Report shows dramatic decline in Siberian tigers

November 24, 2009
This is a Siberian tiger photographed in the Russian Far East. A new report released today shows a dramatic decline in Russian tigers due to poaching and habitat loss. Credit: Dale Miquelle/Wildlife Conservation Society

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced today a report revealing that the last remaining population of Siberian tigers has likely declined significantly due to the rising tide of poaching and habitat loss.

WCS says the report will help inform Russian officials of what needs to be done to protect remaining populations of the world's biggest cat.

The report was released by the Siberian Tiger Monitoring Program, which is coordinated by WCS in association with Russian governmental and non-governmental organizations. It revealed that a recent tiger survey over a representative part of the tiger's range showed a 40 percent decline in numbers from a 12-year average.

Annual tiger surveys are conducted at 16 monitoring sites scattered across tiger range to act as an early warning system to detect changes in the . The monitoring area, which covers 9,000 square miles (23,555 square kilometers), represents 15-18 percent of the existing tiger habitat in Russia. Only 56 tigers were counted at these monitoring sites. Deep snows this past winter may have forced tigers to reduce the amount they traveled, making them less detectable, but the report notes a 4-year trend of decreasing numbers of tigers.

The total number of Siberian tigers across their entire range was estimated at approximately 500 individuals in 2005, having recovered from less than 30 animals in the late 1940s.

"The sobering results are a wake-up call that current conservation efforts are not going far enough to protect Siberian tigers," said Dr. Dale Miquelle, of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Russian Far East Program. "The good news is that we believe this trend can be reversed if immediate action is taken."

"Working with our Russian partners we are hopeful and confident that we can save the Siberian tiger," said Dr. John G. Robinson, WCS Executive Vice President for Conservation and Science. "The Siberian tiger is a living symbol for the people of Russia."

The authors of the report say the decline is due primarily to increased poaching of both tigers and their prey species in the region, coupled with a series of reforms in Russia, which reduced the number of enforcement personnel in key areas.

Russian scientists and non-government organizations are recommending changes in law enforcement regulations, improvements in habitat protection, and a strengthening of the protected areas network to reverse the downward trend.

"While the results are indeed bad news in the short term, we believe the overall picture for Siberian tigers remains positive," said Colin Poole, director of Asia Programs for the Wildlife Conservation Society. "There is an enormous amount of good will for saving Siberian tigers. We just need to translate this into action."

Source: Wildlife Society (news : web)

Explore further: Scientists track Siberian tiger cubs

Related Stories

Scientists track Siberian tiger cubs

October 26, 2005

U.S. Wildlife Conservation Society researchers and their Russian colleagues have fitted three 40-day-old Siberian tiger cubs with radio tracking collars.

First Far Eastern Leopard Captured in Southeast Russia

November 14, 2006

Just three days after catching a Siberian tiger in the Russian Far East, an international team led by biologists from the Wildlife Conservation Society captured another species last week that carries the dubious distinction ...

Wild tigers need cat food

December 13, 2006

A landmark study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) says tigers living in one of India’s best-run national parks lose nearly a quarter of their population each year from poaching ...

Study says 2000 tigers possible in Thailand

December 20, 2007

Thailand’s Western Forest Complex – a 6,900 square mile (18,000 square kilometers) network of parks and wildlife reserves – can potentially support some 2,000 tigers, making it one of the world’s strongholds for these ...

Caspian Tiger Extinct But Lives On In Siberian Tiger

January 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The extraordinary Caspian Tiger became extinct over 40-years ago. Through modern genetic analysis it has been discovered the Caspian Tiger and the Siberian or Amur Tiger still in existence are separated by ...

Decline in Russian tigers renews calls to end all trade

October 19, 2009

A shocking decline in the Russian Federation's wild tiger population highlights the importance of eliminating trade in and demand for tiger parts, the International Tiger Coalition (ITC) said today. The alliance of 40 organizations ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

4 million years at Africa's salad bar

August 3, 2015

As grasses grew more common in Africa, most major mammal groups tried grazing on them at times during the past 4 million years, but some of the animals went extinct or switched back to browsing on trees and shrubs, according ...

A look at living cells down to individual molecules

August 3, 2015

EPFL scientists have been able to produce footage of the evolution of living cells at a nanoscale resolution by combining atomic force microscopy and an a super resolution optical imaging system that follows molecules that ...

New lizard named after Sir David Attenborough

August 3, 2015

A research team led by Dr Martin Whiting from the Department of Biological Sciences recently discovered a beautifully coloured new species of flat lizard, which they have named Platysaurus attenboroughi, after Sir David Attenborough.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.