In 2004, the Myanmar government designated 6,474 km2 of the Hukaung Valley as an inviolate wildlife sanctuary, based off of the first ever biological expedition of the area in 1999 led by Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, CEO of Panthera, and staff from the Forest Department and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Myanmar Program.
In 2010, the protected area was extended an additional 11,002 km2, and is the result of many years of hard work engaging local ethnic groups, recent settlers, and local businesses to agree to their townships becoming multi-use areas, in a way that serves their needs and that of wildlife in the region. The resulting wildlife sanctuary stretches 17,477 km2 and makes up the core of the Hukaung Valley Tiger Reserve.
Due to illegal hunting of both tigers and their prey, the number of tigers remains low, but the extensive grasslands and other rich habitats offer much hope for the future of Myanmar’s tigers. The reserve area has limited use where hunting and forest-use are restricted. Tigers Forever is focused on surveying and monitoring a core area of the reserve, and preventing poaching of tigers and their prey through bolstering intensive law enforcement efforts within this area to tackle the poaching threats in this landscape.
Tigers Forever is currently being carried out in this country and five others: