NEW YORK (Embargoed until September 14, 2010: 5:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time) A new peer-reviewed paper by the Wildlife Conservation Society and other groups reveals an ominous finding: most of the world's last remaining tigerslong decimated by overhunting, logging, and wildlife tradeare now clustered in just six percent of their available habitat. The paper identifies 42 'source sites' scattered across Asia that are now the last hope and greatest priority for the conservation and recovery of the world's largest cat.
The securing of the tiger's remaining source sites is the most effective and efficient way of not only preventing extinction but seeding a recovery of the wild tiger, the study's authors say. The researchers also assert that effective conservation efforts focused on these sites are both possible and economically feasible, requiring an additional $35 million a year for increased monitoring and enforcement to enable tiger numbers to double in these last strongholds.
The studypublished online by PLoS Biologyis authored by: Wildlife Conservation Society researchers Joe Walston, John Robinson, Elizabeth Bennett, John Goodrich, Melvin Gumal, Arlyne Johnson, Ullas Karanth, Dale Miquelle, Anak Pattanavibool, Colin Poole, Emma Stokes, Chanthavy Vongkhamheng, and Hariyo Wibisono; Urs Breitenmoser of the IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group; Gustavo Fonseca of the Global Environment Facility (GEF); Luke Hunter and Alan Rabinowitz of Panthera; Nigel Leader-Williams of the University of Cambridge; Kathy MacKinnon of the World Bank; Dave Smith of the University of Minnesota; and Simon Stuart, Chair of the IUCN's Species Survival Commission
"While the scale of the challenge is enormous, the complexity of effective implementation is not," said Joe Walston, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Asia Program and lead author of the study. "In the past, overly ambitious and complicated conservation efforts have failed to do the basics: prevent the
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Wildlife Conservation Society