60 Minutes segment on Tigers

Nov 20th, 2006, 11:25 AM
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60 Minutes segment on Tigers

Did anyone else catch this last night? It was a great segment (of course focusing on India, not Africa)

How infuriating that they are almost gone in the wild. In one of India's tiger "sanctuaries" close to Delhi, all the tigers are gone.

Some good notes:
- The guards at the Tiger Reserves need to be armed and develop a shoot on sight policy against poachers, like in many African parks.
- Since tigers are solitary, a tiger must be able to hunt to live. 'A sick tiger is a dead tiger.'
- According to the woman interviewed: Captive tigers really can't be reintroduced to the wild. Tiger needs to be trained by its mother to do everything. (somehow I don't want to accept this. There MUST be a way if the tiger is to be saved)

IMHO: Indian government better REALLY REALLY REALLY get its act together in the next five years or all is lost
waynehazle is offline  
Nov 20th, 2006, 12:14 PM
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Wayne -

There was a recent case of breeding and training tigers. It was done in South Africa with sibling tiger cubs, born in captivity in the States or Canada. Transported to private reserve in South Africa, here taught to hunt, then moved to a larger area where they were to be on their own. Eventually, to a larger area where it was hoped they would mate (oh, the heck with them being siblings, the male lions "do it" with their mothers). The objective, as I recall was to be able to reintroduce them into the wild in India.

If anyone recalls this program, please feel free to tell me whether I remember correctly, and anything to add.

Remember them mentioning only 5,000 remaining in the wild, but over 20,000 in captivity worldwide.

I only caught bits of this last evening as I was installing a new flat screen, which I'm really not all that pleased; hate the colors and adjusting ain't doing very much better. But that's another tale. It might just be going back to the store, so had to dig thru the trash this morning for the packing stuff!

Back to tigers, anyone.

Nov 20th, 2006, 12:43 PM
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Yes, I saw it. I share your worries and dim hopes.

If we can't save a funds-generating "pretty" animal like the tiger, what hope is there other endangered species?
atravelynn is offline  
Nov 20th, 2006, 12:57 PM
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Well one of the things they didn't emphaisze in this segment... and I don't think India is doing a good job of is making the local villages see the benefit of having tigers. I don't think tourism $$ is trickling back to the villages.

And yes I have heard flat sceens are overrated

waynehazle is offline  
Nov 20th, 2006, 12:58 PM
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I did see the program as well as an earlier show on the Discovery Channel entitled the "Man Eating Leopards of India." The scene in Tibet of one local tribe all decked out in Tiger pelts and the description of the enormous market for tiger pelts, bones, teeth, and every other tiger part in Asia gave a horrible image one of the "enemies" in this sad struggle.

One common theme seemed to run through both programs - not enough resources have been devoted to understanding the habitat requirements of these cats and the underlying enviromental threats facing both of them.

For example in the leopard program they showed in some instances local wildlife managment officials would hire "professional" hunters to kill offending leopards, but with little effort to solving the underlying problem or even ensuring they had targeted the correct leopard. At other times the local authorities would trap and move the offending cats to one of the National Parks. They, however, did not radio collar the cats and had no idea if the resident leopards killed the newly implanted leopards, if sufficient game existed to support the new cats or if these cats had moved out of the parks and into the local farms and villages.
GreenDrake is offline  
Nov 20th, 2006, 01:13 PM
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I saw it too. It's very upsetting at the rate the tigers are disappearing.

Unfortunately, the government can only do so much as the black market demands will continue to decimate the tiger population.

And I don't understand how the Asian governments, such as China, can't do more on their part to stop or curb the importing of tiger parts of which have no medicinal value whatsoever.

Radical times calls for radical measures!

the show you were speaking about was with Dave Salmoni and John Varty and was called "Living with Tigers."

I believe the tigers are still in S.Africa on a private game reserve with the hopes of keeping them there and letting them breed and live in the S. Africa environment. Haven't seen any updates on them in the last couple of years.
divewop is offline  
Nov 20th, 2006, 01:28 PM
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divewop -

Thanks for remembering. Recall the name "Varty" often heard in regards South Africa. Would love to have an update on how this project is coming along. It's been some time and the cats are certainly of breeding age.

Must be strange keeping them in South Africa. Of course they know nothing different and they are solitary, but they really should be in closer proximity to relatives.
Nov 20th, 2006, 04:21 PM
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I saw parts of 'Living with tigers'. I have lots of sympathy for the zebras and wildebeest which suddenly see these short zebras coming at them with teeth and claws

afrigalah is offline  
Nov 20th, 2006, 07:31 PM
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Divewop put the "nail on the head"....the indian Govt over the past two years has done more than it has done in prior years.....the demands of tiger parts from China is so HUGE that the poachers are trying to sneek it thru Nepal.....

