Here’s some good environmental news.. After decades of decline, wild tiger populations are slowly starting to rebound. Efforts to crack down on poaching and protect wildlife reserves in places like India, Russia, Nepal, and Bhutan seem to be paying off — though there’s still a long, long way to go.
According to the World Wildlife Fund and the Global Tiger Forum, the number of wild tigers has increased to 3,890 in April from 3,200 in 2010 – an increase of almost 22%.
Tigers are notoriously hard to count, as they often hide out in dense jungles and snowy mountains. Biologists usually have set up camera traps to track them. But based on the best available data from national surveys, the WWF and the Global Tiger Forum estimate have released these reports.
A closer look on the Reports..
India alone recorded an increase of over 500 tigers during this six-year period and continues to be home to the highest number of these wild cats. India procures more than half of the current estimated population, with 2,226 tigers.
Though this sounds big now, a century ago, more than 100,000 tigers roamed the globe, ranging from Turkey and the Caucasus to eastern Siberia and Indonesia.
Decades of logging, development, and poaching have whittled the tigers habitat down to just 13 countries. This distribution report is available below.
In fact, the total number of tigers could well be more than 3,890, because Myanmar has yet to announce its numbers. Myanmar had 85 wild tigers in 2010. The ‘Global Wild Tiger Status’ report has not included the country’s figure in the overall global figure for this year.
Indeed, not all countries fared well in the latest census. While Russia, India, Bhutan and Nepal all counted more tigers in their latest surveys, southeast Asian countries have struggled. They are also behind the others in conservation measures, and do not yet conduct a tiger census on their own.
Indonesia has seen a rapid decline in the tiger population due to forest destruction to produce palm oil, pulp and paper. Cambodia is considering reintroducing tigers after recently declaring them functionally extinct.
Tiger Conservation becomes Urge of the Day !
Whats’ up today ¿
Making a strong pitch for tiger conservation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, underlined the need for collaboration between governments at the highest level to check trafficking in body parts of the wildcat, at the three-day International Tiger Conservation Conference that has begun today.
The global census was released just a day before this meet, where ministers from 13 Tiger Range Countries meet in New Delhi.
The Asia Ministerial Conference is the latest step in the ‘Global Tiger Initiative’ process that began with the 2010 Tiger Summit in Russia. It was agreed in 2010 to double the number of tigers by 2022. The goal is called Tx2.
More than 700 conservation experts, ministers and senior officials from all Tiger Range Countries have gathered at the conference.
Issues under Discussion ¿
The issues that will be discussed here include landscape conservation and habitat management, tiger re-introduction, monitoring protocols, anti-poaching strategy, modern tools and technology for monitoring, resource mobilization and networking.
Union Ministry’s Efforts..
“We have allotted Rs 380 crores to the Project Tiger in the current financial year, which is an all-time high. It indicates that the government is committed to the conservation of our national animal tiger”, said Union Environment and Forests Minister Prakash Javadekar.
How World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) helps ¿
The conservation effort has been helped significantly by the WWF and other conservation organisations – and a bit of star power in the form of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which has committed $6.2m ($4.4m) to the battle to save the tigers since 2010.
“Tigers are some of the most vital and beloved animals on Earth,” said DiCaprio, who serves as chairman of his own foundation and on the board of the WWF. While DiCaprio is proud of the successes, there is “still so much to be done,” he warned.
The key to protecting tigers, researchers say, depends on holding the line on more habitat destruction. It’s an audacious and difficult goal to attain Tx2, but the early returns are encouraging, and let’s hope for the best.