With constant news of animals struggling for survival, some threatened, some endangered, and some already extinct, this bit of long awaited news brings hope to humanity. According to a report by the World Wildlife Foundation, the number of tigers living in the wilderness of Asia has been slowly going up over the last few years. For the first time in a century, surveys show a number of 3,890 tigers compared to 2010’s 3,200.
However, WWF’s senior VP says they are “cautiously hopeful”; after all, there is nothing definitive yet. While the increase could very much be real due to conservationists’ continued hard work, but this could simply be due to improved surveying methods. Historically, tigers were spread throughout Asia, from Turkey to Indonesia, but their numbers have been decreasing due to loss of habitats and poaching. It doesn’t help matters that tigers are notoriously illusive and hard to keep track of; hence, the increased number may mean that some that were previously hidden, have now resurfaced.
Furthermore, the country by country analysis isn’t as positive as the overall number. Though tigers have increased in number in India, Nepal, and Russia, but they have gone completely extinct from certain countries due to continued poaching. In Cambodia, for instance, recent official reports have declared tigers completely extinct within the country. Also, surveys of Bangladesh’s tigers show a shocking decrease from 440 to 106.
WWF official stress the fact that tigers remain globally endangered, and that a slight increase in number by no means insures their survival. They urge governments to raise the steaks when it comes to punishing poaching, illegal habitat loss, and black market smuggling. To make their point, the report shows how the continued hard work by India’s conservationists has improved the tigers’ situation; more people are protecting tiger habitats against poachers, and the government is compensating villagers and farmers who have been harmed by the big cats.
So, while it is good to bask in the light of this good news, it is good to keep reminding ourselves that we have much more work to do before the light shines brighter on the tigers.