WCS Applauds Introduction of Congressional Resolutions Supporting the Tiger Summit

  • The Nov. 21-24 Conference in Russia Will Gather Heads of State to Determine the Future of Tigers
  • Senator Kerry and Congresswoman Bordallo Urge U.S. Leadership at Summit '
  • WCS has Proposed Solid Strategy to Save the Tiger
WCS Scientists attending summit are available for interviews

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 17, 2010) – On the eve of next week’s Tiger Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA) and U.S. Rep. Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-GU) have introduced resolutions into Congress recognizing the importance of saving tigers from going extinct.  

The resolutions highlight the dire situation facing tigers in the wild and identify potential benefits of U.S. conservation efforts, including improved diplomatic relations with tiger range states like China and Russia and the cessation of deforestation in threatened habitats.  The aim of the resolutions is to mobilize support in Congress and in the U.S. government for the implementation of tiger conservation plans in range states. The summit, taking place between November 21 – 24, is the first such gathering of heads of state designed to save a single species.  

“It’s important to do everything we can to ensure that tigers can flourish in the wild,” said Senator Kerry, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  “The Tiger Summit offers a chance to engage other countries and promote international species conservation. By investing in tigers we can also promote local community development and create jobs for scientists here in the United States. I urge Congress to support the goals of the summit.”

“We are looking at the very real possibility of tigers going extinct in the wild during our lifetimes,” said Congresswoman Bordallo, Chairwoman of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife. “This collaboration among an unprecedented number of world leaders is our chance to ensure the viability of tiger populations, by committing to the targeted protection of tiger source sites. The U.S. must continue to be a leader in efforts to conserve iconic species such as this one.”

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) published a scientific study in the September issue of PLoS Biology that identified 42 source sites across Asia that are now the last hope and greatest priority for the conservation and recovery of the world’s largest cat.  Source sites contain the majority of the world’s remaining breeding females – approximately 1,000 individuals – and have the potential to seed the recovery of tigers across wider landscapes.  WCS researchers found that source sites are the best science to save tigers and are hopeful that this strategy will be adopted by range states attending the summit.  

“These resolutions reflect the potential for U.S. government leadership in support of tiger conservation and for making global species conservation a signature piece of its international diplomacy agenda,” said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President, Public Affairs. “We owe it to future generations to save tigers now, and this summit can provide a roadmap for doing just that. I urge Congress to pass these resolutions and demonstrate our commitment to saving these beloved cats.”

The WCS study calculated the total required annual cost of effectively managing source sites to be $82 million, which includes the cost of law enforcement, wildlife monitoring, community involvement, and other factors. However, much of that is already being provided by range state governments themselves, supplemented by international support. The shortfall—$35 million—is needed to intensify proven methods of protection and monitoring on the ground.

Among domestic agencies, tiger conservation efforts are currently supported by the U.S. State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Rhino-Tiger Conservation Fund, U.S. Forest Service International’s Russian Far East Program, and U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center.

Chip Weiskotten: (202-624-8172; cweiskotten@wcs.org)
Stephen Sautner: (718-220-3275; ssautner@wcs.org)
Mary Dixon: (347-840-1242; mdixon@wcs.org)

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.

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