Over the last century tiger numbers have plummeted by 95%. These majestic big cats, once widespread across Asia, now exist in just a few pockets in the most densely populated continent in the world.
Across Asia the fight to save tigers is being waged on many different fronts. Leading the charge are the intelligence gatherers: three men working in three very different countries. Their weapons are science and passion.
These projects are part of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s quest to save tigers across Asia. To save them, WCS believes first you have to understand them. So the field biologists work as nature’s detectives, finding out about the basic survival needs of tigers by determining what they eat, how they live and what type of habitat they prefer.
In the snowy vastness of Russia’s Far East, biologist John Goodrich heads up the Siberian Tiger Project. John and five Russian trackers follow the movements of eight radio-collared Siberian tigers living within the Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve, where prey is scarce and tigers are forced to travel enormous distances to find food. As well as tracking tigers on the ground and from the air, John and his team also track tiger kills to learn more about what’s on the menu for the big cats.
Four and a half thousand kilometres to the south-west, Tony Lynam journeys up a remote river to visit a project on the Thailand’s southern border. In contrast to the Russian Far East, Balahala is dense rainforest and faces a variety of different challenges. Thick forests, low numbers of prey, and therefore few tigers, make surveying tigers here extremely challenging.
The third project is taking place 2000 kilometres further west, in India’s Bhadra Tiger Reserve. Biologist Ullas Karanth has studied tigers in southern India for more than 14 years in an attempt to learn how many animals live here and how they fit into the forest’s ecosystem. Because the dense forest cover makes the secretive cats hard to track, Ullas pieces together the puzzle by studying tigers’ prey and droppings.
Tigers: Fighting Back follows the incredible work of the men leading these key projects in the battle to save tigers, and shows why, despite grim statistics, WCS still has hope.
Natural History New Zealand is one of the world's leading producers of nature and science programming.
Reviews and Festivals"Highly Recommended. Tigers: Fighting Back provides a glimpse to the hidden world of these magnificent animals. This film is about the efforts of conservationists working in partnership with scientists to save the remaining big cats from disappearing. It is highly recommended for collections on wildlife, conservation and biology."
— Educational Media Reviews Online
"Recommended. A good addition to school district video collections. One of its strong points is that it focuses on the research the biologists are undertaking with tigers. As the DVD points out, the way to save tigers will be found not in science alone, but by using the knowledge and passion of the local people."
— Science Books and Films (AAAS)
"A valuable look at dedicated biologists at work. The work of the biologists is shown in some detail...the scope of the project and the difficulty of the task are well-delineated."
— School Library Journal