Wildlife Group Commits at Least $50M to Tiger Initiative

As an international summit aimed at saving the world’s diminishing tiger population draws to a close today, the Wildlife Conserva­tion Society has pledged to spend a minimum of $50 million over the next 10 years to ensure the big cat’s survival.

“Over the next 12 months, WCS will be putting close to $5 million onto the ground in Asia for tiger conservation,” WCS chief conservation officer and vice president John Robinson said in a statement re­leased Monday.

He added that WCS, in conjunction with both government and private donors, planned to invest at least $50 million in tiger conservation over the next 10 years.

“Together we will be investing a minimum of well over $50 million in the next 10 years before the next Year of the Tiger,” he said.

The announcement came during the International Forum on Tiger Conservation, held in St Pe­ters­burg, Russia and chaired by Rus­sian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The total cost of the global ef­fort is estimated at $350 million over the next five years, according to a November draft.

Cambodia plans to establish a protected tiger habitat of at least 15,000 square km, which will likely be located in the Eastern Plains region around the Mondol­kiri Protected Forest area.

Cambodia’s national tiger action plan—which will be based on the recovery program presented at the summit—should be rolled out soon, according to Forestry Administra­tion spokesman Thun Sarath.

“The prime minister has ap­proved in principle. Now, we are preparing to launch, maybe in January 2011,” he said.

“The first thing will be to identify the boundary of the forest,” he said.

The potential for future development must be considered when demarking the protected habitat, according to Kry Masphal, senior officer for wildlife and biodiversity at the Forestry Administration.

“We must work together for both conservation and development. When we find a site, if that one is very important for development, I think the government may choose to do development,” he said.


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