Currently found in the Russian Far East and neighbouring regions, wild Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) are thought to number fewer than 500. This endangered tiger subspecies became the focus of a WAZA Global Species Management Plan (GSMP) in 2012. Four regional zoo associations – AZA, EAZA, EARAZA and JAZA – currently maintain studbooks and actively manage ex situ programmes for Amur tigers, and participate in the GSMP. As of June 2013, the Amur Tiger GSMP population consisted of 486 Amur tigers held in 185 institutions, representing about 98% of the gene diversity contributed by 85 founders.
The Amur Tiger GSMP held its first meeting, jointly with the Amur Leopard GSMP, at Moscow Zoo in May 2013. Representatives from all participating regions attended, as well as several advisors. Tara Harris (Minnesota Zoo, AZA) and Alla Glukhova (Moscow Zoo, EARAZA) serve as the Co-Convenors of the GSMP, and Kathy Traylor-Holzer (IUCN SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group) serves as Population Management Advisor.
The GSMP provides a framework for regional programmes to work together to maintain globally and regionally sustainable ex situ managed programmes for Amur tigers as a genetic lifeboat for their wild counterparts, and to make significant contributions to in situ tiger conservation efforts. Another important aspect of the Amur Tiger GSMP is to provide a political framework for discussing the interface between ex situ and in situ conservation with appropriate authorities in the Amur tiger’s main range country, Russia. The GSMP is also intended to foster sharing of information and needs, and strengthen cooperation among the participating regions in support of this endangered animal. Tara Harris & Alla Glukhova– GSMP Co-Convenors
The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world.