A Natural Experiment in Tiger Conservation

India continues with “fortress conservation”, with an emphasis on more policing of parks and more bureaucracy. From The Hindu,

NEW DELHI: The Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act, 2006 has come into effect from September 4 after Presidential assent. The Act provides for creating the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Tiger and Other Endangered Species Crime Control Bureau (Wildlife Crime Control Bureau).

The Union Environment and Forests Ministry is already in the process of creating the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau. The Bureau would collate intelligence relating to wildlife crime, ensure cooperation with the States through its set-up, apart from developing infrastructure and capacity building for scientific and professional investigation into wildlife crimes, and assist the States in the successful prosecution of such crimes.

Penalty for an offence relating to the core area of a tiger reserve has been increased. The first conviction shall be punishable with imprisonment for not less than three years but may extend to seven years, and also with fine not less than Rs. 50,000 but may extend up to Rs 2 lakh. The second of subsequent conviction would lead to imprisonment for not less than seven years, and also with fine not less than Rs 5 lakh to Rs 50 lakhs.

PERC Reports has an article about the radically different approaches to saving the tiger in India and China (here is a relevant previous post).

China has 4000 captive tigers and about twenty tiger breeding facilities. Thanks in large parts to Quan Li, Chinese tigers are being experimentally reintroduced to hunting and living in the wild in a large fenced-in area in South Africa.

This is a great natural experiment in conservation strategies; fortress conservation versus captive breeding and reintroduction. However, without an increase in the supply of tigers to the market for traditional Chinese medicine, the high price for tiger parts will continue to provide a strong incentive for illegal hunting.

The next step ought to be the development of a legal market for tiger products in China.

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