September 28, 2010

Tiger Tuesday: Last Tiger Strongholds Identified

Scientists have tallied up a group of the last remaining 'strongholds' of wild tigers, 42 areas across Asia, where the breeding females of the extremely rare big cats live. They estimate that around 1000 breeding females of various tiger sub-species inhabit these areas, which are the last hope for wild tigers' survival.

  The last Bali Tiger was recorded in 1937

Of the former 580,000 square miles (1.5 million sq kilometers) of habitat suitable for tigers, wild tigers now remain in only 7%. The 'strongholds' encompass only half of one percent of tiger's former range. As readers of this blog know, habitat loss, and especially poaching for illegal wildlife trade and "traditional" medicines are behind this terrible decline.

The Caspian Tiger became extinct in the late 1950's

These 42 newly identified sites hold 70% of the worlds remaining tigers, which number less than 3,500 in total.

Joe Walston, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Asia program says, "In the past, overly ambitious and complicated conservation efforts have failed to do the basics - prevent the hunting of tigers and their prey. [...] Efforts need to focus on securing these sites as the number one priority for the species."

So, at least for our tiger friends, 42 really is the answer to the ultimate question of Life, the Universe, and Everything...

Our source at concludes with this practical summation:

The scientists calculated the total required annual cost of effectively managing these strongholds at $82 million, which included the cost of law enforcement, wildlife monitoring, getting the community involved in their protection and other factors. Although that might seem a large price tag, $47 million of that is already provided by the governments of the areas where the sites are located, supplemented by international support, the researchers said. The $35 million shortfall is needed to intensify proven methods of protection and monitoring.
"$35 million is less than what [New York Yankees baseball player] Alex Rodriguez made last year in salary and endorsements," Robinson told Our Amazing Planet. "There's quite a bit of money floating into protected areas at this time - the shortfall is not huge." Robinson noted he was recently in talks in Washington, D.C., with representatives of some multilateral government agencies to talk about this funding for tigers.

Well, tigers get my endorsement. What about yours? If so, please be sure to let your friends and family know about the danger of extinction that faces the world's wild tigers today.

 The Javan Tiger became extinct in the 1980's. Let's not add to this list.

September 23, 2010

New Print: John Vilhauer's North Atlantic Right Whale

Who could resist this charming print by local Chicago artist and designer John Vilhauer? (My favorite part is the barnacle eyebrow. I want a pair of my own.)

This whimsical print benefits North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium, a fabulous organization that we are so pleased to be working with. NARWC works to eliminate human-caused right whale deaths in critical habitats and migration corridors, to protect right whale habitats, and to assess factors that reduce reproductive success of right whales.

It's not too early to be thinking about gifts for the holidays, and if I do say so myself, an ESPP print and it's corresponding donation to NARWC would be a great gift for a special child or whale fancier in your life.

(Oh, and we're on a bit of a sea mammal kick, so keep your head under the water for our upcoming print. People say don't hold your breath, but in this case do. It won't be long.)

The North Atlantic right whale print is available here. Read more about this amazing and endangered species here.

September 21, 2010

Tiger Tuesday Twice in One Tuesday!

Panthera & the BBC's Natural History Unit have worked together to document the first evidence that tigers can live and breed at extremely high altitudes. Tigers, normally found in jungle habitats, were discovered more than 13,000 feet high in the Himalayas. The discovery could make it easier to create a conservation corridor, linking populations across Asia. We wonder if the tigers have moved up to new altitudes due to habitat loss, or if they have been there all along?

Tiger Tuesday!

This is the 2nd in our series Tiger Tuesday leading up International Tiger Day on September 26th, 2010. There are approximately 3,200 tigers remaining in the wild.

Image © Wildlife Checkpoint Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand

Illegal trade in tigers and tiger parts is one of the main reasons the species is endangered.  Tigers are used throughout Asia (most heavily in China) for traditional medicines or tonics including tiger bone wine and aphrodisiacs. Trade in tigers is prohibited by the Convention in Trade of Endangered Species, or CITES.

The illegal wildlife trade is a gruesome, multi-billion dollar business run by organized criminal syndicates. This year National Geographic published The Kingpin an exposé of the world's most notorious wildlife dealer. His future plans include farming captive tigers for parts.

September 20, 2010

Renegade Craft Fair

Thanks to everyone who came out and supported ESPP at Renegade Craft Fair! We raised a significant amount of money for critically endangered species and met lots of great people.

Check out our booth mates Shapes & Colors. They sew and and screen fantastic pillows, bags, and more all made from organic cotton, linen, and hemp using water based, non-toxic inks.

Thanks to ESPP artist John Vilhauer for taking photos. John's print will be released later this week.! Stay tuned.

September 14, 2010

Tiger Tuesday!

September 26th, 2010 is International Tiger Day and we're gearing up here at ESPP with a series of Tiger Tuesday posts. Today we'll be sharing some awesome camera trap images with you and asking you to take one small action to help international efforts to save the species. 

image: Wildlife Conservation Society

With an estimated 3,000 tigers remaining there is a very real chance that the species will go extinct in your lifetime.  Shockingly there are more tigers in private holdings in the state of Texas than there currently are in the wild!

This fall world leaders will meet to negotiate a plan to prevent the extinction of the wild tiger, it is critical that we make sure the United States shows leadership on this issue and gives tiger conservation its full backing.  You can easily tell Congress to Support the Global Conservation Act of 2010 here.

And view the following video and images...

From World Wildlife Federation: "Close up footage of a tiger and two cubs, the first time that WWF has recorded evidence of tiger breeding in central Sumatra in what should be prime tiger habitat. The images have led to renewed calls for stronger measures against poaching and the rapid deforestation of tiger landscapes on the Indonesian island."

An Amur (Siberian) Tiger at Hunchun National Nature Reserve
image: Hunchun National Nature Reserve

Sumatran Tiger
 image: Fauna & Flora International/DICE

An Indian Tiger in Bandhavagargh National Park, India

Cooling off in a watering hole in Bandhavgarh National Park, India

image: Michael Nichols

September 10, 2010