Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Significant commitments were made at the Forum by all the tiger range countries with India too declaring its 39th tiger reserve and announcing eight more in development. Many donors committed additional funds towards tiger conservation in the coming years.
While the forum created the much needed government backing that is imperative to reverse the decline of this magnificent species, the International Tiger Forum was also unique for laying its focus on the youth and their role in conserving one of the world’s most iconic symbols of biodiversity conservation.
In parallel to the high level government meeting, WWF organised a Youth Tiger Forum in Vladivostok, in the Russian Far East, home of Siberian tiger, where youth representatives from all tiger range countries gathered together for a week, went on field visits in the land of the Amur tiger and developed youth outreach plans for tiger conservation in their respective countries.
Mr Ravi Singh, CEO, WWF-India said, ‘WWF-India is pleased with the extraordinary opportunity that the forum provided to the Indian Youth Tiger Ambassadors. We are impressed with the plans that the youth have developed at this forum and we will ensure that this broader vision gets conveyed back through a national level campaign that will raise the effectiveness of tiger conservation efforts in India.’’. Involving the youth will spur action and bring in originality in conservation initiatives in the country’’, he added.
At the youth forum, the representatives jointly wrote an Appeal, which they later made to the Prime Ministers and heads of delegation at the Tiger Forum through a video link to St Petersburg. Representatives from India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia and China were among those present at this unique youth forum aimed at creating a productive mechanism to involve the future generation in conservation efforts.
The youth appeal to the high level delegation was both emotive and effective. “We know for many of our countries, development is important. However, we do not want development that results in us losing many of the world’s natural wonders and wild species like the tiger. We want our children to be able to inherit a living planet full of the wonders of the natural world.’’ The youth pledged to join hands together make this year a turning point for the tiger. They committed to continue ‘saving the tigers together’. Most of them will initiate campaigns which will drive changes in policy and management of tiger conservation in their respective countries.
In the next six months, WWF-India’s Youth Tiger Ambassadors, Ansuha Shankar and Devanshu Sood will visit villages in some of the protected areas in the country to raise local awareness towards tiger conservation. The tiger ambassadors will continue to engage with WWF-India and take forward the organization’s campaign on tigers. As a part of their pilot project they will also involve their peers and start a youth movement in the country on saving this biggest cat.
Tiger Ambassador Anusha Shankar, a student of M.Sc Ecology and Environmental Science at Pondicherry University and Devanshu Sood the other Ambassador is a student of Class XII at Shriram School, Gurgaon and has been a core member of his schools’ Junior Tiger Task Force since the last 8 years.
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