When the pace of development takes priority and precedence over nature and its animal population’s need to survive in the common ecosystem, few players on the environmental chess board naturally take a hit.
The fine balance in nature strictly mandates that all groups retain their optimum numbers.
On the lines of that, a paramount issue highlighted for discussion was the need for action to save the Tigers of the world at the second Asian Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation, which began on 22 October in Thimphu.
The agriculture minister Lyonpo Dr. Pema Gyamtsho Chairperson at the meet, said there is a need for reconciliation of protection and conservation with poverty alleviation, and employment requirement of local people and also understanding the need for capacity building at the front-line. “The key challenge is availability of funding and how to better link conservation and protection of tigers with the livelihood of people,” said Lyonpo.
Lyonpo Pema Gyamtsho said for better survival of Tigers policies and legislation on paper need to be implemented while at the same time security and enforcement agencies are also pivotal. He said, “As we ensure the survival and conservation of Tigers we also conserve the ecosystem and its resources, which provides the basis for sustainability of all beings.”
The World Bank closely collaborates with INTERPOL, along with tiger range countries in information sharing on transnational organized crime on tigers and tiger parts.
“We work with tiger range countries to overcome this alongside the national police agencies. So you have environment ministries, wildlife and custom agencies working together and looking at what the issues are and improving the flow of information,” said David Higgins of Environmental Crime Program, INTERPOL, adding that sharing information and intelligence is critical.
There are currently about 3,200 wild tigers left in the world and the forests of Bhutan have about 150 tigers.
According to the World Bank, which launched the Global Tiger Initiative in 2008, the Tiger range countries suffer in terms of flow of money that needs to get to ‘frontline people’ such as park rangers.
The Program Director of Global Tiger Initiative under the World Bank, Keshav Varma said all parks should at least have a minimum standard of efficiency equipped to carry out a significantly efficient job, whether it is ecological, research, monitoring or whether it is fighting against illegal poachers and traders, or developing a good system of information and surveillance or park ecology.
Together with international Tiger experts and representatives from non-government organizations and donor agencies such as Global Tiger Initiative (GTI), World Bank, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Global Environment Facility, Interpol and United Nations Development Program, representatives from 13 tiger range countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam attended the meet which ends today.
The Chief Justice of Bhutan, Sonam Tobgye, who attended the opening ceremony, said people of Bhutan coexisted with tigers and other wildlife species for centuries, and it is for this reason that Bhutan’s conservation policy recognizes the human-wildlife co-existence.
He said Bhutanese people continue to adjust often at the risk of their own livelihood, both at the farm level and at the national level for the cause.
“Article four of the constitution incorporates the doctrines of public trustee, and makes every Bhutanese an owner and trustee of biological resources, including that preservation of our wildlife,” the Chief Justice quoted.