WCS Tiger Conservation Project
Conservation in Asia
About the Organization
Asia's most iconic predator, the tiger, is vanishing. These magnificent cats are threatened by habitat loss, diminished prey, human-wildlife conflict, and poaching, and as a result they are now classified as Endangered. In order for tigers to survive in the wild, we must secure their populations across a broad range of habitats. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is working hard to protect tigers in the wild and help their numbers grow.
The Conservation Challenge
Habitat Loss and Human-Wildlife Conflict
In 1920, an estimated 100,000 wild tigers inhabited a range extending across Asia. Today, there are only 3,000 to 4,000 wild tigers left, including an estimated 1,000 breeding females, and a mere seven percent remains of the tiger's once vast geographic range. The prey animals that tigers rely on are dwindling along with this loss of habitat, forcing tigers to seek other sources of food. A rapidly-growing human population and the corresponding increase in livestock and land used for farming means fewer resources available for tigers, and more conflict with humans and their livestock. Overgrazing by livestock and poorly managed development can have a detrimental effect on tigers' wild prey and the health of their overall habitat, as well. The conflict between wildlife and humans over diminishing resources is a problem throughout Asia.
Monitoring Tiger Populations and Protecting Habitat
WCS has become a leader in tiger conservation and fieldwork through practices shaped by careful science, producing more than 75 percent of the world's recent research on tigers. In addition to tracking the status, population numbers and well-being of wild tiger populations, the project creates protected areas for wildlife and helps range state governments and local people better manage these areas effectively, monitoring prey populations and human activities in tiger habitats to be sure that conservation programs and strategies are working. WCS also collaborates with governments in the landscapes surrounding protected areas, to promote sustainable land-use practices that will provide connectivity for Asia's wide-ranging tigers and protect against habitat fragmentation and isolation. The goal is to increase and stabilize tiger populations in key habitats while maintaining genetic diversity in the world's remaining wild tigers. WCS is working in all nine countries where wild tigers still remain and could potentially repopulate: Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Russia, and Thailand.
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