David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation Save The Tiger Posted on 6 Jul 09:17
So far 2022 has been a year of welcoming some form of normality back into our lives in the company of loved ones we have missed. 2022 is also a special year for us as it is the Chinese Year Of The Tiger and to mark this we are aiming to raise £10,000 to donate to Tiger Conservation projects run by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF). Funds are filtered into two major projects and regions, The Bengal Tiger Project and The Indochinese Tiger Project.
We are delighted to take this opportunity to update you on how your donations are making a difference to these projects.
Our first update comes from Assam and the Kaziranga, Pabitora and Orang National Parks, home to the Bengal Tiger Project. It has been reported that at present there are thought to be only 120-150 tigers remaining in these locations.
We have heard first hand from the Aaranyak rangers that despite the first six months of this year being challenging, as everyone has been navigating out of the pandemic, the team have managed to accomplish targeted Tiger and Rhino Goes to School activities. The participants of the activities are from the fringe villages of the Kaziranga Tiger Reserve. They are exposed to basic information on wildlife habitat, behaviour, population distribution and conservation challenges.
This information is provided in an interactive format and engages local communities, especially children, towards conservation awareness and a positive attitude for wildlife and forests. Activities include knowledge-based discussions and educational games focused on learning about wilderness in the surrounding environment.
Workshops and nature camps are also being run to encourage pro-conservation behaviour and eco-friendly practices such as segregation of waste in schools and homes. On a grass roots level, gardening and the identification of plants present in school premises’ are helping promote a sense of belongingness.
Overall, the sensitization of inhabitants on islands lying near protected areas has instilled a sense of care for the wilderness and a genuine interest in the participation of rescue programs, co-operation and networking among to promote co-existence.
The second project we are supporting is based in the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai (DPKY) World Heritage site, Thailand, with a focus on the Indochinese Tiger. At the moment, the combined populations of this sub-species across its range is 352. To break this figure down, it is suspected that only 177 are left in Thailand and a reported 22 in Myanmar. Approximately 33 are in the DPKY site (2021).
The DSWF have stated that the last year has been a successful one for Freeland Thailand and their mission to protect tigers in the DPKY World Heritage site. However, the population of tigers in DPKY is critically important as it is one of only two breeding populations remaining in the entire range of this subspecies.
We were pleased to hear that no poaching incidents were reported in the last year, thanks to anti-poaching patrols. Outreach to local communities is also key, and in the last year Freeland has focused on engaging with communities towards the Cambodian border. These sites are the most critical for developing improved conservation awareness, as dispersing tigers from DKPY tend to head this way.
Despite a successful year of no poaching, significant challenges remain for the Freeland team. Several cable snares were recorded and removed from the park, which could have easily ensnared a tiger. Logging, diseases affecting wild cattle and wild boar – the tiger’s main prey - and the possible construction of dams within the DPKY, continue to be huge concerns.
In spite of these challenges, we are happy to hear that the DPKY tiger population is continuing to thrive. Sixteen tigers were recorded during the last year but the number would likely to be much higher if the survey area was larger. We are also thrilled to share that two separate births of tiger cubs were confirmed in the last year. Both litters consisted of three cubs.
Tim Redford, Programme Director at Freeland summed up the ongoing challenge: “We can’t get complacent because of our current success in protecting tigers. The problems are not going to go away and poachers are constantly looking for gaps in our defences . We have to keep ahead of the game, working with communities and local partners to turn the prospect of tiger extinction around.”
All in all, we are really pleased with the updates we have received from the DSWF team. Though many challenges still present themselves now and in the future, it is with your kind donations that we are able to help.