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Tiger range countries reach consensus on conservation

By  Yang Yao in Kunming (China Daily)

13:03, August 01, 2013

Volunteers attend an activity marking the Global Tiger Day 2013 in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 29, 2013. The Global Tiger Day aims to promote the protection of the habitat of Sumatran tigers and increase awareness of tiger conservation in Indonesia. [Photo/Xinhua]

The 13 tiger range countries, including China, Russia and India, have reached a consensus on transboundary conservation and combating the illegal wildlife trade.

The Kunming Consensus, concluded on Wednesday, provides guidelines to the international community for working on transboundary management of conservation areas, combating illegal trading and eliminating illicit demand for wildlife products.

The consensus recommends establishing procedures for sharing up-to-date information on illegal activities. It also recommends conducting research to develop procedures to ensure the long-term effectiveness of transboundary landscape management.

The consensus makes recommendations on methods to combat the illegal wildlife trade. These include strengthening enforcement against illegal trading and poaching by increasing the capacity, training and use of innovative enforcement methods. Also recommended was strengthening international coordination and communication among law enforcement and other agencies, as well as among nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations and local communities.

The consensus requires nations to ensure effective monitoring and sharing of information on progress.

"The two items the consensus focuses on are important within the international community. The consensus gives detailed information on the work for the future," said Yan Xun, deputy director of the wildlife division of the China State Forestry Bureau. "We feel grateful the workshop has achieved its goal."

Yan added that illegal trading has adversely affected countries that have wildlife, countries in which the illegal products are transferred, and countries where the illegal goods are purchased, so interdepartmental and international law enforcement cooperation is needed to combat the trade.

Data show that there is more than three times as much potential tiger habitat in transboundary tiger conservation areas (920,000 sq km) than there is in just one country's conservation area (279,000 sq km).

"That's why maintaining ecological and administrative links between the countries that share tiger conservation landscapes is a fundamental component of wild tiger recovery," he said.

Andrey V. Kushlin, program manager of the Global Tiger Initiative with the World Bank, echoed Yan's sentiments.

"If you are to preserve tigers and landscapes, you should really focus on responsibilities and cooperation between each nation, and you cannot achieve anything without countries that have a common desire to work together," he said.

Heads of government of the tiger range countries, meeting in St Petersburg in 2010, endorsed a declaration that committed them to work together to double the number of wild tigers worldwide.

There are between 3,200 and 3,500 wild tigers in the wild, and the 13 nations have agreed to increase that number to 6,000 by 2022.

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