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Conservation of Asian Tigers Mike Szymanski Sean Bertie Neil Kadrmas Sandy Hagen.

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Presentation on theme: "Conservation of Asian Tigers Mike Szymanski Sean Bertie Neil Kadrmas Sandy Hagen."— Presentation transcript:


2 Conservation of Asian Tigers Mike Szymanski Sean Bertie Neil Kadrmas Sandy Hagen

3 Introduction 5 subspecies of tigers existing today –Amur or Siberian (Panthera tigris altaica) –Bengal (Panthera tigris tigris) –South China (Panthera tigris amoyensis) –Sumatran (Panthera tigris sumatrae) –Indochinese (Panthera tigris corbetti)


5 Extinct Tigers Javan (Panthera tigris sondaica) Bali (Panthera tigris balica) Caspian (Panthera tigris virgata)

6 Extinct Tigers-Javan Last seen in 1972 Prime causes for extinction –Poisons (poisoned boar) –Encroachment of plantations These coincided w/ a loss of large ungulate prey base Currently no room for tigers on Java

7 Extinct Tigers-Bali Believed to have gone extinct in 1937 The Dutch colonization in 1910 brought –Plantations –Hunters Similar losses of habitat as the Javan Currently no room on Bali for tigers

8 Extinct Tigers-Caspian Last one reportedly shot in 1959 Preferred reed beds, but these were reclaimed as ag land Probably also due to civil unrest

9 Amur (Siberian) Tiger Largest subspecies of all tigers Males –nearly 11 feet long –weighing in around 660 pounds Females –up to 8 1/2 feet long –weighing about 200 to 370 pounds.

10 Amur (Siberian) Tiger


12 Distinguished from the other subspecies by –Wider spaced brown stripes –Paler orange fur –White belly fur –Thicker, longer hair with thick neck tuft

13 Amur (Siberian) Tiger Currently around 400 survive in the wild Russia, China and possibly N.Korea Numbers and range have shrunk dramatically in the past 100 years with a recent increased declines since the 1990’s Important that 400 may not be the actual “effective population”

14 Amur (Siberian) Tiger Causes of the population declines –Poaching –Habitat loss Habitat loss arrived in eastern Russia with the railroads.

15 Amur (Siberian) Tiger Habitat requirements of the Siberian tiger –Not really any for the tigers per se –BUT, their food does have habitat requirements –Red Deer (Cervus eluphus xanthropygus) Prefer forests with small openings –Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) Prefer forests with mast producing trees Primarily Korean Pine (Pinus koraiensis) Probably also Mongolian Oak (Quercus mongolica)

16 Amur (Siberian) Tiger Wild BoarRed Deer

17 Amur (Siberian) Tiger Habitat loss –Widespread deforestation –Large scale harvest of Korean Pine Primary effects of habitat loss –Creation of a sink for dispersing tigers –Loss of habitat for prey Why? –Increased encounters with humans –Increased depredations increased license hunting –Gives false impression of population size due to more visible tigers

18 Amur (Siberian) Tiger Why? contd. –Large home ranges Female km 2 Male km 2 Male home ranges typically overlap 2 or 3 female home ranges

19 Amur (Siberian) Tiger Habitat Protection Protect what is left (save what you can now, think about improvements later) –Primary concern areas are those with with pristine forest remaining –No permanent signs of humans should exist

20 Amur (Siberian) Tiger Secondary areas of emphasis should be those forests that are 90% intact, but some logging is taking place. –Only selective logging would be allowed –This would leave only small gaps –Logging roads would be closed when not in use Tertiary areas of concern are those of mixed land uses where 70% forest remains –Mixed land uses would persist –Human operations would be closed whenever possible

21 Amur (Siberian) Tiger Most importantly for all three areas of protection concern –Maintain a large ungulate prey base Concentrate on habitat for tiger prey

22 Amur (Siberian) Tiger Tiger corridors –May provide cover to allow tigers to disperse –Could help prevent the “sink” effect of open areas –Would probably allow enough dispersal for a reasonable genetic flow between fragmented populations –Would increase the “effective” population size –Do not, however, provide home range habitat (too narrow)

