Experts from the tiger range countries have called for a collective political commitment from all levels of the government to save the animals and enhancing the capacity of the Interpol and other international agencies and enforcement networks to combat illegal trade in wildlife.
Apart from the Interpol, the World Customs Organisation (WCO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Secretariat and regional wildlife enforcement agencies should be authorised to take more effective measures in controlling trafficking, the experts said coming out with a set of recommendations at the end of the four-day Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop here on Friday.
Announcing the plan to celebrate 2010 as year of the tiger globally to create awareness of the critical plight of the animal and enlist broad support for its conservation, the experts gave a clarion call for strict protection of the beast and its core breeding areas. They asked the tiger range countries to stop infrastructure projects in core breeding areas and appealed to financial institutions to avoid financing development projects that adversely affect critical habitats.
They recommended conservation and management of buffer zones and corridors that connect core breeding areas in tiger landscapes, empowering local communities in and around the landscapes with sustainable economic incentives, and appropriate technologies to minimise human-tiger conflict. Making core/critical habitats truly inviolate with incentive-driven, generous, participatory and voluntary relocation was also suggested.
The workshop called upon the international community to make financial commitment to support long-term behaviour change campaigns with measurable outcomes for tiger conservation in the wild. Stressing the need to reach out to the target population to reduce the demand for tiger parts, the recommendations call for intensifying regional cooperation for better management and enforcement in trans-boundary tiger landscapes.
Use of innovative and sustainable mechanisms to finance conservation, and generation of collective support to tiger range countries from the international donor community to reverse the decline of wild tigers were also suggested.
The recommendations will be presented to the Ministers of the tiger range countries who are expected to meet in Thailand in January 2010.