Watch this fascinating video about tiger poaching for illegal wildlife trade and learn about the importance of effective monitoring, law enforcement and training park rangers.
Wild tigers are in a critical state with less than 3,500 individuals remaining, of which only around 1,000 are thought to be breeding females. Breeding populations are scattered across a number of small areas and are at risk of further decline due to unsustainable hunting of the prey base and direct poaching to satisfy an illegal market for skins, bones and other body parts. Current conservation strategy must adapt fast to change the status quo and improve enforcement effectiveness in protecting and recovering these breeding populations. Monitoring tools, supported by robust capacity-building initiatives, and designed to help law enforcement agencies empower their staff, boost motivation, increase efficiency, improve effectiveness and promote transparency are a central part of this strategy.
This project proposes to implement a new tool - SMART - for planning, implementing, monitoring and reporting law enforcement efforts in a number of breeding source sites across the tiger's range. Through SMART, we aim to reduce poaching pressure on tigers and their prey by strengthening the capacity and motivation of protected area staff in executing effective enforcement operations. Much progress for tiger conservation has already been made on the political stage; this now needs to be underpinned by reliable measures of demonstrated progress on the ground with which to evaluate effectiveness and invest accordingly. With support from SOS - Save Our Species, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) this project proposes to move beyond software development to full field implementation of the SMART software in key tiger sites. The project will proceed in two stages; firstly, four pilot sites will be selected from across the tigers range to fully field-test the software tool, and then a regional-scale roll out of SMART will be proposed across nine tiger sites encompassing Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Russia and Lao PDR.
By demonstrating progress in these nine sites, the project aims to catalyse action in other sites across the tigers range and to benefit the many other threatened species that share the tigers' habitat and which depend upon effective enforcement and good local governance for their conservation.