Conservation is need of the hour

KATHMANDU: Tiger evokes fear across the world. But, thanks to the poachers and encroaches, none will be afraid of the tigers that are still roaming freely across the jungle.

At a conservative estimate, there were 100,000 tigers, living in the natural habitat, in the last century.

But the present figure pegs at around only 4,000.

Experts argue that if the current trend continues, then wild tigers will only be found in books and papers over the next few decades.

Of the nine sub species of the wild Tiger — Bali, Caspian,and Javan faced extinction — and the rest, namely, Bengal, Amur, South China, Indo-Chinese, Malayan and the Sumatran will meet the same fate soon.

The global count was between 5000 and 7000 tigers a decade ago.

But, the present population is around only 4,000.

The 50 per cent decrease in the last decade points out to the fact that conservation efforts were a mere lip-service. The efforts, at best, were highly futile. And the data tells the tale.

So, conservation vis-a-vis a sustained declined population has come a cropper in the past four decades or so.

“We need to convince that a tiger, alive and kicking, is far more precious than a dead one. Else, our conservation will be futile”, said Anil Chitrakar, a conservationist.

Critics said that it was too late for conservation.

The big cats are the gift from the Asian countries since the rest of the world is not fortunate to play host to the valuable top predator in their pristine form.

Hence, saving tiger is a matter of pride for those nations that boast of a population of tiger in the wild.

The donors’ fund, though essential, may not be enough to save the endangered species.

The four-day global tiger workshop in Kathmandu, which started today, is likely to come up with a clearer approach to save the


Nevertheless, the experiences suggest that the declarations and meeting are simply not enough. The strong enforcement of the law and the cross-boundary cooperation is the need of the hour. Poachers have to be brought to book to curb the growing menace.

Nepal is keen to set an example. The nation announced that it would double to size of Bardiya National Park in Mid-West to 1,868 sq km.

Which brings to the moot point: Should tigers be farmed? There are 14 tiger range countries namely Nepal, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Russia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and North Korea. Besides, there are several nations where tigers are reared in captive breeding. There are more farmed tigers than those in the wild. The USA boast of more than 12,000 farmed tigers. While, China, one of the tiger range nations, has more than 5,000 farmed ones. Beijing has been lobbying for making farming of tigers legal.

But, critics argue that poachers may use the wild tiger’s body parts for trade. “It’ll be hard to identify whether the parts belong to wild or farmed tigers. It’ll create more loopholes for poachers, “said Shiva Raj Bhatta, spokesperson, Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation.