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Building a Future for Wild Tigers

Available in: 中文

Global Tiger Conservation InitiativeGlobal Tiger Conservation InitiativeGlobal Tiger Conservation InitiativeGlobal Tiger Conservation InitiativeGlobal Tiger Conservation Initiative

Tigers are an indicator of the health of the varied ecological systems of which they are part. Given the appeal and ecological role of tigers, their effective conservation can provide an umbrella for all biodiversity. Tiger conservation is thus vital to the conservation of many other rare and threatened species, as well as to sustaining essential ecosystem-services that forests provide, such as watershed protection, soil conservation and carbon storage.

Despite their ecological significance, tiger populations are in decline. Tigers occupy only 7 percent of their historic range, and in the last decade their habitats have shrunk significantly. Within a century, wild tiger numbers have plunged from more than 100,000 to about 4,000 animals. Tigers have already disappeared from Central Asia, Java and Bali in Indonesia, and most of China. Habitat loss, combined with intense poaching of prey species and the illegal trade in tiger parts, has taken a severe toll, with entire populations eliminated from what were once considered secure reserves.

Most tiger populations are isolated and small (numbering fewer than 30 individuals). In many of the tiger range countries, conservation remains under-funded and ranks low among government priorities. The good news is that tigers can recover if they are protected and have prey to eat. Addressing the threats to tigers calls for innovative interventions which tackle the root causes of the problem – the incentives to poach tigers and their prey and to destroy habitats.

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The World Bank and Partners Launch a Global Tiger Conservation Initiative 
Press release 
Story: Bank Joins Drive to Save Endangered Tigers
Speech: President Zoellick at Tiger Initiative Launch Event
Videos: Speaking on Behalf of Tigers (PSAs)
Harrison Ford
Yao Ming
Vincent Zhao
Maurice Green
B-SPAN: Tiger Conservation Initiative Symposium 
YouTube: World Bank, Harrison Ford & Bo Derek Team up to Save Tigers 
New report
A Future for Wild Tigers


Executive Summary - Introduction and Overview: If current trends persist, tigers are likely to be the first large predator species to vanish in historic times. Tiger subspecies and populations have already disappeared from Java, Bali, and Central Asia and throughout much of China. Protected areas, the stronghold of tiger conservation efforts in South and East Asia, are rarely large enough to ensure their survival, and the animals must also be protected from poaching. Actions by any country in isolation will not be adequate to save tigers and a genuine commitment and partnership is needed to achieve this goal. This report outlines an action plan to save the tiger. Download>>

  • Chapter 1 - Introducing the Problem: Poaching and habitat loss are the greatest challenges to tiger survival. Well-intentioned international, national, and regional support for tiger conservation efforts over the last decade has been inadequate to halt the decline in tiger populations. To secure their future in the wild they must both be protected from poaching and given adequate land with sufficient prey. This requires financial and material resources and a strong policy commitment to conservation. Download>>
  • Chapter 2 - The Current State of Tiger Conservation: Challenges and Opportunities: The challenges of conserving tigers are daunting. Any effective solution will require reorienting economic incentives in ways that shift the balance from degradation to conservation. The accumulated experience suggests that there is no universal formula. Rather, flexible strategies should suit local conditions. Download>> 
  • Chapter 3 - Options for the Way Forward: Any solution would need to tackle three often intertwined problems: poaching and the trade that drives it, habitat fragmentation, and the degradation of habitats through overuse. The aim of this chapter has been to outline some of the strategies available for achieving this, among them: creating direct incentives to conservation and refining tiger tourism. Download>> 
  • Chapter 4 - Conclusions: This chapter identifies priority areas for action. These include: a) creating and implementing a conservation paradigm that enlists incentives; b) providing adequate funding; c) developing biodiversity-friendly infrastructure; and d) tackling illegal trade to control poaching. Download>>
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A Future for Wild Tigers - Report

A Future for Wild Tigers
 Executive Summary(pdf)
Chapter 1- Introducing the problem
Chapter 2 - The current state of tiger conservation
Chapter 3 - Options for the way forward
Chapter 4 - Conclusions
Full Report
Report Website


In the past few decades, governments, the World Bank and numerous other organizations have been involved in a number of development projects as well as specific integrated conservation and development schemes (ICDPs) in or adjacent to tiger habitats.

There is a clear need for a comprehensive empirical assessment of outcomes from these projects based on quantifiable indicators to guide future tiger conservation policy because there are indications that sustained success is elusive. While responding to the tiger crisis, the World Bank recognizes these problems and thus intends to work with leading scientists, conservation NGOs, conservation institutions and governments in the tiger range countries to improve understanding and develop effective strategies for harmonizing conservation with other development objectives. It will also support cross regional initiatives to protect tigers from any form of exploitation. The World Bank’s engagement is consistent with the 2007 CITES Conference of the Parties, which called upon “all governments and intergovernmental organizations, international aid agencies, and non-governmental organizations to provide, as a matter of urgency, funds and other assistance to stop illegal trade in specimens of Asian big cat species, and to ensure the long-term survival of the Asian big cat species in the wild”.

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Projects in Tiger Habitats 

World Bank:
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Russia, Vietnam

Indonesia - Aceh Integrated Forests
Vietnam - Vietnam Green Corridor
Vietnam Conservation Fund
Europe/C. AsiaSaving Russian Tigers

The World Bank's involvement in tiger conservation, together with the International Tiger Coalition, the scientific community, the GEF and other participants of the Global Tiger Initiative, is aimed at improving global biodiversity management practices and skills through better conservation of wild tigers and their habitats.  In a collaborative global effort, the Bank will work to build greater awareness of the fact that maintaining tigers and other important species and their supporting ecosystems is essential to ensuring the health, wealth, and ecological security of human populations everywhere.

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Our Partners
International Tiger Coalition
 Global Environment Facility (GEF)


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