23 Panthera tigris tigris The Bengal Tiger

24 Distribution, Life History, Population Distributions -The Bengal tiger occurs primarily throughout India, with smaller populations in southern Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and western Myanmar

25 Population According to Peter Jacksons’ editorial in May of 1998 the numbers of Bengal Tigers are as follows: Bangladesh-362 individuals Bhutan-91 adults China-35 individuals India-3,750 individuals Myanmar-231individuals Nepal-97 adults

26 Life History Size  Male Bengal tigers average 2.9 meters (9 1/2 feet) from head to tail and weigh about 220 kilograms (480 pounds). Females are smaller, measuring about 2.5 meters (8 feet) in length and weighing approximately 140 kilograms (300 pounds).

27 Life History Color –Most tigers are redish brown in color with dark stripes and white stomachs. –Records indicate however, that a few wild tigers have been seen in unusual colors, including all white and all black. Have you heard of Jenny Craig?

28 White Tigers A popular attraction in zoos, white tigers in the wild were recorded in India during the Mughal Period from 1556 to 1605 AD At least 17 instances were recorded in India between 1907 and 1933 in Orissa, Bilaspur, Sohagpur and Rewa But mostly found in zoos today.

29 South China Tiger An estimated individuals South China tigers still exist in the wild. Currently 47 South China tigers live in 18 zoos, all in China.The South China tiger is the most critically endangered of all tiger subspecies.

30 South China Distribution

31 South China Tiger Chinese specialists believe between 20 and 30 tigers are still left in the wild. The last time a wild tiger was seen in the wild was 10 years ago. These facts suggest that the South China tiger is the rarest of the five living tiger subspecies, the most threatened, and the closest to extinction.

32 General Information The South China tiger is one of the smallest tiger subspecies Males are ~150 kilograms (330 pounds) Females are ~110 kilograms (240 pounds) Because there are so few wild South China tigers, and they have rarely been seen, very little is know about them at this point in time The tiger is a favorite subject of Chinese artists, depicted as fierce and powerful

33 Biology Age: The life span the South China and Bengal in the wild is about 10 to 15 years. Tigers in zoos live to be around 16 and 20 years old. Fur: Tiger hair length varies geographically. In the southern subspecies the hairs are short (approximately 7 to 20 mm on the back and 15 to 35 mm on the stomach). Claws: The forefeet have five toes and the hind feet have four toes. All toes have claws. The claws are 3-4 inches. Teeth: Adult tigers have 30 large teeth. The length of the canine teeth can be between 2.5 to 3 inches. Chromosomes: Chromosomes are arranged in pairs and there are 19 pairs or 38 total.

34 Food Bengal and South China tigers prey primarily on wild deer and bovids.

35 Management Implications According to the study by James Smith et al. Tigers must have the following in order to have a viable population Very high ratio of good to excellent habitat –When the “good” habitat in less that 50% breeding tigers will not occur in the area. If it drops to less than 30% no tigers will be found Little or no metapopulations Stop poaching Stop or decrease habitat loss Increase prey number –The prey numbers are down because of habitat loss

36 “Good Habitat” Tropical evergreen and deciduous forests Coniferous, scrub oak, and birch woodlands The mangrove swamps, and dry thorn forests of northwestern India, and the tall grass jungles at the foot of Himalayas The tiger's habitat requirements can be summarized as: some form of dense vegetative cover, sufficient large ungulate prey and access to water.

37 Loss of Habitat Much of the forest and almost all of the grasslands have gone as a growing human population converts them to land for settlement and agriculture. In Nepal, between 1990 and 1995, 1.1 percent of the country’s forest cover was lost each year. Habitat loss has resulted in fragmented tiger distributions in Nepal. (ultimately decreasing the population) Many of these populations are currently too small to have long term viability

38 Poaching Tiger parts are used in traditional Chinese medicine, in the form of tiger bone wine and tiger plasters. Primary consumers of tiger products are Chinese communities throughout the world. Drastic rise in tiger poaching was first noticed in If the present worldwide rate of poaching continues for three to six more years, many tiger populations may be extinct They are protected by the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) Nepal has had serious problems at the national level with endangered species trade control and CITES enforcement, serving as an important conduit in the illegal trade of tiger parts.

