Tigers have made a 'remarkable comeback' in five countries

Tigers have made a ‘remarkable comeback’ in India and Nepal 10 years after conservationists launched an ambitious scheme to double their worldwide population by 2022

  • WWF started the TX2 initiative to double tiger numbers in a decade in 2010
  • Say populations of tigers are thriving in Bhutan, China, India, China and Russia 
  • Charity says that, despite progress being made, the predators still face threats from poaching and habitat loss  

Tiger populations are thriving in five countries around the world after making a remarkable comeback, according to the WWF. 

The conservation charity says wild tiger numbers are rising in Bhutan, China, India, Nepal and Russia. 

It comes a decade after the launch of TX2, an ambitious project to double population numbers of the predator by 2022.

When the project launched in 2010, it was estimated just 3,200 tigers lived in the wild across 13 countries known to be home to the animals. 

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WWF says numbers of wild tigers are rising in Bhutan, China, India, Nepal and Russia. It comes a decade after the launch of an ambitious project to double numbers of the predator called TX2. Pictured, two female Bengal tiger cubs in India 

TX2 hopes to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022, the next Chinese Year of the Tiger.

In India, wild tiger numbers have more than doubled between 2006 and 2018 to an estimated 3,350 animals – around 75 per cent of the global population.  

Nepal’s population of tigers had nearly doubled by 2018, up from 121 individuals in 2009 to 235 just under a decade later.

The population in Nepal’s Bardia National Park alone has increased from just 18 tigers in 2008 to 87 in 2018, the wildlife charity said.

More than 2,300 endangered tigers have been killed and illegally trafficked since the turn of the century, according to a new report. 

Conservation group Traffic published the shocking figures, this week, and urged more action to protect the giant cats.

With an average of more than 120 illegally trafficked tigers seized each year – more than two each week  – since year 2000, they warned there was little sign of respite for the species.

In fact, the organisation warned that we could be ‘losing’ the battle to ensure they remain extant. 

Report author Kanitha Krishnasamy, who heads Traffic’s Southeast Asia operations, said the numbers were deeply concerning. 

‘It looks like we are losing this fight,’ she told AFP. 

In Russia, Amur tiger numbers have increased by 15 per cent in the past 10 years to around 540 animals.

In Bhutan’s Royal Manas National Park the population rose from only 10 tigers a decade ago to 22 in 2019.

In 2010 China had no more than 20 wild tigers, most of which had crossed the border from Russia.

But the country recorded a landmark moment in 2014 when camera traps captured footage of a tigress and her cubs in Jilin Wangqing Nature Reserve, indicating that tigers were breeding in China again and dispersing into new areas.

Becci May, regional manager, Asian Big Cats, at WWF UK, said: ‘Ten years ago, tigers were in such a perilous state that there was a very real risk of them becoming extinct in the wild.

‘From that population low in 2010, they are finally making a remarkable comeback in much of South Asia, Russia and China, thanks to co-ordinated and concerted conservation efforts in these countries.

‘This is an achievement that not only offers a future for tigers in the wild, but for the landscapes they inhabit and the communities living alongside this iconic big cat.’

There are still only around 3,900 tigers in the wild, where they are under threat from poaching for the illegal wildlife trade, and the destruction and breaking up of their habitat across much of their range, WWF said.

The key to helping wild tiger populations recover is to focus on conserving landscapes where they can thrive and ensuring communities in these wildlife-rich areas are supported and included in conservation, the organisation said.

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