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Abstract

Caspian tigers (Panthera tigris virgata), a now extinct subspecies genetically similar to the Amur tiger (P. t. altaica), occurred until the mid-1900s from modern day Turkey and Iran east through Central Asia into northwest China. A literature analysis we conducted revealed that Caspian tigers occupied ca. 800,000–900,000 km² historically, mostly within isolated patches of tugay- and reed-dominated riparian ecosystems at densities up to 2–3 tigers/100 km². Herein we explored options to restore tigers to Central Asia using Amur tiger as an “analog” form. Spatial analyses based on remote sensing data indicated that options for Amur tiger introduction are limited in Central Asia but at least two habitat patches remain potentially suitable for tiger re-establishment, both in Kazakhstan, with a total area of < 20,000 km². The most promising site—the Ili river delta and adjacent southern coast of Balkhash Lake—hosts ca. 7000 km² of suitable habitat that our tiger-prey population models suggest could support a population of 64–98 tigers within 50 years if 40–55 tigers are translocated and current Ili river flow regimes are maintained. Re-establishment of tigers in Central Asia may yet be tenable if concerns of local communities in the Ili-Balkhash region are carefully addressed, prey population restoration precedes tiger introduction, Ili river water supplies remain stable, and the Amur tiger's phenotype proves adaptable to the arid conditions of the introduction site.
... The densities were estimated to be up to 2-3 tigers/100 km 2 . According to Chestin et al. (2017), this estimation allows us extrapolate that 5000 km 2 of continuous area of tugai and reed ecosystem would be the minimal habitat patch to support a viable tiger population of 100-150 individuals. ...
... In contrast, tigers in Turkmenistan were found along the tributaries of Amu-Darya River, like lions. According to Vereshchagin (1959), tigers disappeared in the 1890s, but Sludskii (in Chestin et al. 2017) found a last record in 1954. ...
... They were still present in the northwestern part of the country during the 20th Century (1910,1938) and in the south close to the Afghanistan border (1938 to 1963). The last record was dated 1958 (Mazák 1981, Chestin et al. 2017). An archaeologist, M. E. Masson, who directed the excavation of Buddhist remains at Aïrtam near Termez (37°12′38.81″N; ...
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Highly mobile creatures with remarkable exploratory behaviour, the modern tiger Panthera tigris and the modern Asiatic lion Panthera leo persica colonised Eurasia during the Late Pleistocene (from 126000 ± 5000 to 11700 years before present, BP) and the Holocene (from 11700 BP to the present day). Their respective ranges have overlapped several times but we tend to ignore the extent to which they have really coexisted because this situation has not occurred in recent times. We provide a state‐of‐the‐art review of all the data covering their chronological distribution, in order to evaluate the extent to which they have coexisted. We include new data from petroglyph analysis in Central Asia. The data set covers two major biogeographical regions: the Palearctic Biogeographic Realm (western Asia and Central Asia) and the Indo‐Malaysian Biogeographic Realm in Monsoon Asia. Lions and tigers shared space with a large variety of medium‐sized carnivores. We can hypothesise that, due to the plentiful prey and the diversity in habitats within their common range, they lived in sympatry there during the Holocene (although in local allopatry), as long as human interference was low. The Indo‐Malaysian Biogeographic Realm offered the best habitats for coexistence due to the tropical climate, the variety of habitats, and the great diversity in prey. In temperate Asia, the carrying capacity was naturally lower due to cold winters and dry summers, except along the coasts. Suitable habitats were limited, in Central Asia, to the tugais of the alluvial valleys and the adjacent steppes. In this region, lions were particularly sensitive to stresses, due to their low adaptability to harsh winters, the long distance to their main population sources, and the likelihood that they were pushed into the steppes by tigers, where they were killed by humans, for symbolic or pragmatic reasons.
... The densities were estimated to be up to 2-3 tigers/100 km 2 . According to Chestin et al. (2017), this estimation allows us extrapolate that 5000 km 2 of continuous area of tugai and reed ecosystem would be the minimal habitat patch to support a viable tiger population of 100-150 individuals. ...
... In contrast, tigers in Turkmenistan were found along the tributaries of Amu-Darya River, like lions. According to Vereshchagin (1959), tigers disappeared in the 1890s, but Sludskii (in Chestin et al. 2017) found a last record in 1954. ...
