For the first time in 100 years, the world population of tigers is on the rise.
Though tigers are listed by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as endangered, their numbers have been in decline for decades thanks to habitat loss and poaching from a multi-billion dollar illegal wildlife trade. That all is changing, however, thanks to protection measures adopted by a number of countries.
According to new census data revealed at the Global Tiger Forum, which kicked off this week, the population of wild tigers has risen 20% since 2010. At present, there are approximately 3,890 roaming worldwide.
Said Marco Lambertini, the Director General of WWF International:
“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.”
The dramatic increase is a result of enhanced protection measures and increases in tiger populations in India, Russia, Bhutan, and Nepal, reports CNN. In Thailand, tiger numbers have tripled thanks to armed guards regularly patrolling for poachers.
Officials aim for the trend to continue, as well. By 2022, governments of countries that are home to tigers aim to double the number of the animals in the wild.
Major reform began in 2014 when tiger range government agreed to announce a new global tiger estimate by 2016. The plan was based upon full, systematic national surveys. However, not all countries have completed or published these surveys. The approximation of 3,900 tigers in the wild is based on updates from countries where national tiger surveys have taken place since the IUCN assessment.
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