HUA HIN, Thailand - A dozen Asian nations and Russia vowed yesterday to double the number of wild tigers by 2022, crack down on poaching that has devastated the big cats, and prohibit the building of roads and bridges that could harm their habitats.
However, the historic declaration adopted by the 13 countries that have wild tigers includes no new money to finance the conservation efforts. The agreement includes only plans to approach international institutions such as the World Bank for money and to develop schemes to tap money from ecotourism, carbon financing, and infrastructure projects to pay for tiger programs.
“This is a historic meeting. Before this, not many people paid attention to tigers,’’ Suwit Khunkitti, Thailand’s minister of natural resources and environment, said after the three-day meeting in Hua Hin. “Stopping the depletion of tigers is a very important issue for all of us.’’
The declaration will be considered for approval by heads of state of the 13 countries in September at a meeting in Russia.
Tiger numbers in recent decades have plummeted because of human encroachment and poaching. From an estimated 100,000 at the beginning of the 20th century, the number of tigers today is less than 3,500.