Science Magazine has just published a letter to the editor written by Panthera's Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, Dr. Luke Hunter, and Dr. Joseph Smith in response to a letter published in August (Science Magazine, 12 August 2011, pg. 822) entitled “Restoring Tigers to the Caspian region.” Read what Panthera’s tiger experts had to say about the tiger conservation methods suggested in last month’s magazine edition, and what they have found to be the most successful strategies to save wild tigers.
In their letter, “Restoring Tigers to the Caspian region” (12 August, p. 822), C. A. Driscoll et al. propose the reintroduction of tigers into the historic range of the extinct Caspian tiger. Driscoll et al. assert that new approaches such as this one are needed because “traditional conservation approaches are proving insufficient.” We disagree.
Tiger biologists and conservationists have shown how to save tigers. So-called traditional approaches—including law enforcement, scientific assessments, monitoring of tiger and prey populations, and community outreach—are demonstrably effective in reversing tiger declines when properly implemented by conservation nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and government agencies (1–6).
New approaches should always be considered in our efforts to save the tiger, but the focus must be on addressing the most critical threats to those remaining tigers that survive in little more than four dozen source populations throughout their range (7). The immediate solution lies in convincing NGOs, conservationists, donor agencies, and government authorities to properly implement the proven best practices of tiger conservation: the traditional approaches. If we are considering reconstructive surgery for the tiger, then let’s stop the bleeding first.
Panthera CEO Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, Panthera President Dr. Luke Hunter, and Panthera Tiger Program Director Dr. Joseph Smith