... They were still present in the northwestern part of the country during the 20th Century (1910,1938) and in the south close to the Afghanistan border (1938 to 1963). The last record was dated 1958 (Mazák 1981, Chestin et al. 2017). An archaeologist, M. E. Masson, who directed the excavation of Buddhist remains at Aïrtam near Termez (37°12′38.81″N; ...
... Successful carnivore reintroductions have demonstrated ecological and species conservation benefits (Hayward & Somers, 2009;Sarkar et al., 2016). As such, reintroduction has been identified as a key component of the global strategy to recover Panthera tigris Linnaeus, 1758 (tiger), populations in areas where the species has been extirpated including central Asia and Indochina (Chestin, Paltsyn, Pereladova, Iegorova, & Gibbs, 2017;Lynam, 2010). In Cambodia, tiger were extirpated in 2007 and ambitious plans for reintroduction have been developed for two conservation landscapes: the Cardamom Rainforest and Eastern Plains (Gray, Baltzer, Gopal, & Seng, 2017a). ...
... Consistent relationships exist between prey and carnivore abundance allowing the calculation of carnivore carrying capacity based on prey densities (Carbone & Gittleman, 2002). The following formula has been used to estimate tiger carrying capacity for assessing site suitability for tiger reintroduction in central Asia (Chestin et al., 2017) and Cambodia (Gray, Crouthers, et al., 2017b): ...
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Conservationists need to present biological monitoring data to decision makers in a way which clearly represents uncertainty. Providing results in terms of the probability of a hypothesis being true may have greater utility for decision‐making than traditionally used frequentist statistical approaches. Here, we demonstrate such an approach with regard to assessing the suitability of the Cardamom Rainforest Landscape, Cambodia for Panthera tigris (tiger) reintroduction. We estimated the density of tiger prey in the core of the landscape using the Random Encounter Model from camera‐trap data and used Monte Carlo simulation to prorogate uncertainty around our model parameter estimates. This suggests there is currently a low probability that the core area of the landscape supports sufficient prey for a population of 25 adult tigers and that significant prey recovery is thus required prior to any reintroduction into the landscape. The Random Encounter Model contains a number of assumptions and we stress our main purpose is to illustrate an approach to incorporating uncertainty into conservation decision‐making rather than providing robust estimation of current tiger prey densities in the Cardamom Rainforest Landscape. Our approach has wide utility for conveying species monitoring information to conservation planners in a simple to understand fashion.
... Wild cattle species, including banteng and gaur, are considered important tiger prey species that make up an significant proportion of dietary intake (Andheria et al., 2007;Hayward et al., 2012;Simcharoen et al., 2018). Wild pig, weighing <60kg, is not necessarily a preferred prey species but has been identified as an important prey item for some sites (Hayward et al., 2012;Mukherjee & Sen Sarkar, 2013;Chestin et al., 2017), whilst only making up a small proportion of tiger diet in others Simcharoen et al., 2018). Due to their higher relative abundance, it is reasonable to assume that wild pig would be an important tiger prey item in the EPL (Steinmetz et al., 2020). ...
Technical Report
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Results from a decade-long (2010-2020) ungulate monitoring survey in Srepok and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuaries of the Eastern Plains Landscape of Cambodia showed dramatic declines in Banteng and Red Muntjac populations, and that only small populations of Eld’s Deer, Gaur, and Sambar remain in the landscape. Errata: calculation errors in Table 4 of page 39 and associated text in Section 3.3 have been corrected in this updated version of the report, dated September 2021.
... The closing of small-and medium-scale type of individual farms as meat suppliers for local and regional markets may endanger food security, also across the borders of the Ili Delta [35]. Next to the uncertainties of future water inflow as a result of expanded water use along the upstream branches of the Ili River in Kazakhstan and China [20,22,23], pastoral farming in the delta region faces new challenges such as the reintroduction of the tiger [70]. ...
