Saving threatened habitats worldwide

London Zoo wants £3.6 million to 'save' tigers

2 March, 2011 - 12:09 -- John Burton

London zoo wants to raise £3.6 million ($5.85 million) to help save the Sumatran tiger. Of that, only £300,000 will actually get to Sumatra, the rest will be spent in London on a new 'conservation centre'.

I am not personally against zoos, but this is just going too far. If anyone really wants to save tigers from extinction, then building fancy new centres in a zoo is not the best way of going about it.

Tigers are easy to breed in captivity -- in fact so easy that they are regularly culled.  In fact at one time it was argued that there were probably more tigers in captivity than there were in the wild. I don't know how true that was, but what is certainly true is that captive tigers are not the conservation problem: wild tigers are the problem.

On the last day of February, Vivek Menon,  Director of our Indian partner (Wildlife Trust of India), gave a presentation about the work WLT are helping to fund to create elephant corridors in India. Vivek pointed out that the villagers were really enthusiastic about being moved from corridors -- not because of elephant conflicts, but because of wild tigers.

The Corbett National Park, on one side of a proposed wildlife corridor is one of the few places where tiger numbers are stable or increasing. These tigers have started to roam -- and five people have been killed in the area where the corridor is being proposed. The man-eater was shot, but a few days ago another tiger had moved into the area, and you can see how 'afraid' of humans it is by watching this video of the tiger actually in the corridor.

Creating this wildlife corridor will not cost millions of pounds. But it will cost a few hundred thousand. It will not only help tigers, but it will also help poor farmers get out of danger.

Help WLT fund wildlife corridors in India


Submitted by Dominic Belfield on

All of which is why lots of us support the WLT over other wildlife charities….ESPECIALLY when we see pieces in New Scientist magazine like the one in the previous issue where Lily Cole was interviewed.

Were others impressed like I was by how this young woman managed – not just to NOT sound like a gushing luvvie on a jolly to an exotic locale f’charity – but to articulate a well presented, coherent understanding of the whole issue of wildlife corridors in India (where she had visited with WLT)? There was not one reported word which didn’t make good sense or offer an interesting take on the subject.

Maybe it was New Scientist’s editorial expertise which helped, but I couldn’t help thinking as a WLT watcher and supporter, that it was also because here was a “celeb” who was both well informed and genuinely cared.

Naomi Campbell – listen and learn!

Submitted by John Burton on

You are quite right; Lily a ‘celeb’ who takes a very serious interest in anything she is involved with. She had helped us raise nearly £100,000 last year, and it was a pleasure to show her some of the things that the funding was helping to achieve. And the visit was certainly no Joy Ride. Lily Cole,and all the others (including Jewelry designer Dominic Jones, ‘North Circular’ owner Katherine Poulton, and WLT Chairman, Rohini Finch), had to endure a lot of discomort, long days and travelling in order to get to the projects. But it was also inspirational to the field staff to be able to explain the projects and their successes. Since returning there have been many developments, which are being reported elsewhere on this website.

Submitted by Rachael on

Why not build the conservation centre near their natural habitat and then use rather soft or hard realise and regulate their numbers to see if helps.
Raising them in zoo is not going to help the numbers in the while, which is were it really matters.

Submitted by John Burton on

Rachael’s suggestion certainly makes more sense, if the project is really for conservation. But I suspect, it is actually more about increasing visitor numbers to London Zoo. Nothing wrong with that, provided it does not divert funds from REAL conservation activities

Submitted by Bruno on

Zoos might enthuse kids about animals but their conservation claims often stretch credulity.

Anyone genuinely concerned about wild creatures and their habitats, and how people in those areas fit in, should be a supporter of the World Land Trust… don’t forget that searches using Everyclick can make a valuable contribution along with cash donations and even giving by mobile phone – visit

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