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Tiger Conservation Partnership FAQs

The questions and answers here will help you better understand the threats to tigers and what the Tiger Conservation Partnership (TCP) is doing to save them from extinction.

What has caused the decline of tigers in Asia?

Tigers require large ranges to survive, however it is possible to respect tiger ranges without sacrificing the economic futures of tiger-range countries. The thirteen tiger-range countries all have detailed Tiger Action Plans which identify areas that must be protected for tiger populations to grow.
Poaching of tigers for their skins, meat, bones, and other parts continues to be a serious problem. SCBI is working with the authorities in Tiger Range Countries, INTERPOL, and conservation organizations to help combat illegal trafficking of tiger parts and products. Furthermore, with proper training and equipment, protected area staff can make real inroads on poachers within tiger habitats. For example, new techniques like Smart Patrolling, a sophisticatedsystem which allows frontline practitioners to record and transmit data on-the-spot and helps protected area staff implement more effective patrols.This is the system which the Smithsonian’s Tiger Conservation Partnership is now using as the basis for capacity-building efforts in courses being offered for Tiger Range Countries in Asia.

Can tigers be introduced into the wild from captivity?

While the Smithsonian Tiger Conservation Partnership and the Global Tiger Initiative are working to double the number of wild tigers by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger, it is not possible to reintroduce tigers to the wild now. If captive tigers were to be introduced now they would be facing the same threats from over-hunting, poaching, encroachment, and habitat degradation which have decimated existing wild tiger populations. The threats facing wild tigers would have to be mitigated before scientists could consider reintroducing any captive tigers. Furthermore, long experience in many countries has shown that reintroduction into the wild of large carnivores born in captivity is an extremely difficult, expensive operation. Animals which have grown up being fed and cared for by humans must first become habituated to the wild, learning hunting and survival skills, and they must also learn to fear and avoid humans. This would require develop of new, tiger-specific techniques and long term funding commitments – in addition to the need to have well-protected habitats with adequate food supplies in which to reintroduce them.

How many tigers are needed in the wild to remove them from the endangered species list?

Right now scientists, conservationists, and wildlife officials are focused on stabilizing wild tiger populations and increasing their numbers . They will have to stop the decline of tigers in the wild before regulatory bodies like the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on International Trades in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and can consider reclassifying them or eventually removing them from the CITES Appendices or the the U.S. Endangered Species List.