For the first time in almost a century, there has been an increase in the global tiger population.
The number of wild tigers has increased to 3,890 in April from 3,200 in 2010 – an increase of almost 22%.
India alone recorded an increase of over 500 tigers during this six-year period and continues to be home to the highest number of wild cats.
The increase in world tiger population has been attributed to multiple factors including increases in the tiger populations in India, Russia, Nepal and Bhutan, improved surveys and enhanced protection.
“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,” said Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International, in a statement.
The latest global tiger population figures were released on Monday on the eve of the third Asia Ministerial Conference on tiger conservation. The three-day mega meet will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Tuesday.
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.
The updated minimum figure is compiled from International Union for Conservation of Nature data and countries’ latest national tiger surveys.
“We have allotted Rs 380 crores to the Project Tiger in the current fiscal 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.
The meeting of tiger range governments at the 3rd 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.
During the Conference, countries will report on their progress toward the Tx2 goal and commit to next steps. More than 700 tiger experts, scientists, managers, donors and other stakeholders will gather to discuss issues related to tiger conservation at the Conference.
The issues that will be discussed include landscape conservation and habitat management, tiger re-introduction, monitoring protocols, anti-poaching strategy, modern tools and technology for monitoring, resource mobilization and networking.
Ministers and government officials from all Tiger Range Countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, India, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russian Federation, Thailand and Vietnam will participate in the Conference. Besides, representatives of the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan, that have Snow Leopards, will also participate in the conferernce.
“While several Tiger Range Countries like India, Nepal, Russia and Bhutan have registered an increase in tiger population, the status of the tiger remains ‘endangered’. The Tiger population has been decimated to to non-viable levels in some range countries, which is a cause for concern”, said the environment ministry which is organising the Conference jointly with Global Tiger Forum, Global Tiger Initiative Council, Wildlife Institute of India, WWF and Wildlife Conservation Trust.