On Sunday, April 10th, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Global Tiger Forum (GTF) issued a report stating the world’s wild tiger population was on the rise for the first time in a century.
Panthera’s Senior Tiger Program Director Dr. John Goodrich shared:
“The expansion and precision of tiger population monitoring and the resulting baseline data spike on the number of wild tigers that remain across Asia is an extraordinary accomplishment and testament to tiger range states’ dedication to saving their national heritage. However, the latest report of an increase in the world’s global tiger population is based on the compilation of greater and better data due to these improved monitoring efforts, rather than valid, scientific evidence of tiger population increases.
In order to demonstrate true change in tiger numbers and accurately monitor and conserve the species, nothing short of scientific, country-wide population comparisons and the best available science must be implemented across tiger range states.”
Headlines are currently promoting impressive growth, from 3,200 or fewer wild tigers in 2010 to 3,890 individuals claimed to exist today. While valid scientific surveys demonstrating growth in countries’ overall tiger numbers remain to be seen, there now exists much stronger data from many states, such as Bhutan, India and Nepal, since 2010, which suggest more than 3,200 tigers may in fact exist in the wild. At the same time, new data published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature has also confirmed that the tiger has lost 40% of its range since 2010.
The latest reports must not alter the international community’s perception of the state of this species, or lessen contributions to ensure its survival. Tigers continue to be persecuted across their range - threatened by poaching for the illegal wildlife trade, deforestation and conflict with people when tiger prey is overhunted. Better law enforcement and rigorous scientific monitoring of tigers, their prey, and even of human effort, are all needed in order to protect wild tigers.
The development of technologically advanced cameras, such as Panthera’s PoacherCam, increases in survey teams and other efforts have drastically improved tiger monitoring initiatives in the past five years, but many improvements in the conservation community are required to reach our maximum potential.
Panthera’s Tigers Forever program is leading or supporting conservation efforts at key sites across six tiger range states. Learn more.
Panthera, founded in 2006, is devoted exclusively to the conservation of wild cats and their landscapes, which sustain people and biodiversity. Panthera’s team of preeminent cat biologists develop and implement science-based conservation strategies for cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, lions, pumas, snow leopards and tigers. Representing the most comprehensive effort of its kind, Panthera works in partnership with NGOs, scientific institutions, communities, corporations and governments to create effective, replicable models that are saving wild cats around the globe. For more information, visit Panthera.org