Article
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River deltas provide the most productive pastures in Central Asia. Simultaneously they are highly vulnerable to water inflow changes. The aim of this study was to conduct an economic assessment of the short- and medium-term effect of reduced water inflow on farmers’ performance within the Ili Delta. Primary data were collected through 35 interviews with farmers and additional experts in 2015. Production parameters for three types of individual farms were estimated and entered into a full cost accounting. Contribution margins were calculated for three scenarios: (I) sufficient water inflow (normal situation), (II) decreasing water inflow, and (III) significantly reduced water inflow (worst case). Farmers purchase hay to adapt to pasture production loss due to decreasing water inflow. This more than doubled the variable costs of worst case in comparison to normal situation for small-, medium-, and large-scale type of individual farm. Monte Carlo simulation indicates a risk of 74% (small-scale farm) and 3% (medium-scale farm) that already variable costs will exceed revenues. Despite their high fixed costs, only large-scale individual farms generate positive net farm income from operations in the worst case due to government payments from participation in elite bull program that account for one-third of total revenue.
... In 2017, the National Tiger Conservation Authority released a statement of their intent for reintroductions in four other national parks-Buxa in West Bengal, Mukundra Hills and Rajaji National Park in Rajasthan, and Satkosia in Odisha (Pandey 2017). Third, the reintroduction set a new global precedent because there are proposals for reintroductions in several tiger range areas (e.g., Cambodia [Gray et al. 2017], Central Asia [Chestin et al. 2017], south China [Qin et al. 2015], and Southeast Asia [Lynam 2010]). ...
Article
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This qualitative study, based on fifty-two focus groups, interviews, and participant observation within a 10-km buffer around Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan, India, builds on Monica Ogra’s foundational work bringing together feminist political ecology and human–wildlife conflict studies. Specifically, it exposes gender-based violence as a hidden cost of the socioenvironmental network of the tiger reserve landscape. This study asks these questions: How do gendered geographies in and around a protected area influence tiger reintroduction, and how do tiger reintroductions influence gendered geographies? What is the nature of the relationships between women’s economic and gender roles and attitudes toward tigers (original and reintroduced), and what are the main factors influencing this relationship? This research finds that (1) gender-based violence is a hidden cost of women working in and around Sariska and the reintroduced tigers, a hidden cost of human–wildlife conflict otherwise unnoted in the literature, (2) this hidden cost is not solely the product of human–wildlife encounters but in large part a consequence of the highly patriarchal society that dictates gendered human–environmental relations. The results and presented framework seek to inform developing debates and theory around just conservation, gender-based violence in relation to environmental change, human dimensions of apex predator conservation, and sustainable rural livelihoods in and adjacent to protected areas.
... In contrast, ex situ management is a resource-intensive endeavor and reinforcement and reintroduction programs tend to have high probability of failure with large carnivores (Snyder et al. 1996;Jule et al. 2008;Hayward & Somers 2009;Zimmermann 2010). Therefore, further research is desirable to enhance the success rate of reinforcement, reintroduction, and translocation attempts for carnivorous megafauna, which is increasingly encouraged by governments (Breitenmoser et al. 2014;Qin et al. 2015;Chestin et al. 2017;Farhadinia et al. 2017;Gray et al. 2017). ...
Article
The persistence of endangered species may depend on the fate of a very small number of individual animals. In situ conservation alone may sometimes be insufficient. In these instances, the International Union for Conservation of Nature provides guidelines for ex situ conservation and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) indicates how ex situ management can support the CDB's objectives by providing insurance policies for species. The circumstances that justify its use are uncertain. To evaluate the current in situ extinction risk and ex situ management of 43 critically endangered species of mammalian megafauna, we used nonmetric multidimensional scaling and geopolitical variables related to governance, economics, and national policy within their extant ranges. We then fitted generalized additive models to assess the contribution of each variable to the ordination. Fifteen (almost one-third) of the world's terrestrial mammalian megafauna are not the subject of any ex situ management. Seventy-three percent of these taxa occur in areas characterized by political uncertainty, such as border zones or areas affected by armed conflicts, mainly in Africa and the Middle East. A further 23% of taxa in ex situ programs do not meet sustainability criteria for inbreeding avoidance. Strategic conservation planning, such as the One Plan approach, may improve ex situ management for these taxa. Given the escalating trend in threats afflicting megafauna, ex situ management should be considered more rigorously, particularly in politically unstable regions, to achieve CBD Target 12 (prevent extinction of threatened species). Manejo Ex Situ como Protección contra la Extinción de la Megafauna de Mamíferos en un Mundo Incierto This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... We show how HTC initiates a cascade of risks through the institution of the dowry because actual and anticipated risks associated with the dowry drive women to exploit resources within tiger territories. The hidden costs discussed here-social, at-home and in-community-are not identified in the current literature on hidden costs of HWC and remain to be included within discussions around tiger reintroduction efforts throughout the tiger's historic range (Chestin et al., 2017;Lynam, 2010;Qin et al., 2015). ...
