Russia receives highest tiger protection accolade
“CATS accreditation is a very important step for the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve, to improve its management and also to share methods and approaches with other tiger protected areas,” said Gorshkov Dmitry, Director of the Sikhore-Alin Nature Reserve.
The award was made today, when Sikhote-Alin, a World Heritage Site and unique combination of ecosystems in the Primorski Region of Russia’s Far East, celebrates 80 years as a Nature Reserve. The presentation was made by Dr Rajesh Gopal, Secretary General of the Global Tiger Forum (GTF) on behalf of CA|TS.
“I congratulate the Russian Federation for achieving the first CA|TS approved site in Russia and the second such site in the world,” said Dr Gopal. “This approval and the significant increase in the Amur tiger population are very encouraging and motivating developments for tiger countries. They show that the sustained efforts of the Russian Federation and partners, like WWF, have achieved targets set under the 2010 St. Petersburg declaration.”
CA|TS is the universal tool for monitoring, demonstrating and guaranteeing effectiveness of the management of a tiger site. Developed by the Global Tiger Forum (GTF), WWF, IUCN and WCPA, CA|TS consists of 17 standards by which all tiger sites can be managed and measured. Sites taking part will initially be ‘registered’ (standards not yet attained) then, when all required standards are met, ‘approved’ (standards achieved). Sites are evaluated through an assessment and independent review process.
CA|TS Approved Sites will gain entry to the IUCN Green List of Protected Areas. CA|TS will also assist countries to meet their commitments made under various environmental and wildlife conventions and treaties, for example CBD-Aichi Target achievements, CITES, climate change etc.
“CA|TS is essential in the Tx2 goal to double wild tigers by 2022,” said Mike Baltzer, Leader of WWF Tigers Alive Initiative. “Russia has shown itself again to be a tiger heavyweight and we urge Southeast Asian tiger countries to follow their lead and prioritise this iconic species.”
In May interim results from Russia’s latest tiger census found an increased to as many as 540 individuals. The full report is expected later this year. Russia is now planning to roll CA|TS out at three further sites in the next six months. The first global CA|TS accredited site was Chitwan National Park in Nepal which was accredited in February this year. Other countries to register and roll out CA|TS include India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Discussions are underway in Bhutan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
Tigers are endangered. The last estimate in 2010 found as few as 3200 wild tigers left in the wild. WWF is calling on all tiger government to count their tigers so a new global tiger figure can be released in 2016, the halfway point in the Tx2 goal.