Creating Laws to Protect Wild Tigers
The political and economic problems that impact the ability of the endangered tiger to survive are large and complex. It is difficult to provide immediate solutions to war, poverty, corruption, and the global pressure on forest resources. Legally forcing relatively poor communities to choose between their own livelihood and the survival of the tiger is not a sustainable solution.
To be effective, laws established to protect the endangered tiger need to be reinforced by public education that effectively illustrates the serious case of extinction and the importance of conservation. In addition, economic resources are needed to support currently under-funded enforcement efforts, as well as community-based programs on sustainable development.
To save the tiger from the wire snares of poachers, enforcement of national laws and international policies must be strengthened. However, as long as the demand and market for traditional Chinese medicine thrive, highly profitable kills will provide incentive to risk breaking laws.
For this reason, in addition to laws banning the sale and trade of tiger parts, medicinal alternatives containing no tiger parts need to be developed and well publicized. When combined with efforts to protect tiger habitat, these actions can help reduce the economic and political circumstances that continue to undermine attempts to save the tiger.
Strengthen legal structures and enforcement of tiger protection laws. Wildlife experts must continue to work with national governments and international forums to initiate and strengthen local anti-hunting laws and global policies, such as CITES. In addition, on-the-ground protected-area guards and staffs must be legally empowered and adequately equipped to enforce such laws and help save this endangered species.
International governmental and non-governmental organizations can coordinate policies and targeted economic sanctions to pressure tiger-range governments to increase their political commitment to endangered tiger protection.
Develop long-term political and economic incentives. Conservation groups and governmental organizations are working with community-based groups and rural households to develop political and economic incentives to support and participate in conservation programs.
In order to reduce the number of endangered tigers killed by people who, lured by money, risk breaking protective laws, educational and conservation programs must address the economic needs and attitudes of poor communities.
Increase participation in international forums. International wildlife conservation groups must strongly encourage tiger-range countries, particularly those which share common borders and/or tiger populations, to cooperate and coordinate their wildlife conservation and protection efforts.
To begin, they can participate in international forums such as the Global Tiger Forum and the Transboundary Biodiversity Conferences.
Galvanize international financial support for vital conservation projects that are not adequately funded by the politically or economically unstable, tiger-range countries.
Wildlife conservation groups are actively working to reduce the economic and political impacts that threaten the lives of tigers. We must increase these efforts immediately if we are to save the tiger from extinction.
Animal experts are beginning to obtain field permits to survey and monitor tigers in politically and economically unstable countries, and continue to work with governments to preserve key tiger habitat and establish protective reserves.
On both the local and international level, governmental and conservation groups are trying to raise funds to support the staff, budget, and equipment needed to adequately protect tigers from poachers; educate communities about conservation and ecologically sustainable development; and coordinate regional forums and global species survival plans.
Financial and professional support for these efforts is vital if we are to save the wild tiger before the very last one is — gone.