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'Only 13 pc of Asia's tiger protected areas meet global norms'


Press Trust of India Kathmandu
Only 13 per cent of tiger protected areas across Asia meet global standards, a new survey revealed today, highlighting the seriousness of the existential threat that the big cats face.

Even more worryingly, over a third of these areas could lose tigers if measures are not taken urgently, animal protection organisation World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said in a statement here.

The survey was carried out by 11 conservation organisations and tiger range governments that are parts of the Conservation Assured|Tiger Standards (CA|TS).

CA|TS is an international coalition developed in response to the need for stringent conservation procedures to protect big cats through a partnership between governments and conservation bodies.

At present, three sites -- Lansdowne Forest Division in Uttarakhand, Chitwan National Park (CNP) in Nepal and Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve in Russia -- have been awarded CA|TS Approved status.

The survey also found disparities in the three main regions of Asia which form part of the tiger range.

Southeast Asia was found to be lacking on all accounts compared to South Asia and East Asia. While all sites surveyed in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal and Russia have management plans, many in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand do not.

Low investment from governments in Southeast Asia was known as the one reason for the lack of management of these 'protected areas'.

While 86 per cent of areas in South Asia, Russia and China stated that finances are either sustainable or are on the way to being sustainable, in comparison only 35 per cent areas in Southeast Asia are in a similar position.

"Unless governments commit to sustained investments in the protection of these sites, tiger population may face the catastrophic decline that they have suffered over the last few decades," said Michael Blazer, Chair of the Executive Committee of CA|TS.

"While the findings are discouraging for sites in Southeast Asia, the story is slightly different with CNP which has celebrated four years of zero poaching of rhinos since 2011. Now CNP boasts a viable tiger population with an estimated 120 of Nepal's 198 tigers.

"Well-developed governance/management structures bringing together park authorities, Nepal Army and local communities, along with effective trans-boundary relations at the local level have been crucial in facilitating tiger conservation and checking illegal wildlife trade," said Dr Ghana Gurung, Country Representative of WWF Nepal.

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First Published: Feb 28 2018 | 10:35 PM IST

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