NEW DELHI: For the first time in over 100 years, the number of wild tiger population has shown an upward trend with the new estimate putting their numbers at to 3890 compared to 3200 in 2010, said the Global Tiger Forum (GTF).
The figures have been released ahead of a major tiger conservation meeting involving all Asian tiger range countries in New Delhi Tuesday to be opened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This updated minimum figure, compiled from IUCN data and the latest national tiger surveys, indicates an increase on the 2010 estimate of ‘as few as 3,200’, and can be attributed to multiple factors including increases in tiger populations in India, Russia, Nepal and Bhutan, improved surveys and enhanced protection.
"It is for the first time in over 100 years that global tiger population is on a rise," said S P Yadav, Assistant Secretary General for GTF.
India with 2226 has the highest population of wild tigers in the world followed by Russia at 433 and Indonesia has 371 wild cats.
Interestingly, China having the largest market of tiger body parts has just over 7 tigers. Evidence of tigers is only found in Northeast China in Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces. A field survey of Heilongjaing Province is underway with results expected later in 2016.
“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.
There were 100,000 wild tigers 100 years ago. By 2010, there were as few as 3,200. In 2010, tiger range governments agreed to act to double wild tigers by the next Chinese Year of the Tiger in 2022. This goal is known as Tx2.
The meeting of tiger range governments at the 3rd Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation this week is the latest step in the Global Tiger Initiative process that began with the 2010 Tiger Summit in Russia.
“This is a critical meeting taking place at the halfway point in the Tx2 goal,” said Dr Rajesh Gopal, Secretary General, Global Tiger Forum. “Tiger governments will decide the next steps towards achieving this goal and ensuring wild tigers have a place in Asia’s future.”
In order for countries to protect their tigers, it is essential that they know their tiger populations and the threats they face.
In 2014, tiger range governments agreed to announce a new global tiger estimate by 2016, based on full, systematic national surveys. However, not all countries have completed or published these surveys.
The new minimum estimate of close to 3,900 tigers is based on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species account for tigers, updated for countries where national tiger surveys have taken place since the IUCN assessment.