Global tiger numbers have increased for the first time in a century, according to WWF. The current total of tigers in the wild is now 3,890, a dramatic 22% increase from an all time low of 3,200 in 2010.
The data comes from a combination of tiger surveys and estimates from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The new figures have been released in preparation for a meeting between the ministers of 13 countries home to tigers. The meeting will take place in Dehli this week, and hopes to identify strategies that will double the world’s tiger population by 2022.
“For the first time after decades of constant decline, tiger numbers are on the rise. This offers us great hope and shows that we can save species and their habitats when governments, local communities and conservationists work together,” says Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International.
Tiger numbers have increase in India, Russia, Nepal and Bhutan, thanks to better surveying and improved protection. India is currently home to the greatest number of tigers, with a total number of 2,226, reporting an increase of 500 animals since 2010. Myanmar has yet to account for the status of its tiger population, so there may be an even greater wild population than reported.
Whilst these increases are good news for conservation, wild tigers are still endangered, facing a multitude of obstacles that threaten their survival. Over the years they have suffered the consequences of habitat loss, prey reductions, and illegal poaching for the fur trade and Chinese medicine.
Back in 1900, there were around 100,000 tigers roaming across Asia. Since then, roughly 97% of the world’s population has been lost, as a result of human pressures.
However, there is still hope for the tiger, and conservation methods are improving successfully. For example Nepal has managed to prevent any poaching incidents for the past 3 years. Hopefully, as more and more effort is invested into the protection of the tiger, it might just be saved from extinction.
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