Saving the Indian Tiger
We are eagerly awaiting our new season Tiger Mountain shipment, scheduled to arrive later this month. This year we are supporting an exciting new conservation project, and with the shipment nearly here we are finally able to share with you all a little about the new initiative.
One hundred years ago 100,000 wild tigers roamed throughout Asia, now there are less than 3,200. In the last 100 years Asia’s wild tiger range has shrunk to only 7% of its indigenous range.
Habitat loss and illegal wildlife trade are the major threats to tigers. Deforestation and population pressures have reduced the tigers range to isolated protected areas with little safe connectivity between them. Demand for tiger parts from Traditional Chinese Medicine and for skins from the growing rich populations of South East Asia, is pushing this animal to extinction.
We have been a proud supporter of Indian tiger conservation since 2006. From every bag of Tiger Mountain coffee sold, we donate US$1 to 21st Century Tiger, a unique fundraising initiative between the Zoological Society of London and Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation in Queensland.
Since inception, 21st Century Tiger has supported a range of projects in India especially in the Western Ghats which holds one of the highest tiger and prey densities anywhere in the world and contains possibly 400 tigers. A variety of projects have focused on education, environmental impact and protection around the Nagarahole National Park.
During 2014, we will be supporting an innovative project using state-of-the-art technology which will revolutionize our understanding of the behavior and movement of tigers in the wild. (Previously new technology to monitor tigers has been prohibitively expensive and inflexible).
This new and recently developed Mataki technology is an open-source, reprogrammable tracking technology with remote-download to record, in high-resolution, the daily activity patterns of tigers in the wild. Working alongside the existing government-approved project, where tigers are being captured for GPS tracking in Kanha National Park, Mataki tags will provide the monitoring team with much more detailed information than the standard GPS collars.
Ultimately this should provide insights into how tigers respond to different habitat conditions and how prey availability might be linked with behaviour. The team will investigate how habitat change and human disturbance influence tiger activity patterns, which will help conservation scientists understand the implications for tiger survival in the wild.
The study is the first of its kind to track wild tigers in such detail, recording complete daily activity patterns, range of behaviours and hunting techniques. The project can subsequently be scaled up to explore patterns of movement and behaviour in other tiger populations, for example in Nepal and other sites in India.
Stay tuned to the blog as we will be posting regular updates from the project team in Kanha, as we watch this exciting new initiative develop!
View the Tiger Mountain profile on our website, or contact us via email, Twitter or Facebook to purchase and contribute to this great cause. For more information on the important work being done to save wild tigers, visit the 21st Century Tiger website.
Images courtesy of 21st Century Tiger.