WWF has recently announced that it is aiming to double the world's wild tiger population in the next 12 years. This year is the Chinese Year of the Tiger, and with an estimated 3,200 wild tigers left roaming the Asian forests, increased conservation efforts are being made to ensure the stability of this species by the next Year of the Tiger in 2022.
Tigers are the largest of the world's cats and we have seen the loss of 3 tiger sub-species over the past 100 years, with the 5 remaining tiger sub-species being critically endangered in the wild today. So why is it that this majestic creature is more numerous in US zoos alone, than it is found patrolling it's natural habitat?
Tiger Parts In High Demand
The past century has seen wild tiger numbers drop to their lowest yet, with just 3,200 individuals thought to be left in the wild today. The main cause for the devastating decline of this beautiful animal is thought to be illegal poaching to supply a high demand for tiger parts such as their skins, bones and organs on the black market.
However, the far eastern medicine market isn't fully to blame as the tiger is thought to exist in only 7% of it's original habitat today. The tiger was once found throughout Asia but deforestation for logging and plantations (such as palm oil), has reduced the tiger's natural territory to small isolated habitats across 13 different countries.
Only 3,200 Wild Tigers Left
There has however been some fantastic news from the Panna National Park in India where a translocated tigress has given birth (for the first time in the wild) to three tiger cubs. And one of the biggest names in Hollywood, Leonardo DiCaprio, has partnered with WWF to set up Save Tigers Now, a global campaign to build support for tiger conservation in Asia.