The Sariska park is worst hit by all the poaching. Ranthambore is badly hit also. I was there in 2001 and had one of my only two EVER tiger sightings. With Ranthambore going downhill, the GOVT has to take the blame more than ever.....

However, Tigers are doing very well in other parts....Kanha, Bandhavgarh (Kavey visited there recently and has an excellent trip report), in the Southern Indian ranges Bandipur/Mudumallai/Nagarhole/Kabini they are doing well. Project Tiger is the name of the conservation effort of the Indian Govt and i hope they put in a LOT more effort towards conservation.

The HUGE population growth of the country (second largest on the planet) is not helping our cause, either.....

Still, hopefully you guys will give India a shot to try to find the elusive tigers. Someone mentioned leopard in one of the earlier posts. Leopard in India, is a VERY VERY difficult find....although, there are tons of them around....

We have Indian Wild dogs (dholes) and being a wild dog-obsessed message boards, my request is for you to come down here and take a look at this beautiful orangish brown dogs.....google dholes to find a picture....

Nov 20th, 2006, 10:16 PM
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About that documentary,"Living with tigers"....where in SA is the location? Somewhere near Phinda? Tigers need lots of cover....i would think they would be successful in Africa. They would also, easily take out lots of other predators fairly easily.....so, that wouldnt be a good thing for the dwindling cheetah and wild dog population.

Nov 21st, 2006, 03:58 AM
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I wonder how the tigers will fair with the lions.

I know this is a difficult question but do you feel that overall, the general population is for preserving tigers. Are there other issues getting in the way? I think these types of agendas are so difficult to push in any country.
These issues usually involve so much red tape in the US that by the time anyone gets involved it can be after the fact. Usually grass roots private efforts seem to move this stuff forward at a better rate than our govs.

It's just too bad that some of the Asian remedies don't have to list ingredients.
cybor is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 04:45 AM
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Yes, majority of the people are for saving the tiger.

However, people living in remote areas on the fringe of the parks are poor and so the thought of conservation is obviously not there. The Govt is trying it's best in some areas to try and provide alternative opportunities for those people. However, there are still FAR too many mouths to feed and help....

However, in recent times corporates are trying hard to push the message of conservation and the need to preserve the tiger. Regular commercials are also seen on tv with the message of conservation.

At the end of the day, the Indian Govt still doesnt do as much as it should in terms of conservation....

Some parks, i named Ranthambore in particular that is a TOTAL shame!!! Fantastic park, totally run down by inept Parks Depts....that was where President Clinton visited to see tigers in one of his early visits (when in office).

Nov 21st, 2006, 05:33 AM
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Hari- the leopard program I viewed on the Discovery channel was focusing in on human/leapard conficts. I believe the area was in central India and the incidents were in areas where:

1) Farms/villages had expanded into leopard habitats.

2) This expansion had created habitats did not contain sufficient game populations for the leopards.

3) The attacks on man(generally on children) were centered in areas where sugar cane was grown as a cash crop. These fields provided excellent cover for the leopards.One tactic they were pursuing was to persuade villagers not to grow the sugar can up to their door steps. This of course did not address the main underlying problem of the denigration of habitat.

This leopard/human conflict seemed to be much greater in this area of India than anything I had heard of occuring in Africa. They also highlighted a national park (I can't recall the name) that was adjacent to a univerisity. The game populations apparently were insufficient for the leopards in the park and the cats would enter the unversity area. The program showed signs all over the campus that had a drawing of a leapard with a warning to to be aware at dusk and night for leapoards!! (Ironically similar signs exist in some of the mountain biking trails outside of Los Angeles -warning of mountain lions at dusk)
GreenDrake is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 06:12 AM
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This is what I've found out where the S. Africa tigers, Ron and Julie, are.
John Varty being one of the owners of Londolozi, is no stranger to game reserves.

He and Salmoni reclaimed 90,000 over-farmed acres on the banks of the Gariep River in S.A. and reestablished a forest. They enclosed the land with a big barrier fence and restocked it with wild game. No other predators are in the sanctuary.

The guys were hoping to evenutally re-introduce the second or third generations of Ron and Julie back into Asia.

The only other info I could find was dated Oct. of '03.

Here is the link to the series:

divewop is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 06:37 AM
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"And I don't understand how the Asian governments, such as China, can't do more on their part to stop or curb the importing of tiger parts of which have no medicinal value whatsoever. "

Because the Chinese really don't care.

Here's an another interesting statistic, there are more Tigers kept as household pets in the US than live wild in Siberia.
napamatt is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 06:55 AM
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Matt, How many tigers are in Siberia?

Try telling some impotant guy that encapsulated tiger testies won't make his lovelife better. Perhaps we can start a free viagra hand out clinic, instead - or better still tell him that you can contract some kind of vile testicular disease that slowly and painfully turns the testies colbalt blue prior to them falling off. Got to love rumours!
cybor is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 07:13 AM
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Here are some stats:

According to statistics released in 2004 there are 1576 tigers left on 27 wildlife reserves in 11 states in India.

