The Jakarta Post
According to Discovery Communications, the number of tigers roaming in the wild has decreased from 100,000 to 4,000 in the past century. (Shutterstock.com/File)
American global mass media and entertainment company Discovery Communications (DC), in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), has announced an initiative to protect and increase the wild tiger population in India and Bhutan.
Project CAT (Conserving Acres for Tigers) involves DC providing funds to help the WWF in conserving nearly 1 million acres (404,686 hectares) of land along the border between the two countries to support the survival of the area’s remaining wild tigers.
“Today we take a bold step further, beyond the lens, to protect one of our most iconic and endangered species. Not on our watch will we let these beautiful animals disappear from the world,” DC CEO and president David Zaslav said in a recent press release.
Zaslav said that although DC had always actively documented “the beauty and splendor of our planet”, it also “captured the fragile state of much of the world and its animals” through the camera.
According to the company, there were 100,000 tigers roaming in the wild a century ago, but the number had decreased to only 4,000 tigers at present. It noted habitat loss and pervasive poaching as factors that contributed to the decreasing number.
(Read also: Protecting tiger habitats: Challenges, opportunities)
Aiming to double the number of remaining wild tigers by 2022, Project CAT uses methods like giving the tigers space to live and prey and sufficient protection against poaching. The initiative is expected to enhance rangers’ ability to monitor the animals’ health and other scientific data, increase security efforts against poaching and maintain areas to improve their movement.
“The effort to double tigers — a species at the top of the food chain — will protect other endangered species and stimulate a healthy ecosystem across the nearly 1 million acre site,” the company stated.
(Read also: WWF gives awards to pro-conservation judges)
DC plans to release new broadcasts to support the WWF’s Tx2 tiger-doubling effort that began in 2010, as it aims to raise public awareness and encourage viewers around the world to take steps to conserve tigers, through relevant public service ads and a new documentary about tigers slated for 2018.
The company has previously broadcast other shows about endangered habitats or species, such as the Iceberg Alley, Shark Week and The Crocodile Hunter documentaries, as well as the Racing Extinction movie on the Discovery Channel.
Meanwhile, the WWF has conducted tiger conservation efforts in 13 countries, with the company’s president and CEO Carter Roberts saying it had seen positive results as the tiger population had risen for the first time in a century. (kes)
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