Article
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Drawing on work in feminist political ecologies and employing a grounded theory approach, this article examines the socio-spatial links between the patriarchal tradition of dowry, tigers, and women's well-being. It shows how a landscape governed for conservation purposes can produce embodied and material harm for women living under a patriarchal system. Focus groups conducted in eastern Rajasthan, India, reveal how human-tiger interaction, even if primarily potential rather than actual, initiates a chain of social impacts that presents severe risks to women's well-being, mental health, and life itself. Analysis connecting the pressures of dowry (financial, physical, and psychological) to tiger presence helps expose the presumptions of unfairness, intra-household power dynamics, and hidden costs of human-wildlife cohabitation while supporting calls for the inclusion of women's perspectives in environmental theory and management.
... We show how HTC initiates a cascade of risks through the institution of the dowry because actual and anticipated risks associated with the dowry drive women to exploit resources within tiger territories. The hidden costs discussed here-social, at-home and in-community-are not identified in the current literature on hidden costs of HWC and remain to be included within discussions around tiger reintroduction efforts throughout the tiger's historic range (Chestin et al., 2017;Lynam, 2010;Qin et al., 2015). ...
Preprint
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Drawing on work in feminist political ecologies and employing a grounded theory approach, this article examines the socio-spatial links between the patriarchal tradition of dowry, tigers and women's well-being. It shows how a landscape governed for conservation purposes can produce embodied and material harm for women living under a patriarchal system. Focus groups conducted in eastern Rajasthan, India, reveal how human-tiger interaction, even if primarily potential rather than actual, initiates a chain of social impacts that presents severe risks to women's well-being, mental health, and life itself. Analysis connecting the pressures of dowry (financial, physical, and psychological) to tiger presence, helps expose the presumptions of unfairness, intra-household power dynamics, and hidden costs of human-wildlife cohabitation while supporting calls for the inclusion of women's perspectives in environmental theory and management.
... Female tigers released in the Amur and Jewish autonomous regions of Russia have already produced offspring and have thus formed a new group of this species. The reintroduction of the Caspian tiger in Central Asia and Kazakhstan is currently under discussion Chestin et al., 2017). The program of restoring (reintroducing) the Caucasian leopard in the Caucasus is also in progress (Rozhnov, Lukarevskiy, 2008): the first animals released by the Leopard Recovery Center in the Caucasus have successfully adapted to living in the wild. ...
Book
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This monograph provides a comprehensive review and analysis of the available literature on the monitoring of big cats. Special attention is paid to the most up-to-date methods based on recent advances in technology, resulting in useful tools to remotely and noninvasively study animals in natural habitats, essential when working with rare species. Existing large- and small-scale approaches to monitoring big cats are described. Methods of monitoring the habitat conditions of the species and their dynamics, as well as the basics of modeling territories with suitable conditions for leopards, are suggested. The whole range of field sampling methods that enable data to be processed using contemporary techniques is described. Moreover, methods of processing collected data (obtained via GPS collars, photo and video recorders, and hormonal and molecular genetic analysis) as well as examples of results are considered.
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Recent genetic analysis has shown that the extinct Caspian Tiger (P. t. virgata) and the living Amur Tigers (P. t. altaica) of the Russian Far East are actually taxonomically synonymous and that Caspian and Amur groups historically formed a single population, only becoming separated within the last 200 years by human agency. A major conservation implication of this finding is that tigers of Amur stock might be reintroduced, not only back into the Koreas and China as is now proposed, but also through vast areas of Central Asia where the Caspian tiger once lived. However, under the current tiger conservation framework the 12 “Caspian Tiger States” are not fully involved in conservation planning. Equal recognition as “Tiger Range States” should be given to the countries where the Caspian tiger once lived and their involvement in tiger conservation planning encouraged. Today, preliminary ecological surveys show that some sparsely populated areas of Central Asia preserve natural habitat suitable for tigers. In depth assessments should be completed in these and other areas of the Caspian range to evaluate the possibility of tiger reintroductions. Because tigers are a charismatic umbrella species, both ecologically and politically, reintroduction to these landscapes would provide an effective conservation framework for the protection of many species in addition to tigers. And for today’s Amur Tigers this added range will provide a buffer against further loss of genetic diversity, one which will maintain that diversity in the face of selective pressures that can only be experienced in the wild.