There are only 500 Siberian tigers left in the wild and less than 400 Sumatran Tigers as of 2006.

There are more than 15,000 tigers in cages and 90% of them are in miserable roadside zoos, backyard breeder facilities, circus wagons and pet homes.

More stats at:


It doesn't refect too well on all the "braniacs" here in the U.S who own wild animals as pets because they're cute, does it?

And the sad part is when people realize their animal is more than they can handle, then it's usually too late for the animal. Very few ever make it to sanctuaries.

So the animal ends up being sold to a black market dealer and killed, or is sold to a road-side pet show and killed because it escaped or mauls someone, or is sold and then killed in a 'canned' hunt by those ever-so-adventurous "sport hunters."

Looks like these tigers, amongst other endangered species, have found themselves in a poor state of affairs.

As Wild-Aid eloquently puts it, "When the buying stops, the killing will too."

divewop is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 11:13 AM
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Poaching is such an emotional issue and so easy to latch onto but I think it masks the much bigger issue of habitat destruction. The 'buying' does need to stop and the demand fueling the poaching puts the remaining 2,000+ tigers at great immediate risk. As Matt says the Gov't of China and other countries do not care -- it's not even underground as tiger parts (and other Endangered illegal species) are advertised right in storefront windows. Cultural change and education is needed starting with strictly enforced laws and as suggested free viagra really would be help. Along those lines a 'tiger flu' would probably be the best thing that could ever happen with regards to poaching except they would probably suggest an extra pinch of rhino horn or bear bladder to counteract it and keep consuming the tigers. Fall of the U.S.S.R. destroyed the Siberian tigers. The military use to protect their parks and they were virtually free of poaching but with the fall poaching became rampant.

Unfortunately the biggest problem is millions of people trying to live, demanding more and more of the land leaving less for the wildlife. The wide ranging predators that need the biggest area are going to be the first to go and the fact that they can harm humans and our assets leads to persecution that quickens the pace. If not shot out the poor tiger will be crowded out and its happening to all the species around the globe its just some situations are more advanced.

Even if reintroductions from captivity could work (success is likely to be very poor) there isn't going to be anywhere sustainable to return them to.

It has to become economically feasible to conserve wild lands. I just saw a study that having wolves in Yellowstone leads to $35 million in direct revenues and that is only counting 5% of visitors to the Yellowstone area. The problem is national parks and reserves are a public good that tend to cost governments more money to operate than they receive so virtually all governments are underconsumers of providing land for wildlife, India is no different here than anyone else. Park fees are way too low for the tremendous value, indeed the key to our longterm survival, that conserved lands provide. We need to generate money for the local communities if we want the land preserved but not enough people value these resources properly. Just look on this board when the topic of park fees comes up -- this community is a wealthy demographic but people whine like babies when Tanzania wants to raise daily park fees from $30/day to $100/day (if I recall the #s correctly). Just remember Singita or any other lodge that people are willing to shell out for can be near duplicated many times over but there will only be one Serengeti or Yellowstone or Ranthambore.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 11:42 AM
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You bring up a good point. This past summer when I was visiting the Tetons/Yellowstone, I was surprised at how cheap it was for a 7-day pass to the parks.

Only $25 per vehicle, $40 for a ONE year pass for entry to both parks. And only $50 a year for a national parks pass. That is extemely cheap for the opportunity to spend time in such majestic places. I think those rates can come up a bit to be able to sustain the parks.

On the other hand, it seems there isn't a government out there that wants to discuss the real problem, IMHO. Overpopulation! But what does one do?

So there seems to be no end in sight for the issue of what's to be done to save endangered species and wildlife in general. Especially predators and migratory animals who need a lot of territory.

With 1.6 acres of wildlands destroyed every second and with 2.8 people being born every second, the statistics speak for themselves. Wildlife is losing the war at a horrifying level.
divewop is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 11:54 AM
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Predator - you bring up a very interesting point in terms of maximizing park fee revenues to ensure the survival of the species that inhabit these parks.

In most other business endeavors you can estimate the price elasticity of demand and price accordingly to maximize revenues and/or change the price elasticity through marketing etc. to maximize revenue. National Park fees are a bit more tricky. For example, perhaps in situations where travel costs are not prohibitive (say a Yosemite), you could probably maximize revenue by having extremely low fees.

Obviously this would defeat the purpose as you don't want to create a situation where parks are "overun" even if this would maximize revenues.

My gut feeling is with you, however, that fees (with the caveat that corruption does not divert these $$$) could be raised substantially in Africa and the demand would not fall off tremendously.

Last night for example, I was watching a Travel Channel progam on the Himalayas. The program featured Bhutan which has one of the most aggressive conservation policies of any country in the world. Park Fees for tent camping there are $200/night.
GreenDrake is offline  

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