Third Tiger Killed as Tiger Summit Closes in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, Nov. 24, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Less than a fortnight since a tiger was poached in the Russian Far East and another found poisoned in north India, IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare) reports that a third wild tiger was killed yesterday in the northeast Indian state of Assam.

The incidents highlight two of the major threats to tigers including poaching and conflict with people, as governments from tiger range countries meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia finalized a new global plan to save the species from extinction.

Tiger populations have plummeted by 97% percent during the past century and as few as 3,000 wild tigers survive in a few scattered pockets of habitat in Asia.

"These tiger deaths highlight how critical it is to translate talk into action," said Fred O'Regan, IFAW President and CEO, who addressed the International Tiger Forum hosted by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. "IFAW is committed to providing enforcement training and capacity-building support to range countries dealing with the challenge of protecting tigers and the people living near tiger reserves."

A new global plan of action was adopted at the summit by heads of state and ministers from 13 tiger range countries. It is built on a foundation of national plans outlining tiger conservation activities to contribute to the global goal of doubling the wild tiger population by 2022.

The new global plan of action calls on a consortium of partner organizations, including IFAW, to help tiger range countries build the capacity of people working in the field to combat the threats facing tigers, including poaching and human-tiger conflict. It also sets out collaborative international activities to secure habitat and to end tiger trade.

"We hope the St. Petersburg summit is a turning point for tigers, by mobilizing the political will needed to save this charismatic and critically-endangered species," said O'Regan. "But it's what we do after the meetings to bring the right resources to the people and communities on the front lines of tiger conservation that will make the difference – or not – to the fate of wild tigers."

IFAW has extensive expertise in wildlife enforcement training, capacity building and rescuing wild tigers that have been injured or have come into conflict with communities.

The tiger killed yesterday attacked and killed two people after straying into a village in Assam, India, looking for food. IFAW and its partner Wildlife Trust of India attempted to tranquilize the tiger so that it could be moved away from the local village after it had killed a woman. But the tiger was cornered in a house and then shot dead by police as it attacked and killed another person when attempting to escape.

Several other tiger relocation efforts have been more successful. Last April, IFAW assisted the Indian Forest Department in capturing a tiger that had killed two people before relocating it to Manas National Park. In 2008, a tiger that had fallen into a well was tranquilized, relocated and released. In 2004, two tiger cubs were captured and relocated after straying into human settlements.

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