Youth Delegates from 13 countries advocate for action for inclusive tiger conservation
The youth delegates recommended the inclusion of content on tigers and wildlife conservation in the national curriculum to encourage students to play a more central role in tiger conservation.
New Delhi: In celebration of Global Tiger Day, WWF hosted the International Tiger Youth Summit (ITYS) 2022 twelve years after the first such Summit in 2010. Student representatives from 13 tiger range countries assembled at the virtual summit to advocate for renewed bold commitments and unite in one accord for the enhancement of tiger conservation across range countries. The summit culminated in the presentation of the “2022 Youth Declaration for Tiger Conservation” to the Global Tiger Forum, the inter-governmental body for tiger conservation coordinating the Global Tiger Recovery Program planning for 2023-2034.
Dr Sejal Worah, Programme Director, WWF India expressed her admiration for the broad thinking the delegates applied when drafting recommendations for tiger conservation. She added, “We need youth to call out, fight for and take action for tigers because when we save tigers, we save so much more. You don’t have to be a conservationist to have a positive impact on nature or tigers. You can have a positive impact on tigers in any capacity—as a lawyer, artist, businessperson, writer, bureaucrat, engineer, poet or doctor. All can contribute to conservation as long as your belief and desire to protect nature remains strong and firm.”
The event was graced by the presence of renowned experts and advocates of tiger conservation from around the world— speaker Stuart Chapman, Lead, Tigers Alive Initiative; panelists Dr Rajesh Gopal, Secretary General, Global Tiger Forum, Sophia Lim, CEO of WWF Malaysia, Dr Henry Chan, Conservation Director of WWF Malaysia, Dr Sejal Worah, Programme Director, WWF India, Dr. Dipankar Ghose, Director, Landscapes & Habitats, WWF India, Tshering Tempa, Head, Bhutan Tiger Centre; and Emmanual Rondeau, filmmaker and photojournalist.
The highlight was a message delivered by Her Majesty the Queen of Bhutan, encouraging the youth delegates forward on their conservation journey and expressing her admiration for the tireless work of the experts at the Summit.
The student delegation consisted of representatives from each of the 13 tiger range countries—Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam. The Indian delegation was represented by Chinmayi Ramasubramanian, a 17-year-old Class X student from Bangalore and Soumil Nema, a 20-year-old college student from Hyderabad.
Youth representatives had an interactive session with the panel of tiger experts to discuss critical conservation challenges and get a wider perspective of tiger conservation across the globe. The key point of the Summit was the student delegates announcing their recommendations highlighting the need to protect the tiger and contributing to the preparation of the 2022-23 Global Tiger Recovery Programme. The young leaders called on the governments of their respective countries to consider their recommendations for the prevention of tiger poaching and the restoration of their entire ecosystem. They
advocated the creation of job opportunities for local communities near protected areas, to better protect these areas from poaching, to ensure that there is no conversion of tiger habitat for other purposes, and to increase forested areas and monitor the ecological base upon which the tiger depends.
There were also recommendations to include tigers and wildlife conservation in national curricula and the integration of issues of wildlife conservation and human-wildlife coexistence, including conflict mitigation, in local curricula.
The Summit closed with a vote of thanks from Jenny Roberts, Director of Development and Communications, WWF Tigers Alive Initiative, observing how the youth are keen to change the world for the tiger and it is time to heed their roar.
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