Panthera’s Tigers Forever Program is working to increase tiger numbers by at least 50% over a ten year period at key sites in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, and Thailand.
The Sundarbans is the largest mangrove forest in the world, spanning 10,000 km2 across Eastern India and Bangladesh. Tigers in the Sundarbans survive in mangrove swamps that are flooded by tides twice daily – an unusual and unforgiving habitat for tigers. In 2014, Panthera partnered with WildTeam to work with the Bangladesh Forest Department to protect tigers in western Bangladesh, where the country borders India. Activities are focused on training and equipping forest guards, introducing the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) and monitoring tigers and their prey.
In India, Panthera is implementing programs in five different areas: Central India Landscape, Dibang Valley, Manas National Park, Western Ghats, and Western Terai Arc. At each site, Panthera works with local and global NGOs, including Wildlife Conservation Trust (with whom we've established the Panthera-WCT Wild Cat Program), Aaranyak, and Nature Conservation Foundation, as well as local communities and governmental organizations, like the Wildlife Institute of India, to establish baseline density estimates of tiger and prey populations, monitor changes in these populations, and assess direct and indirect threats to tigers. Depending on the need of the given region, Panthera and its partners support, equip, and train local field teams in law enforcement practices and establish, support, or expand protected areas and corridors.
Panthera’s Tigers Forever program operates in five sites on the Indonesian island of Sumatra: Berbak-Sembilang National Park, Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, Kerinci Seblat National Park, Leuser National Park, and Tambling. Across the country, Panthera is working with various local and global partners and authorities to address the primary threats facing tigers in Indonesia, including poaching for the illegal wildlife trade, habitat loss due to infrastructure and other developments, and human-tiger conflict. In Kerinci Seblat National Park and the Leuser National Park, Panthera partners with Fauna & Flora International – Indonesia Program and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), respectively, along with local authorities, to monitor tiger and prey populations and bolster local law enforcement efforts by providing technical expertise, equipment, and training. Panthera also works with WCS in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park.
Similar efforts are underway in Tambling and the Berbak-Sembilang landscape in partnership with Tambling Wildlife Nature Conservation and the Zoological Society of London’s Indonesia Program, respectively.
In Tambling, preliminary data released in 2013 indicated this site had the highest density of tigers ever recorded for the island of Sumatra, thanks to the strict focus on law enforcement and a zero tolerance policy towards poaching of tigers and their prey.
Panthera’s work in Malaysia is concentrated in Kenyir-Taman Negara. In the Kenyir-Taman Negara site, Panthera formed a 10-year partnership with Woodland Park Zoo and is working with the Malaysian Government’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) and the conservation research group Rimba to estimate the number of tigers in the area, while assessing the feasibility of long-term tiger conservation in the region. We continue to support law enforcement patrols and intelligence gathering. In the past, Panthera also partnered with WCS to protect tigers in Endau Rompin-Johor.
Until recently, the Parsa Wildlife Reserve in Nepal has received limited attention from the international conservation community. Poaching and human-wildlife conflict are the major threats to tigers in this region. In 2014, Panthera developed a partnership with Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) Nepal Program to implement the Tigers Forever strategy in the reserve by providing the technical and analytical expertise, camera traps, and training necessary to implement SMART, monitor tiger and prey populations, and establish effective law enforcement. In collaboration with ZSL, Panthera plans to expand to Bardia and Banke National Parks and Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve within the coming year.
In Thailand, Panthera’s work focuses on a protected area complex that includes Salakpra, a wildlife sanctuary, the Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, which retains the largest breeding population of tigers in Southeast Asia, and Sri Nakarin National Park. Panthera is working to protect the corridor connecting these sanctuaries, and ensure that Salakpra remains a viable tiger habitat that will allow tigers to disperse south into other protected areas. Since 2013, Panthera has partnered with ZSL’s Thailand Program in Salakpra and Sri Nakarin National Park to monitor tigers and their prey, strengthen law enforcement efforts, and expand monitoring activities to adjacent areas. Panthera's work in Thailand also includes biological monitoring and law enforcement training in Thap Lan National Park with our partner, Freeland.