Will Tigers be reintroduced to Kazakhstan?

| July 12, 2014 | Reply

The Caspian Tiger once roamed parts of Kazakhstan. Now extinct it cannot be restored. But genetic analysis confirmed that the Amur Tiger subspecies is almost identical.

A new plan aims to reintroduce Tigers to a large area of about 10,000 square kilometers of suitable Tiger habitat including the the Ili River Delta, a large wetland area.

Restoring large carnivores is difficult both from an ecological point of view but even more so from a human point of view. Tigers can prey on large livestock like cows and even kill humans. This makes restoring Tigers a lot harder than restoring a deer or a bird species.

There are still many problems ahead including:

  • Not enough prey. Prey numbers incl. deer and boar need to be restored / increased and poaching must be controlled.
  • The habitat is not yet fully protected and irrigation, hydro power, etc are threatening the wetlands
  • It is not yet clear where to obtain tigers. Maybe wild Amur Tigers can be caught and released. Or captive breeding. Maybe a mix of both.

Lot’s of work needs to be done, particularly involving the local people. Once the first tigers are released, anti-poaching patrols need to make sure that not only the prey species are no longer killed but also must protect each individual tiger. Even if it is possible to take some animals from the Russian Far East, there won’t be too many as the Amur Tiger there is itself still very much in danger.

Despite the challenges this could be huge step in Tiger conservation.
If successful the lessons learned could be invaluable for other future Tiger restoration projects and some lessons may even be applied (in a modified form) to other large carnivores like Lions or Leopards.

More information:
A Plan to Return Tigers to a Long-lost Home

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Category: cats

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