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'Genetic corridors' are next step to saving tigers
Date:2/13/2008

NEW YORK (FEBRUARY 13, 2008) The Wildlife Conservation Society and the Panthera Foundation announced plans to establish a 5,000 mile-long genetic corridor from Bhutan to Burma that would allow tiger populations to roam freely across landscapes. The corridor, first announced at the United Nations on January 30th, would span eight countries and represent the largest block of tiger habitat left on earth.

Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, director of Science and Exploration Programs at the Wildlife Conservation Society, said that genetic corridors, where tigers can travel with less risk of inbreeding, are crucial for their long-term survival in Asia. The proposed corridor includes extensive areas of Bhutan, northeast India, Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia, along with potential connectivity to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. It has already been endorsed by the new King of Bhutan, his Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, who requested other heads of state to support similar efforts.
Rabinowitz, the co-director of Tigers Forever a WCS/Panthera Foundation collaboration made a clear request at the recent UN meeting that he and other tiger conservationists would be seeking additional approval and assistance from other heads of state.

While Asias economic tigers are on the rise, wild tigers in Asia are in decline, Rabinowitz said. Much like the call-out for global agreements on banning tiger parts in trade, a similar cross-border initiative for genetic corridors is key to the survival of the tiger. Tiger range states need to work together, as tigers do not observe political borders nor do they require a visa or passport to travel where habitat and prey remain.

Rabinowitz said corridors did not have to be pristine parkland but could in fact include agricultural areas, ranches, and other multi-use landscapes just as long as tigers could use them to travel between wilderness areas.

Were not asking countries to set aside new parks to make thi
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Contact: Stephen Sautner
ssautner@wcs.org
718-220-3682
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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