Tigers, Habitats and People
The Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation (ITHCP) or ‘Tiger Programme‘ is an initiative funded by the German Cooperation via KfW Development Bank, which contributes to the global effort to double tiger numbers in the wild by 2022. Launched in late 2014, it was extended in December 2018 for a further five years, until 2023.
In the last century, rampant poaching, widespread habitat destruction and conflicts over increasingly shrinking forest habitats have caused tiger populations to plummet from an estimated 100,000 individuals in 1910 to 3,200 individuals in 2010. Tigers now occupy just 7% of their original range. Without an effective coordinated intervention from key conservation actors, including governments in tiger range countries, this situation could have very well led to the tiger’s extinction in the wild.
In 2010 an unprecedented global mobilisation to save this iconic species was undertaken at the St Petersburg “Tiger Summit“, where tiger range and donor countries committed to doubling tiger numbers in the wild by 2022. To achieve this symbolic goal, the Global Tiger Recovery Programme (GTRP) was developed by a large number of conservation professionals, including IUCN, and was endorsed during the Summit. The GTRP identifies crucial Tiger Conservation Landscapes (TCLs) and outlines how each tiger range country can do their part to achieve an increase in tiger populations.
The implementation of the Tiger Programme is based on three pillars: protecting tiger species and their prey from the threat of poaching; preserving their habitats, including core habitats and corridors; and supporting human populations living in tiger landscapes through avoiding conflicts, providing them sustainable income sources and functional energy sources to reduce unsustainable forest dependency.
The Tiger Programme consists of a portfolio of 12 large scale projects in key Tiger Conservation Landscapes across Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Nepal and Myanmar.
These projects all encompass the three pillars of species conservation, habitat management and community engagement. To date the fund has provided hundreds of jobs for more than 100 organisations and grass roots initiatives. About 50,000 community members living in park buffer zones or corridor areas benefit from the fund.
The fund has provided training, vehicles, key equipment and infrastructure for hundreds of professional rangers and rangers employed from local villages. It has contributed to developing or strengthening dozens of small scale ecotourism ventures, which ultimately increase the economic value of tigers and their habitats. It has also formalised and improved critical tenure rights over ancestral lands for a number of historically disadvantaged indigenous groups. All this will facilitate long term coexistence with this species.
Some positive impacts from the fund are already demonstrable; in places where human wildlife conflicts are rife, such as Nepal, there has been a decrease of over 70% in human-tiger conflict incidents and a 50% decline in livestock deaths.
Particular tiger populations in Nepal, Bhutan, and India are on the rise in several sites supported by the programme . In ithe north of Myanmar, large biomonitoring efforts conducted as part of funded projects have allowed us to acquire baseline data on tiger populations that were understudied.
The main aim of the second phase going from 2019 - 2023 is to continue working in areas where funding is desperately needed and to create a sense of self-sufficiency, so projects are sustainable in the long-term beyond the lifespan of funding programs.
More information is available by email: [email protected]
For more information please contact:
Global Species and KBA Programme
International Union for Conservation of Nature
Rue Mauverney 28
1196 Gland, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 999 0120
Email: [email protected]