In many places the word “tiger” refers to any wild cat. Our work takes place where apex and subordinate predators fufill their vital ecological roles. Innovative projects such as LeopardEye and Ecosystem Reboot are part of WildTiger operations within the three elements of coexistence strategy, rehabilitation and combating wildlife crime.
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— WildTiger (@WildTigerNews) March 4, 2019
STATEMENT 30 January 2019
This short statement is in reference to concerns by WildTiger with regards to conservation of panthera pardus, the leopard.
WildTiger will be expressing these concerns in further detail at the Species Survival Network (SSN) meeting to be held in Delhi, India, in February 2019. This will be followed by a report to be released at the time of CITES CoP to be held in Sri Lanka in late May 2019.
Through our own ground level efforts as well as constant analysis of leopard conservation throughout the global range of panthera pardus, WildTiger observes and expresses serious concern regarding protection of this species. It is our contention that panthera pardus is not receiving support at the level needed to sustain populations and the leopard has become a conservation blind spot compared to what are often referred to as icon species.
Below are just a few of the issues justifying our concerns:
- A recent meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal, attended by representatives of the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and WildTiger disclosed information showing alarming scarcity of leopards through the mid hills region. The recent tiger census had shown low numbers of leopards in lowland areas. Retaliation kills and ongoing poaching incidents through the axis of Nepal and the neighbouring Indian States of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh are well documented.
- Data disclosed by the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) shows seizure of leopard body parts in India continue at a high rate indicating the poaching of leopards continues unabated throughout India. A number of seizures and arrests have shown criminal trans boundary cooperation throughout South Asia particularly between nationals of India and Nepal.
- Information obtained by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) through 2018 found that leopard bone products are still being promoted in China. To quote (below) from the EIA report which can be read HERE:Since 2000, the parts of more than 4,900 leopards have been seized, destined for the market in China and likely representing a mere fraction of the leopard parts being trafficked.Image courtesy EIA
- The trophy hunting of leopards continues in 13 African countries despite the fact panthera pardus is a CITES appendix 1 listed species. The annual quota across nations where trophy hunting of leopards is permitted is in the many hundreds. Many thousands of leopards have been killed this way during this century with more than 1000 leopard ‘trophies’ imported into the US alone between 2014 and 2016. WildTiger contends the trophy hunting of leopards stimulates poaching by giving value thus creating a commodity.
Detailed statistics regarding these issues and many others confronting the leopard throughout its global range will be published in the May report.