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The extent to which large carnivores compete with hunters for harvestable populations of wild ungulates is a topic of widespread controversy in many areas of the world where carnivore populations are recovering or are reintroduced. Theory predicts that predation impacts should vary with prey density and environmental conditions. To test this prediction, we analyzed trends in an index of population abundance of roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) over 9 y in 144 Norwegian municipalities. The municipalities span a wide range of landscapes and climatic conditions and were associated with a varying degree of Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) presence. There was a wide variation in trends of roe deer abundance (estimated long-term average ranging from 0.69 to 1.23) among municipalities. Roe deer population growth rates were lower in the municipalities with lynx and harsh climatic conditions than in municipalities with mild climatic conditions and/or without lynx. Thus, lynx presence appears to be having a negative impact on roe deer populations; this was especially evident in areas with unfavourable environmental conditions. Our finding that estimated long-term average values of were less than 1 in many municipalities indicates that roe deer populations in Norway may not be able to sustain current combined mortality from hunters and lynx, especially in marginal areas.
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Panthera tigris strayed at least once (1887) as far south as Mossul Liwa, Iraq. The relationship of this with neighbouring occurences is mapped.
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The Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) is a flagship species of the boreal forest ecosystem in northeastern China and Russia Far East. During the past century, the tiger population has declined sharply from more than 3000 to fewer than 600 individuals, and its habitat has become much smaller and greatly fragmented. Poaching, habitat degradation, habitat loss, and habitat fragmentation have been widely recognized as the primary causes for the observed population decline. Using a population viability analysis tool (RAMAS/GIS), we simulated the effects of poaching, habitat degradation, habitat loss, and habitat fragmentation on the population dynamics and extinction risk of the Amur tiger, and then explored the relative effectiveness of three conservation strategies involving improving habitat quality and establishing movement corridors in China and Russia. A series of controlled simulation experiments were performed based on the current spatial distribution of habitat and field-observed vital rates. Our results showed that the Amur tiger population could be viable for the next 100 years if the current habitat area and quality were well-maintained, with poaching strictly prohibited of the tigers and their main prey species. Poaching and habitat degradation (mainly prey scarcity) had the largest negative impacts on the tiger population persistence. While the effect of habitat loss was also substantial, habitat fragmentation per se had less influence on the long-term fate of the tiger population. However, to sustain the subpopulations in both Russia and China would take much greater conservation efforts. The viability of the Chinese population of tigers would rely heavily on its connectivity with the largest patch on the other side of the border. Improving the habitat quality of small patches only or increasing habitat connectivity through movement corridors alone would not be enough to guarantee the long-term population persistence of the Amur tiger in both Russia and China. The only conservation strategy that allowed for long-term persistence of tigers in both countries required both the improvement of habitat quality and the establishment of a transnational reserve network. Our study provides new insights into the metapopulation dynamics and persistence of the Amur tiger, which should be useful in landscape and conservation planning for protecting the biggest cat species in the world.
