An estimated 3,200 wild tigers are all that remain today, living among 76 landscapes in Asia. While public awareness has grown and tiger range country governments have made major commitments, instituted policy reforms, and begun to implement the Global Tiger Recovery Program (GTRP), other formidable forces remain at the center of the battle for survival. First and foremost among these threats are poaching and an increasingly sophisticated illegal wildlife trade that targets tigers and other species, including rhinos and elephants.
Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development opened an event marking the first anniversary of the global tiger summit, noting that "crime against wildlife including trade is often opportunistic because wildlife is undervalued, never insured, rarely guarded, and easy to cash and carry." She stressed that as the illegal wildlife trade becomes more organized and sophisticated, the World Bank, with its partners, aims to step up efforts to protect the tigers.
These efforts will be an integral part of a comprehensive approach to biodiversity that is underpinned by World Bank’s work on Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES), and include landscape approaches, Kyte said.
She stressed that the global community needs to "shift the balance of what is valued and why, work on economic incentives, and centralize and effectively enforce actions against illegal trade."