NEW DELHI, March 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For the first time since the International Tiger Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia last November, tiger range countries and international organizations will convene in India next week for the first of several follow-up meetings to monitor priorities and progress towards pulling tigers back from the brink of extinction.
The two-day International Conference on Tiger Conservation held in New Delhi, India will discuss challenges, plans and priorities for implementing the Global Tiger Recovery Program, which aims to double the wild tiger population by 2022. Hosted by the Indian Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh, the Conference is being organized in collaboration with the inter-governmental Global Tiger Forum and the World Bank's Global Tiger Initiative. The participants include leaders from all 13 tiger range countries and scientists as well as conservationists from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) including the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI).
Poaching for body parts, illegal trade and habitat degradation have reduced the number of wild tigers worldwide to as few as 3,000, which represents a 97% population decline in the past century. Lately, conflict with people has emerged as one of the major threats in tiger conservation, particularly in India, home to about half the world's tiger population.
"The good news is that we can save the tiger," said Azzedine Downes, IFAW Executive Vice President. "To do so, the world community must find new ways of working together and the political will to translate talk into action. The global action plan's goal to double the wild tiger population by 2022 is a positive step in that direction."
IFAW was designated an official NGO partner to facilitate implementation of the GTRP, especially in providing training and support in tiger range countries to combat tiger poaching and support law enforcement, as well as demand reduction efforts to help stem trade in tiger body parts and products. Over the years, IFAW has been assisting range states to strengthen their anti-poaching operations, facilitate trans-boundary cooperation in trade control, habitat improvement, among others.
"We have provided training and equipped more than 8,500 frontline staff in India alone. Our field officers have also played a crucial role in securing tiger habitats in a number of Indian states, by facilitating granting them protected area status," said Vivek Menon, IFAW India Regional Director and Executive Director of the Wildlife Trust of India.
The Conference will see declaration of the latest population estimate of tigers in the wild in India, based on a new census undertaken by the Indian Government over the past year with the assistance of IFAW/WTI. The next international meeting to review progress toward implementing the Global Tiger Recovery Program is scheduled for December 2011.
About WTI (Wildlife Trust of India)
WTI is a non-profit conservation organisation, committed to urgent action that prevents destruction of India's wildlife. Formed in November 1998, WTI was created in response to the rapidly deteriorating condition of wildlife in India. IFAW and WTI formed a partnership in 2000 to strengthen the cause of wildlife conservation and animal welfare in India. Through this collaboration, IFAW and WTI are developing strategies to find solutions to wildlife threats in India and the surrounding region.
About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
SOURCE International Fund for Animal Welfare