Protecting Asian Big Cats India and the Republic of Korea Work Together to Protect Asian Big Cats at Risk

Poaching, hunting, and habitat destruction have threatened big cats in Asia. Since the 20th century, big cats such as tigers, lions, leopards, and snow leopards have suffered significant declines in their populations. Currently, Asiatic lions, Bengal tigers, and snow leopards are all listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List, and leopards are categorized as vulnerable with a declining population trend. India is currently home to the last surviving population of the Asiatic lion in the wild, and accounts for 60 percent of the global wild tiger population.

Asiatic Lion

As one of the last remaining countries home to wild species of Asian big cats, India is in serious need to accelerate their conservation efforts. In order to effectively do so, the country is working in collaboration with the Republic of Korea, with support from the Bio-Bridge Initiative, to develop technologies and standardized methods that are vital to the conservation and rehabilitation of big cats throughout Asia. This on-going project is currently addressing challenges to the conservation of Asian big cats through technology sharing and the use of unified DNA typing methodology.

Snow Leopard

The main objectives of the present project include the training of scientific staff at regional wildlife institutions in India on different aspects of conservation genetics, the establishment of the regional wildlife genetic facilities in India through technical and scientific cooperation, and the cultivation of scientific cooperation and synergism among different stakeholders in India to establish standardized STR typing methodologies for Asian big cats.

Laboratory experiments at Seoul National University College of Veterinary Medicine

As part of the project, the Seoul National University College of Veterinary Medicine (Seoul, Republic of Korea) and Amity Institute of Forestry and Wildlife (Noida, India) recently hosted a workshop on Asian big cats' conservation genetics at the Amity University Uttar Pradesh (AUUP) campus in Noida, India. From March 21st to 23rd, forty participants attended the training workshop on the use of DNA based tools for the conservation of Asian big cats. The training sessions focused on understanding the need for the use of molecular tools in wildlife management and conservation for Asian big cat species like tigers, leopards, lion, snow leopards, and clouded leopards.

Participants in the workshop ranged from researchers, students, ecologists, taxonomists, and molecular biologists from wildlife research institutions, universities, and NGOs from India and Nepal. The hands-on training workshop included lectures, case reports, and practical sessions. During the hands-on laboratory sessions, participants were introduced to different methods for DNA extraction of fecal samples, DNA fingerprinting, collection and storage protocols, and more.

Workshop in Noida, India on methods for Asian big cat conservation

In the case of Asian big cats, standardized genetic data of population-level information is not available across the distribution range, since the STR typing methodologies are not uniform globally. By tackling conservation needs from the perspective of technical and scientific cooperation, researchers from Seoul National University, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Wildlife Institute of India, and Amity Institute of Forestry and Wildlife are currently developing a micro-satellite marking system for tigers, leopards, lions, and snow leopards.


This ongoing project will widely disseminate essential technologies to mobilize front line conservation practitioners to accelerate their conservation effrots throughout the region, and the project will also serve as a model for a uniform approach to population monitoring of Asian big cats for other countries that also hope to expand their efforts to protect and rehabilitate their big cat populations. Through international cooperation and the sharing of technologies like DNA typing and micro-satellite markers, we can hope to secure a bright future for tigers, lions, leopards, and snow leopards.

Bengal Tiger
Created By
Katrina Gibbs


Created with images by joel herzog - "Lions in the Serengeti" • luxstorm - "snow leopard big cat animal mammal fur" • Gary Whyte - "Odi the leopard" • peteranta - "animal world nature mammal"

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.