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1. Reintroducing carnivores has become a widely used technique to restore the natural integrity of ecosystems. Accurate estimates of demographic parameters for reintroduced populations are essential to evaluate the success of the reintroduction programme, assess the need to release additional animals and to develop management recommendations. 2. In an effort to establish a viable population of Canada lynx Lynx canadensis in Colorado, USA, the Colorado Division of Wildlife released 218 wild-caught lynx from 1999 to 2006. All lynx were released with very high frequency (VHF) and/or satellite transmitters from which locations, mortality, reproduction, habitat use and movement patterns were documented. We present estimates of mortality. 3. Known-fate models could not be applied here to estimate mortality due to excessive missing location data because of either extensive movement outside of the study area or transmitter failure. Instead we employed a multistate model to address these issues. 4. We describe how the more general multistate mark–recapture model can accommodate missing data to estimate monthly mortality rates of released lynx both inside and outside the study area. We also explored factors possibly affecting lynx survival such as sex, time spent in pre-release captivity, movement patterns and origin. 5. Monthly mortality rate was lower inside the study area than outside, and slightly higher for males than for females, although 95% confidence intervals overlapped for sexes. Mortality was higher immediately after release [first month = 0·0368 (SE = 0·0140), and 0·1012 (SE = 0·0359) respectively, inside and outside the study area], and then decreased according to a quadratic trend. Annual survival was 0·9315 (SE = 0·0325) within the study area and 0·8219 (SE = 0·0744) outside the study area. 6. Synthesis and applications. For those contemplating lynx, or other carnivore reintroductions, we suggest identifying a high-quality release site to minimize mortality. We recommend that managers consider the demography of animals separately within and outside the reintroduction area for valid assessment of the reintroduction. Movements of reintroduced animals and their subsequent loss through death or permanent emigration may require the need for additional individuals to be released for a successful reintroduction effort.
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Summary 1. The Amur or Siberian tiger Panthera tigris altaica forms a relatively small and disjunct population of less than 600 individuals in the Russian Far East. Because tigers in this region require large territories to acquire sufficient prey, current strictly protected areas, comprising 3·4% (10 300 km 2 ) of the region, are unlikely to prevent extirpation of the subspecies in the face of expanding forestry and external demand for tiger parts. 2. We used resource selection function models and spatially explicit population models to analyse the distribution and predict the demographic structure of the population to identify policy options that may enhance population viability. 3. A resource selection function model developed from track distribution data predicted that tigers were most likely to occur in lower altitude valley bottoms with Korean pine forest and low human impacts. 4. The results from the spatially explicit population model suggested that current tiger distribution is highly dependent on de facto refugia with low human impacts but with- out statutory protection, and that small increases in mortality in these areas will result in range fragmentation. Although an expanded reserve network only marginally increases tiger viability under current conditions, it dramatically enhances distribution under potential future scenarios, preventing regional extirpation despite a more hostile landscape matrix. 5. The portion of tiger range most resistant to extirpation connects a large coastal reserve in the central portion of the region with largely unprotected watersheds to the north. A southern block of habitat is also important but more severely threatened with anthropogenic disturbances. The results suggest that preserving source habitat in these two zones and ensuring linkages are retained between blocks of habitat in the north and south will be critical to the survival of the tiger population. 6. Synthesis and applications . Conservation priorities identified in this analysis differ from those suggested by a conservation paradigm focusing only on sustaining and connecting existing protected areas that has been applied to tiger conservation in more developed landscapes with higher prey densities. An alternative paradigm that assesses population viability in a whole-landscape context and develops priorities for both protected area expansion and increasing survival rates in the landscape matrix may be more appropriate in areas where tigers and other large carnivores coexist with low-density human popu- lations. Although landscape connectivity merits increased emphasis in conservation planning, identification of landscape linkages should be tied to broad-scale recommen- dations resulting from spatial viability analyses in order to prevent misdirection of resources towards protecting corridors that add little to population persistence.
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Some conservation organizations publish magazines that showcase current conservation and research projects, attract new subscribers and maintain membership, often using flagship species to promote these objectives. This study investigates the nature of flagship species featured on the covers of ten representative US conservation and nature magazines, Defenders, National Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation, Zoonooz, Nature Conservancy, Outdoor America, Sierra, Audubon, California Wild and Natural History. Operationally defining flagship species by diet, taxonomic order, body size and IUCN status, we found that magazines tend to use mammal and bird species rather than invertebrate, fish, amphibian, reptile or plant taxa on their covers. Featured birds were mostly omnivorous or piscivorous, large-bodied and of little conservation concern; featured mammals were mainly carnivorous or herbivorous, large-bodied and of considerable conservation concern. These analyses confirm, for the first time, anecdotal observations about conservation organizations focusing their publicity and programmes on large, charismatic species to raise awareness and funds and raise the spectre that the public may be exposed to only a selected sample of conservation problems.