The World Wildlife Fund has recently announced some good news on the animal conservation front: the number of tigers living in the wild has increased for the first time since records started to be taken in the early twentieth century. There are at least 3,890 tigers in the wild, up from an estimated 3,200 in 2010. While an increase of a mere 690 individuals mightn’t seem like that many, it does represent a 21-percent increase.
"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.
India is home to 2,226 tigers — more than half of the world’s population, with population increases there and in Russia, Nepal and Bhutan contributing to the species’ population growth. An estimated 100,000 tigers were living in the wild at the start of the twentieth century, but populations have declined dramatically since then, due to chiefly to habitat loss and poaching. Of the nine known subspecies of tiger that existed at the start of the 20th century, only six remain.
Needless to say, the species is still far from safe, warns Michael Baltzerm, head of the WWF’s initiative to double the global wild tiger population: "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."