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article imageCambodia's tigers are now 'functionally extinct' says WWF

By Karen Graham     Apr 6, 2016 in Environment
Conservationists conceded on Wednesday that tigers in Cambodia are "functionally extinct" due to poaching and habitat loss, even as they announced a bold plan to reintroduce the magnificent animals back into the wild.
According to conservationists with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Cambodia, the last tiger seen in the wild in the kingdom was in 2007 from a hidden camera set up in the Eastern Plains Dry Forest in the Mondulkiri Protected Forest.
Cambodia's dry forests at one time were home to scores of Indochinese tigers. But because of intense poaching of the tigers and their prey, the tiger's numbers have been devastated. “Today, there are no longer any breeding populations of tigers left in Cambodia, and they are therefore considered functionally extinct,” WWF said in a statement.
By 2010, the population of Indochinese tigers, a subspecies, had fallen over 70 percent in the wild in just over a decade. Today, there are only 350 of these animals left in six countries, Thailand, Cambodia, China, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Last month, the Cambodian government, in an effort to revive the population of Indochinese tigers, approved a plan to reintroduce them in the protected Mondulkiri forest in the far east of the country. Officials said that a protected habitat will be carved out and will be protected from poachers who go after the tigers and their prey.
"We want two male tigers and five to six females tigers from the start," Keo Omaliss, director of the department of wildlife and biodiversity at the Forestry Administration, told Channel News Asia. "This is a huge task."
The project is expected to cost from US$20 million to US$50 million said Omaliss and talks are already underway with a number of countries, including India, Thailand and Malaysia to provide a small number of wild tigers to be reintroduced.
“This would be the world’s first transnational tiger reintroduction and will be based on best practices developed from successful tiger reintroductions within India,” WWF-Cambodia said. "It's (the tiger) been hunted to extinction because of weak law enforcement and the government is now reacting," said Suwanna Gauntlett, of the Wildlife Alliance.
Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam launched a plan in 2010 to double their wild tiger numbers by 2022. Officials from the 13 countries are set to meet in Delhi on April 12-14 to discuss their goals. Their global aim is also known as “Tx2," reports EcoWatch.
The Cambodia Tiger Action Plan also follows the objective of 13 tiger range countries to double the ...
The Cambodia Tiger Action Plan also follows the objective of 13 tiger range countries to double the number of wild tigers in the world to more than 6,000 by 2022, which is the next Year of the Tiger. The global aim is also known as “Tx2.”
According to the latest statistics, there are approximately 3,250 tigers left in the wild globally. Tigers are currently on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN’s) Red List. According to the IUCN, tigers currently inhabit only six percent of their historic range in the wild and have a 42 percent decline in their numbers since 2006.
The Indochinese tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti) is smaller than a Bengal tiger and on average, weighs from 150 to 195 kg (331 to 430 lb) and ranges in size from 2.55 to 2.85 m (8.4 to 9.4 ft) in length. because the Indochinese tiger is so solitary and elusive, there is actually very little known about their behavior.
The Indochinese tiger, also known as Corbett's tiger, has been recognized as a distinct subspecies since 1968. Jim Corbett was an avid hunter in the early 1900s and was often called on to get rid of "problem" cats in villages in India. However, while he was initially occupied with eradicating tigers and lions, he soon began to raise support and awareness for environmental and animal conservation.
More about Tigers, functionally extinct, reintroduction plan, Poaching, Habitat loss
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