More efforts needed to save tigers from extinction

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  • Myanmar is one of the 13 countries where tigers can be found, which is a matter of pride for the nation. About 7 per cent of Myanmar’s total area, or over 12 million acres, serves as a habitat for at least 22 tigers.
    The latest count was conducted with camera traps, set up in the habitats of tigers and their prey, in northern and southern Myanmar, as part of efforts to conserve the iconic species, which is now at a critical crossroads, facing numerous threats to its survival.
    Myanmar still has quality forests, which serve as habitats for tigers. This has kept hopes alive for the tiger population increasing in the country.
    The duty of conserving wildlife and expanding their habitat has fallen on the shoulders of the present and future generations.
    Each tiger brings pride and dignity to Myanmar. There are two tiger species in the country: Indian (or Bengal) tigers, and Indo-China tigers. The Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary serves as a natural habitat for Indian (or Bengal) tigers.
    Tigers were once widespread in Myanmar, to the point that they were considered a serious risk to rural travellers in the 1800s, even in areas close to what was then Rangoon.
    Now, tigers can be spotted in the northern and upper Chindwin area and the Taninthayi mountain range in southern Myanmar.
    Myanmar, which has a rich variety of habitats and ecosystems, including 14 terrestrial eco-regions supporting 233 globally threatened species, has seen more cases involving the trade of elephant parts than other wildlife.
    Within the 20-year period from 1994 to 2014, the country has lost millions of tons of hardwood due to illegal logging, as well as rare wildlife, such as elephants, bears, tigers, leopards, peacocks, and snakes, on account of poaching.
    Efforts towards both conservation as well as prevention of poaching, ignited by demand from neighbouring countries, should focus on increasing our tiger population.
    To save the tigers, we need to adopt a zero tolerance approach towards poaching and wildlife trade — a multi-million dollar industry fuelled by the demand for meat, skin, medicines, and other tiger products..
    The number of valuable species in the country is witnessing a rapid decline. If this downward trend continues unchecked, some of our iconic national treasures — elephants, tigers, bears, pangolins, and birds — will become extinct.
    Realistically, we can save tigers only through joint efforts between the government, international and local NGOs, local groups and community members.
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