Bringing a spark of hope to wildlife conservation groups, is the increasing number of tigers in the wild after 100 years, as reported by WWF.
Sharing the most recent data gathered from several tiger surveys in different countries, as well as the International Union for Conservation of Nature, WWF said that from an estimated 3,200 tigers in the wild in 2010, there are around 3,890 tigers now, representing a 21-percent increase.
The count was released mere days before ministers from the world's 13 tiger range countries had a three-day tiger conservation conference in New Delhi, The Guardian reports.
In a book released by ISF European Support, it was mentioned that at the start of the 20th century, it is estimated there were over 100,000 tigers in the world. Since then the population had dwindled to between 1,500 and 3,500 in the wild because of urbanization, habitat loss and poaching. Of the nine known subspecies of tiger that existed at the start of the 20th century, only six remain, another report said.
To save the tigers in the wild, India, where 70% of the tigers live, together with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam had an agreement in 2010 to double the number of the animals in the wild by 2022 through the Tx2 initiative.
As for the recent turnaround, India, Russia, Nepal and Bhutan emerged as the countries with the most tally of tigers in the wild. This is because of the improved surveys, better field patrolling and monitoring as well as the enhanced protection of the species, WWF said.
Despite the good news, Ginette Hemley, senior vice president of wildlife conservation emphasized that there's still "so much work and investment needed to reach the goal of doubling wild tiger numbers by 2022," as most Southeast Asian countries are still struggling to see progress.
"In Bangladesh, the number of tigers counted fell from 440 to 106," National Geographic reports.
"A strong action plan for the next six years is vital," said the leader of the Tx2 initiative, Michael Baltzer in a separate statement. "The global decline has been halted but there is still no safe place for tigers. Southeast Asia, in particular, is at imminent risk of losing its tigers if these governments do not take action immediately," he added.
The increase in tiger population in the wild sets a new paradigm for the conservation of all the world's endangered species. In Marco Lambertini's own words, Director General of WWF International, "This offers us great hope and shows that we can save species and their habitats when governments, local communities and conservationists work together.
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