39 Sumatran Tigers »Panthera tigris sumatrae

40 Distribution Sumatran tigers are only found on the island of Sumatra About 400 to 500 Sumatran tigers live in the wild, mostly in the island's five national parks. Another 235 Sumatran tigers live in zoos around the world

41 Life History What do Sumatran Tigers look like? –Sumatran tigers are the smallest subspecies of tiger. It has the darkest coat of all tigers. Its broad, black stripes are closely spaced and often doubled. Unlike the Siberian tiger, it has striped forelegs

42 Life History Weight –Male Sumatran tigers weigh about 264 pounds –Female Sumatran tigers weigh about 198 pounds Length –Male Sumatran tigers average 8 feet from head to tail –Female Sumatran tigers are smaller, about 7 feet in length.

43 Food The Sumatran tiger eats wild pig, rusa deer, muntjak or barking deer which is a smaller deer

44 Habitat The Sumatran tiger is found in habitat that ranges from lowland forest to sub mountain and mountain forest with some peat-moss forest Population density in these areas are about 4-5 tigers per 100km²

45 Deforestation and Poaching Deforestation is depriving tigers of needed habitat leading to subpopulations Poaching is accelerating leading from deforestation; Tigers are easier to find in these areas of less habitat

46 Conservation Sumatran Tiger Project –This is a long-term field study designed to develop a cost-effective field census system for wild tigers using ground-based census counts, remote camera census, and radio-telemetry that can be modified and used as a model for long-term population monitoring in Way Kambas and other protected areas. Researchers will establish a set of life history characteristics that will be critical in developing effective interactive management strategies for wild populations

47 Conservation Sumatran Tiger Project cont. –The project is also looking to educate the people and allocate forest resources in tiger habitat –This project has been ongoing for multiple years and is keeping track of the number of tigers in each area through several methods of observation

48 Conservation Mark-recapture efforts –This is a similar grid system that is used in estimating the tiger populations in Sumatra –Study by Karanth and Nichols (1998) in India estimated the density for tiger populations (by capture-recapture) and their prey base (by line transects) LocationTiger densityUngulate densityHabitat type Kanha Tropical moist evergreen forest Kaziranga Alluvial grassland Nagarahole Tropical moist evergreen forest Pench Tropical moist evergreen forest

49 Tiger Mark-Recapture

50 Indochinese Tigers »Panthera tigris corbetti

51 Distribution The majority of Indochinese tigers are centered in Thailand. They are also found in Myanmar, southern China, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and peninsular Malaysia About 1,050-1,750 tigers are left in the wild. About 60 live in zoos, mostly in Asia, with a few in the U.S.A.

52 Life History What do Indochinese tigers look like? –Look a lot like Bengal tigers, but are a bit smaller and darker, with shorter, narrower stripes

53 Life History Weight –Male Indochinese tigers weigh about 400 pounds – Female Indochinese tigers weigh about 250 pounds Length –Male Indochinese tigers average 9 feet from head to tail –Female Indochinese tigers are smaller, about 8 feet in length

54 Food The Indochinese tiger eats wild pig, wild deer and wild cattle

55 Habitat Live in remote forests in hilly to mountainous terrain, much of which lies along the borders between countries Population densities in these areas are similar to the Sumatran tiger which is 4 to 5 adult tigers/100 km 2

56 Conservation Access to tiger habitat is often restricted, and biologists have only recently been granted limited permits for field surveys. As a result, relatively little is know about the status of these tigers in the wild.

57 Conservation At this point, very little has been done in Indochinese tiger management. Since the inability to access tiger habitat, only talk has started in the last years. There have been a couple of workshops held to plan for conserving the tigers –Masterplan workshop held at Khao Kheow Open Zoo, Thailand, July 1995 –Tiger GIS Workshop Royal Forest Department, Bangkok, Thailand, Jan. 1996

58 Conservation After the workshops the main concerns right now are to maintain a healthy stock of tigers in zoos, mostly in Thailand Deforestation, educating the people, and controlling the poaching is the main management implications so far

