Nyhus Attends Putin’s Tiger Summit

Originally posted: January 4, 2011


Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Philip Nyhus has been working for years to help China save its tigers. An authority on tiger conservation, Nyhus was invited to join heads of state and leading conservationists at a summit convened by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in November. The goal: to get the leaders of the 13 tiger-range countries to sign a declaration that they will work to double the number of wild tigers by 2022. The summit was covered by major media outlets worldwide. “This was the first time in history leaders of major countries came together and declared that they were not going to let a species go extinct,” said Nyhus. “As far as I know it is unprecedented.”

Since 2005 Nyhus and his student researchers have worked to determine areas of China where tigers could potentially be reintroduced into the wild. Never was there a guarantee that the government would move forward once a plan was devised—but Nyhus and his colleagues were optimistic. “I think the Chinese have already decided they want their tigers back,” Nyhus said in 2008. “I think it will happen.”

It appears he was right. At the summit, “China did declare that they were going to not only conserve wild tiger populations on the border of Russia and Indochina, but they were going to return or restore wild populations of South China tigers,” said Nyhus.

It’s a victory that Nyhus is careful not to claim credit for. But he and his student researchers know that they contributed data that helped to advise the Chinese government as it pondered action on a conservation issue that caught the attention of the world.

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