Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Timeline of Tiger Conservation at SCBI

Smithsonian scientists have been at the forefront of the tiger crisis. They have been working to identify the causes behind the tiger population crash and find solutions that will allow tigers and humans to share the same landscapes since the early 1970s. The Global Tiger Initiative (GTI) is using the research of SCBI scientits and other GTI participants to implement detailed programs to double the number of wild tigers by 2022. The Smithsonian's Tiger Conservation Partnership (STCP) is also working in the field to share their conservation expertise with the people charged with protecting tigers and their habitats.


Tigers are officially recognized as an endangered species.



The status of tigers is raised as a concern at a meeting of the International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN). Conservationists present anecdotal evidence suggesting that tigers are disappearing from India.



Tigers are placed on the U.S. Endangered Species List.



The Smithsonian-Nepal Tiger Ecology Project is founded. Senior Scientist John Seidensticker, Ph.D. serves as the founding principle investigator for the Project, which determines that loss of habitat and over-hunting, are the primary causes behind the decline of tigers.



International Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) takes effect, banning commercial trade in live tigers as well as their meat, skin, bones, and other parts and products made from them.



The Sundarbans Wildlife Management Plan: Conservation in the Bangladesh Coastal Zone management plan for the Sundarbans, Bangladesh, authored by John Seidensticker.



U.S. passes “The Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994.” The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funds small programs in Asia that promote sustainable conservation for tigers. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and Exxon Corporation pledge $1 million to establish the Save the Tiger Fund.



The Smithsonian endorses tiger conservation efforts and Dr. John Seidensticker serves as first Chairman for the NFWF Save the Tiger Fund Council, which guides an investment strategy for wild tiger conservation.



 “Tigers: 2000,” a symposium organized by Dr. John Seidensticker and STF fellow colleagues, held at the Zoological Society of London in order to address the issue of wild tiger conservation.



Save The Tiger Fund hosts the Year of the Tiger Conference in Dallas Texas.



Riding the Tiger: Tiger Conservation in Human-dominated Landscapes, authored by Dr. John Seidensticker and 79 co-authors, becomes the primary reference guiding conservation efforts today. The Smithsonian emphasizes the shift from an “activity-driven” agenda to a “results-driven” agenda seeking to secure a future for tigers in their habitats.



International meeting in Bhutan, attended by John Seidensticker and John Ballou, SCBI scientists, and Susan Lumpkin, FONZ Communications director, lays the groundwork for a new Tiger Action Plan. They help develop a Bhutan tiger recovery plan for 2005 to 2015.



Setting Priorities for the Conservation and Recovery of Wild Tigers 2005-2015, co-authored by SCBI scientists John Seidensticker, Peter Leimgruber, and Melissa Songer, with colleagues from World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society, and Save the Tiger Fund.  The study finds that the tiger population declined by 40 percent compared to a decade earlier, and identifies 76 landscapes with core breeding populations.


June 2008

The Global Tiger Initiative (GTI) is founded. It is led by the 13 tiger-range countries and their partners in conservation including the Smithsonian Institution.


September 2008

Start of GTI Country Consultation processes in Russia.


February 2009

Start of GTI Country Consultation processes in Asia.

February 26, 2009

Launch of the GTI Tiger Futures GEF Medium- Size Project, (implemented by Wildlife Conservation Society in partnership with WWF, IUCN, and TRAFFIC), in New York.


April 2009

Pattaya, Thailand GTI workshop.


June 19, 2009

The World Bank and the Smithsonian's National Zoo sign an agreement consenting to establish and support a Conservation and Development Network. Organizations donate more than $1 million towards training efforts that will preserve and increase wild tiger populations.


October 27-30, 2009

Global Tiger Workshop in Kathmandu, Nepal.


February 2010

First Asian Ministerial Conference on tiger conservation, Hua-Hin, Thailand, with first high-level discussion of the goal of doubling tiger populations, SCBI director, Steve Monfort, and staff participate.

Inaugural Training of Trainers (ToT) course.


June 2010

Pre-Tiger Summit Partners meeting in Bali,Indonesia, with participation by SCBI staff, lays final groundwork for the “Tiger Summit” later in the year.

Second session of SCBI Training of Trainers Course in Front Royal and Washington, D.C.


November 2010

Global Tiger Initiative, along with Russian Federation Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, host the International Forum on Tiger Conservation, the “Tiger Summit”, in St. Petersburg. Steve Monfort, Director of SCBI, along with other SCBI staff, attend this historic meeting. The Global Tiger Recovery Program is adopted containing action steps for tiger conservation.


January 2011

SCBI staff travel to Thailand to teach a second Training of Trainers course for 26 participants from countries across Asia to learn Smart Patrolling, the use Global Information Systems (GIS) technology to track signs of poachers, protect tiger ranges, and monitor tiger movements.


January 25, 2011

“A Landscape-Based Conservation Strategy to Double the Wild Tiger Population” written by Dr. John Seidensticker co-authors, reveals that the 20 priority tiger conservation landscapes could support more than 10,500 tigers, including about 3,400 breeding females. Tiger numbers could potentially triple if these lands are protected.


February 2011

India hosts International  Conference on Tiger Conservation, the first GTI meeting after the Tiger Summit, to announce results of India’s new tiger survey and discuss GTRP implementation, attended by Dr. John Seidensticker and Marshall Jones from SCBI.


June 2011

Bhutan Meeting on Smart Green Infrastructure in Tiger Conservation Landscapes, attended by Dr. John Seidensticker.

Dr. Mahendra Shrestha, formerly Executive Director of the NFWF Save the Tiger Fund, joins SCBI staff as  new Program Director for the Tiger Conservation Partnership.