59 Protection in Vietnam Laws protecting tigers and tiger concerns –Decree 39/CP, 1963 on regulation of hunting for wildlife. Tiger was one of 4 limited hunting species. –Regulation (1972) on forest protection. –Decision 276/QD (1989) promulgating ban on hunting, trading of tiger and 37 other species. –Law for forest protection and development (1991). –Decree 18/HDBT (1992) stipulates management and protection of rare and precious species of flora and fauna. Tiger is one of 49 species and subspecies of complete ban on hunting and using. –Decree 14/CP stipulates system of penalties for violation on forest protection. –In 1994 Vietnam has joint to CITES for more effective control of wildlife trade including tiger. –March 1995, subregional tiger workshop held in Hanoi to establish Action plan for tiger conservation in Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea

60 Status of Captive Tigers 20% of the entire tiger population is studbook-registered: –475 Siberian –235 Sumatran –300 Bengal –50 South China –35 Indochinese These do not include tigers in circuses, private facilities, or non-participating zoos throughout the world. Do not contribute to breeding programs

61 Tigers in Zoos

62 Captive Management Species Survival Plans (SSP) –Objective: Preservation of wildlife both as species and as components of ecosystems –Cooperative management programs for the AZA (American Zoo and Aquarium Association) Reinforce, not replace, wild populations Gene pools… are becoming puddles

63 AZA Tiger SSP Manage 3 of the 5 remaining subspecies –102 member institutions with 277 tigers: 154 Siberian; goal= Sumatran; goal= Indochinese; goal=75 Bengal; goal=75 59 generic tigers Goal: 90% genetic diversity for the next years Use breeding programs in zoos to produce genetically diverse individuals

64 SSP Masterplan Strength of the plan lies within the biological database for each animal =Studbook –Computerized database containing genetic, demographic and relevant biological information about zoo animals worldwide –Avoid inbreeding –Preserve genetic diversity –International

65 Breeding Programs Artificial insemination –Placing sperm into the females vagina –Not very successful (only 1 cub) –Tiger ovulation is induced by mating In vitro fertilization –Eggs from female and sperm from male –Fertilized in lab –Injected into female –Has produced a litter of 3 cubs

66 More Breeding “Frozen zoos” –Sperm and eggs preserved in nitrogen –Not yet successful, but promising Reproductive research –Monitor ovarian cycles –Improve assisted reproduction technology –Genetic resource bank Naturally –The recommended method –SSP recommends when, who will be moved to zoos for breeding

67 The Ethics of Captive Animals “Circus” tigers and “zoo” tigers have diverging interests

68 The Ethics of Captive Animals Dallas zoo: remodeled –$4.5 million –1 acre of habitat which resembles a rainforest that has recently been logged –Now have enough room to implement captive breeding (SSP) Private Facilities

69 Poaching Trade in tiger bone –Major factor that threatens survival –Used for thousands of years in Asian medicine for treatment of rheumatism Some statistics from the early 90’s –South Korea imported 9000kg of bone over 24 years ( ) About 750 skeletons –Taiwan imported 12,000kg over 10 years ( ) –China is a supplier, processor and consumer Tiger bone wine

70 “Killed for a Cure” Judy A. Mills and Peter Jackson 1994 TRAFFIC report –Documented the importance of the tiger trade –Increased national and international awareness November 1994 –CITES passed a resolution to prohibit domestic trade of tiger bone –Also called for a ban on using tiger parts in traditional medicine All subspecies, except Siberian, of tigers and their derivatives were banned from international trade under CITES in Siberian in 1987

71 Progress in Tiger Trade Supply –More seizures of goods –Prices are lower –Major supplying markets disappeared Processing –Manufacture has stopped in many countries –China now substitutes sailong (mole rat) –Medicines that are found are old stock Demand –Availability has declined –Consumers now support wildlife conservation International Trade –More countries join CITES

72 Trade Continues Illegal supply market still operate (Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam) Processing markets label medicines incorrectly Domestic retail trade in Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia International trade through “an army of ants”= large number of people smuggling small volumes of goods

73 What to do Improved enforcement on trade bans, especially international Increase penalties for poaching Raise conservation awareness More research to help distinguish between real and fake tiger parts and products Adopt a tiger –$2000 Eviction of humans from tiger habitat Conservation Education

74 Decline Over Last 100 Years

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