There’s good news for tiger fans across the world this year (and, no, I don’t mean the baseball team). For the first time in 100 years, the worldwide tiger population has actually increased! While, for years, it may have seemed that efforts to save this beloved species weren’t very effective, new hope has been given to all of those working hard to save these beautiful animals.
It’s important we realize why there has been an increase in the wild tiger population so that similar efforts can be used to help save other animals. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released numbers earlier this month which stated that there are at least 3,890 wild tigers on Earth right now. That’s an increase from 2010, when there were estimated to only be 3,200 wild tigers. Wouldn’t you love to be one of the people who counts how many tigers are living in a certain area?
As you might expect, this increase is partly attributed to more focus and resources dedicated to saving these animals. For instance, the countries with the largest populations of tigers all belong to the Global Tiger Forum (GTF). Leaders from around the world backed a program called the Tiger Initiative Tx2, which is trying to double the number of tigers on this planet by the year 2022. Better methods of conducting surveys are also to thank. However, the biggest reason why the tiger population has increased is due to bigger populations in India, Russia, Nepal and Bhutan. These nations lead the world in tiger population, with India being the worldwide leader. They are the home to over 2,000 wild tigers.
While this increase is great news and shows we’re on the right track, there is still a lot of work to do. Those involved with the effort to double the tiger population in six years still believe that it’s an aggressive track which will take an organized plan to accomplish. Threats like deforestation and poaching are still very real for tigers worldwide. These threats make it even more important that surveys are conducted efficiently and regularly so that the GTF and WWF have accurate numbers to work with. Although completing these surveys are required of nations who belong to the GTF, not all of them have complied.
Not only will accurate numbers give the organizations a better idea of where countries stand, but it will also help to prevent poachers from trading the animals across borders. If a country’s numbers suspiciously drop, investigations can begin. While we may never reach the tiger population number of 100,000 from 1900, this increase is very encouraging to see. And, while you may not think that you, as an individual, can make a difference, you can. Supporting organizations like the WWF is a wonderful way to support the cause, but also remember to avoid purchasing any products made from tigers if you travel to any country with a high tiger population.