It is a blessing that Putin the Prime Minister of Russia likes tigers. Putin has been criticised by his political opponents, human rights organisations and commentators for turning the clock back in respect of democracy and human rights in Russia but he bloody well likes tigers (he has a an Amur tiger as a kind of pet or he was given one). And right now that is very important for the tiger because I hope it means some clout and fizz will be injected into the conservation process.
Russia have their very own tiger, the Amur tiger or Siberian tiger and Russia has done a pretty good job in conservation of this rare animal lately. The population of the Siberian tiger is stable it is said at about 400. 95% or more of this population live in area around and to the northeast of Vladivostok in the Amur region of Russia on the east coast.
And it is in Vladivostok that a meeting is to be held chaired by Prime Minister Putin to instigate what would seem to be a massive effort to save the tiger. The director of the Russian branch of the World Wildlife Fund, Igor Chestin, has said that the situation regarding the tiger in the wild is “catastrophic”.
I like that language because it is accurate and because far to often we just hear platitudes trotted out about dwindling numbers of tigers and nothing happens.
There has to be real change not just tinkering with the status quo because conservation at present it simply not achieving its goals. It is failing if we are honest.
The idea is to get all the leaders of the conservation programs of the countries where the tiger is to be found and thrash out a billion dollar plan to double the tiger population by 2022. Fantastic but it better be radical.
If I may be so bold to suggest, the tiger should stop being treated as an inanimate commercial product to be cut up and the parts sold and start being treated as a commercial product (it has to be a commercial product because the world works like that) that is living and which generates enjoyment and revenue for millions.
In short let us stop the demand for tiger body parts in Asia, which will stop poaching and then get the reserves right so that they are truly able to support a good prey base and a healthy population of tigers. The committed involvement of local people is paramount and for that there has to be financial rewards for them.
The money for the project is planned to come from private and public funds. Is this just another project doomed to fail? Well Putin knows how get his way. Lets see if he can do something for the tiger. The conservation programs need a sharp knife to remove the bureaucracy and get real results.
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