Conservationists Plan Genetic Corridor To Help Save Tigers

A 5,000 mile stretch of land in Asia would represent the world's largest area of tiger habitat.

Posted: February 16 2008 2 a.m. EDT

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Conservationists Plan Genetic Corridor To Help Save Tigers
A "genetic corridor" would allow tigers to travel across landscapes with less risk of inbreeding.
The Wildlife Conservation Society and the Panthera Foundation recently announced plans to establish a 5,000 mile corridor stretching from Bhutan to Myanmar so tigers can travel across landscapes with less risk of inbreeding, a critical factor in halting their declining numbers and crucial for their long-term survival.

Dubbed the “genetic corridor,” the area would span several countries including India, Thailand and Malaysia, and would have potential connections with Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The corridor would represent the largest area of tiger habitat remaining on earth.

“Much like the call-out for global agreements on banning tiger parts in trade, a similar cross-border initiative for genetic corridors is key to the survival of the tiger,” said Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, director of Science and Exploration Programs at the Wildlife Conservation Society. “Tiger range states need to work together, as tigers do not observe political borders, nor do they require a visa or passport to travel where habitat and prey remain.”

The corridors may include agricultural areas, ranches and other multi-use landscapes that tigers can use to travel between wilderness areas.

“We’re not asking countries to set aside new parks to make this corridor a success,” he said. “This is more about changing regional zoning in tiger range states to allow tigers to move more freely between areas of good habitat.”

Plans for the corridor were first announced at the United Nations on Jan. 30. The plan has been endorsed by the king of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, who has called for other heads of state to support the effort.

Several species of tigers are endangered, some of them critically. The biggest threats to tiger populations include habitat loss and poaching, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

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Reader Comments

J    Charlotte, NC

2/17/2008 10:03:33 PM

Sounds like an exciting project! Hope you will print more articles about it.

Lillian    Eugene, OR

2/17/2008 6:28:13 PM

I think this is good as long as it helps the Tigers and brings back population. Too many have been illegally killed off over the years.

Ron    Eugene, OR

2/17/2008 10:30:48 AM

What a good deal to help the tigers reproduce in a safe environment and to raise their young.

Sheryl    Casa Grande, AZ

2/17/2008 10:05:32 AM

I hope something works before these wonderful creatures are no more.

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