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Providing a Brighter Future for Tigers

Tiger Appeal Update

Last summer, thanks to generous donations from our loyal supporters, David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) raised almost £23,000 in our appeal ‘The Dark Side of the Illegal Tiger Trade’ which focused on highlighting the staggering number of tiger lives lost each year to meet the demand for this barbaric trade. 

The funds raised six months ago have already been making a significant difference in disrupting the illegal tiger trade and protecting wild tigers across Asia. 

With the vital long-term support of DSWF, our partners have continued their investigations into wildlife trafficking routes in Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, China, Laos, and Vietnam. Since the appeal was launched, they have produced 33 intelligence reports detailing the trade; profiled 28 individuals involved in it, mapped one criminal network, and identified five more tiger facilities of concern. All of this will enable law enforcement in these countries to more effectively disrupt the trade in tigers and other wildlife. 

Making a real difference 

Our partners reports were used by the Financial Action Task Force, an inter-governmental organisation which tackles money laundering and terrorism financing, to highlight the role of criminal enterprises in tiger and other wildlife farming, as well as trade with Laos – along with the weaknesses in the country’s overall wildlife legislations. Our hope is that these reports will lead to improved laws in Laos on tiger farming and trade, and the tightening of wildlife legislation. Failure of the country’s authorities to conduct investigations following receipt of these reports, puts Laos at risk of global financial sanctions and trade suspensions.  

Long term advocacy work to end tiger consumption and phase out tiger farms is now being reflected in the Global Tiger Recovery Programme, a global initiative that brought together many wildlife organisations to develop a roadmap for phasing out tiger farms, which was presented at the most recent meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITIES). in Geneva, in November. 

Image Credit: Bezhad Larry

Tiger conservation gone to the dogs… and to school! 

In India our two newest K9 dog units, Nova and Harley, who are both fully supported by DSWF, have now completed their training and become fully certified K9 Units, and have been assigned to a Senior Dog Handler. Nova and Harley have now joined the other two DSWF supported K9 Units in the field, and all are now busy assisting in the tracking and arrest of poachers, whilst their presence alone also acts as a key deterrent to potential poachers.  

In addition, our field partners’ ‘Rhino and Tiger Goes to School’ programme has continued to generate awareness about tigers among school students and create passion for conservation. 3,680 children participated in the programme, and all are from villages bordering rhino and tiger habitat. Learning about rhino and tiger habitat, behaviour, population distribution, and conservation challenges, the programme aims to foster a passion for wildlife at a young age, creating a new generation of wildlife protectors.  

Image Credit: Aaranyak

An undercover investigation now revealed… And on TV! 

On January 3, a new documentary aired on Sky, named ‘The Great Rhino Robbery’ – a three-part miniseries that follows a decade-long investigation into a crime syndicate monopolising the illegal wildlife trade. DSWF funding and support was critical and crucial to making the investigation a success, which eventually led to the arrest and conviction of the syndicate’s kingpin.  

Although the investigation initially focused on suspicious imports of rhino horn from supposedly ‘legitimate’ safaris in South Africa, it later exposed connections to tiger breeding farms in Laos. Thanks to your generosity, funding this investigation led to the wildlife breeding license of the crime syndicate kingpin – known as the ‘Pablo Escabar’ of wildlife trafficking, being revoked and essentially shutting down the business and leaving the network in chaos.  

How your support benefits all kinds of wildlife 

In Thailand, park protection and law enforcement monitoring work has been an area of focus over the last six-months, as well as enhanced ranger training to ensure protection of over 30 Indochinese tigers and other wildlife. This includes pangolins at risk of poaching inside eastern Thailand’s Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai forest complex. The rangers have patrolled a total of 34,723 kilometres in the last six months, resulting in the arrest of 68 poachers and confiscation of 21 weapons.  

Image Credit: Bezhad Larry

We’ve already achieved so much with support from generous individuals – but as we’ve highlighted in this blog, long-term conservation efforts are essential in ending the illegal trade for good. If you would like to provide ongoing support, you can set up a regular donation to tigers on our website which will enable us to continue to give them a brighter future. Find out more here.

And in the video below, you can hear directly from our partner on the ground, Freeland, just how your donation can make a difference.

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Andrew White
David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

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