Save the Tiger Fund Announces Alliance with Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund

2/18/2004

New Agreement will Extend Reach of Tiger Conservation Efforts

Washington, DC � Save The Tiger Fund (STF) and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) have joined forces to link tiger conservation programs across Asia, a major step in unifying the efforts of many conservation organizations. Unified action is critical in addressing today�s threats to tigers, which include highly organized regional networks that are smuggling tiger parts and are often linked to trafficking in narcotics and weapons.

�Although terrorist threats, the economy and diseases have knocked the tiger off front page news, its status in the wild remains in need of urgent action,� said John Seidensticker, STF Council chairman and senior scientist at the Smithsonian�s National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. �Scaling up efforts together is essential to ensure that we do not lose ground against the remarkable progress made so far and, just as important, that these negative forces do not impede further success.�

Despite predictions of doom for this majestic cat, wild tigers continue to survive in a patchwork of areas across Asia, from the tropical rain forests of Sumatra and Indochina to the temperate oak forest of the Amur River Valley in the Russian Far East.

�Save The Tiger Fund has a proud 10-year history focused on the conservation of wild tigers through solid science, improved habitat protection, enhanced capability of local leadership and community engagement - all of which will now grow and deepen by the addition of this new partnership with CEPF," said John Berry, executive director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which established STF in partnership with ExxonMobil Foundation in 1995.

Since its founding, STF has supported 226 tiger-conservation projects in 13 countries. Now STF and CEPF � two major grant makers � will forge united tiger conservation strategies, catalyzing partner organizations and community groups to combine efforts to benefit tigers and people alike. Partnerships are the hallmark of both funds, with a focus on uniting efforts at all levels to achieve greater impact.

�Collaboration among donors and those in the front line is essential for larger, landscape-level programs,� said Jorgen Thomsen, CEPF executive director and senior vice president of Conservation International. �Save The Tiger Fund�s unique way of investing in conservation leaders and allied efforts has made a tangible difference for tigers. Bringing our efforts together will make greater outcomes possible to save tigers and many other species.�

Tigers live on land that provides some of the most fertile and abundant natural resources for humans and wildlife alike. Often referred to as an umbrella species, tigers range over large landscapes that support a complex web of life; to save the tiger is to save all that lives in an entire landscape.

As part of the new alliance, CEPF has pledged $3 million over three years to at least double the size of STF�s grant distribution in Asia�s biodiversity hotspots, the biologically richest yet most endangered areas. ExxonMobil Foundation has also committed an additional $3 million.

�Important strides have been made in tiger conservation in recent years,� said Ed Ahnert, president of ExxonMobil Foundation. �However, the tiger�s status remains tenuous, despite growing cooperation among those working for its survival. This partnership and major new funding commitment represent an opportunity to truly mobilize the global tiger-conservation community and establish a sustainable future for wild tigers.�

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The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (www.cepf.net) is a joint initiative of Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility, the government of Japan, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. Formed in 2000, CEPF is now supporting more than 110 nongovernmental organizations, community groups and others who work to conserve threatened ecosystems. Conservation International administers CEPF.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (www.nfwf.org) is a private, non-profit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization established by Congress in 1984 and dedicated to the conservation of fish, wildlife and plants and the habitat on which they depend. The Foundation creates partnerships between the public and private sectors and strategically invests in conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

ExxonMobil Foundation began funding tiger conservation in 1992 and has invested more than $11 million to date in tiger range countries, representing one of the largest corporate commitments ever made to saving a species. ExxonMobil's funding enables STF to support projects that advance conservation science and conservation leadership, and improve the welfare of local people who share the land with wild tigers.

For more information about Save The Tiger Fund and tigers, please visit www.5tigers.org or see the electronic press kit at http://www.5tigers.org/stf_cepfpresskit.htm.

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