in a series of recommendations for action towards Zero Poaching as well as the roll out of the Zero Poaching toolkit. For more information, including an evaluation of each country against each ZP pillar, please read the Post Symposium Report.
So far, Zero Poaching has seen some steps in the right direction to combating Asia’s poaching crisis. But we need stronger political commitment and clearer action on the ground. Every day, wildlife is being poached from forests.
Zero Poaching or Zero Wildlife? The choice is ours… and the choice is now.
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