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Wild tigers show unprecedented growth

Apr 11, 2016

The global wild tiger population has increased for the first time since conservation efforts began in the 1960s, according to new data released today.

There are now about 3,890 wild tigers on the planet, up from 3,200 in 2010, according to new data released today by WWF and the Global Tiger Forum. The data comes from the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the latest national tiger surveys. One-hundred years ago, there was an estimated 100,000 wild tigers worldwide.

In Nepal, where WWF-Canada works on tiger conservation, the population has risen from 121 to 198 over five years, an increase of over 60 per cent.

Reasons for the increase

The revised population number can be attributed to multiple factors, including increases in tiger populations in India, Russia, Nepal and Bhutan, improved surveys and enhanced protection of tigers and their habitats. Since 2010, WWF and the governments in the 13 countries with tiger populations have been working to double the wild tiger population to 6,400 by 2022 – the next Chinese year of the tiger. The goal is called Tx2.

Still cause for concern

While tiger numbers are increasing in some countries, they're declining in others and have already disappeared from some. Cambodia on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 declared tigers extinct in that country, and announced plans to reintroduce two males and five or six females from elsewhere. Even if the global goal of 6,400 wild tigers is reached by 2022, the species will always require conservation efforts due to the irreversible habitat destruction.

Quote from Rinjan Shrestha, WWF-Canada's lead specialist for Asian big cats

"The rise of global wild tiger numbers demonstrates positive momentum and great hope for the survival of a species that was on the brink of extinction. In Nepal, we've managed to stop the rapid decline of tigers over the past six years, but we still have a long way to go to meet the goal to double the number of wild tigers by 2022. With concrete, on-the-ground actions taken over the next six years, we can succeed."

To help grow the wild tiger population, WWF-Canada:

Supports wildlife rangers, law enforcement agencies and local communities to prevent the illegal slaughter and trade of tigers. Our anti-poaching project in Nepal's Banke National Park (BaNP) achieved one full year without poaching in 2014;

Provides training to local communities on tools and techniques that monitor tiger populations and identify threats to their lives and habitats;

Restored 76 hectares of grasslands and two wetland sites with local partners in BaNP to draw more prey species to the area;

Supports the implementation of Conservation Assured Tiger Standards;
Supports the use of the Spatial Monitoring and Assessment Tool, which empowers front-line staff and promotes transparent monitoring of anti-poaching efforts.

Wild tigers show unprecedented growth

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