Many MrShutterbug Fans know that one of my favourite cats to photo is the majestic tiger.
However the tiger’s plight is being highlighted on an almost daily basis at present.
It is no coincidence that recently the BBC had a 3 part special on building a tiger corridor through Bhutan and the lower Himalayas to help link up isolated pockets of this most beautiful endangered cat.
A Summit is taking place in St Petersburg in Russia to highlight the Tigers plight on November 21st and will be hosted by Vladimir Putin.
Prime ministers and wildlife experts from across the world will travel to Russia's second city of St. Petersburg to discuss urgent steps to be taken to preserve the tiger population during the Tiger Summit.
At the end of the 20th century there were an estimated 100,000 wild tigers across Asia and the Russian Far East. Poaching, illegal trade, and habitat loss have steadily pushed tigers to the verge of extinction. Today, there are perhaps 3,500 wild tigers living in their natural habitat in tiger range countries - Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Poaching for fur and destruction of habitat have been major causes of the extinction of tigers. Russia is striving to protect and recover its own Amur tiger population. The Russian Far East is the home to the Amur (or Siberian) tiger, the biggest cat species in the world, which inhabits the temperate taiga forest near the country's border with China.
Tigers in Russia have experienced a significant decline recently, after a recovery from less than 30 individuals in the late 1940s to almost 500 animals in 2005
How can these world leaders help?What is new is the scale of money being discussed, in some cases billions of dollars over the next twenty years, this has all been supported by a programme headed up by World Bank President Robert Zoellick. This is welcome, as for too long conservation has been forced to operate on the cheap, with budgets that would be laughable in most other sectors. But all resources will need to be pulled together and tougher action will need to be taken against the poachers and makers of Chinese medicine. Perhaps the Chinese Government would like to get involved???
Lessons need to be learned from the reintroduction of the Rhino in Kenya.
Somehow we have to make this Year of the Tiger different. The Global Tiger Initiative is helping to do this along with leading naturalists like Doctor Alan Rabinowitz, the World Bank and several partners, including GEF, the Smithsonian Institution, Save the Tiger Fund, and International Tiger Coalition and World Wildlife foundation to try and achieve one aim. Its overarching goal is to reverse the precipitous decline of tigers in the wild and to double their numbers by 2022.
I wish them luck and hope the politicians listen and react in a positive manner as I for one would had to see the extinction of what can only be described as one of the most magnificent and powerful animals on the planet.
If you would like to do your bit then please sign the petition at