KUALA LUMPUR, 20 January 2015: Conservationists in India are celebrating a significant increase in tiger numbers this week following the release of the country’s 2014-15 population estimate report.
Thanks to improved management of reserves and protected areas, tiger numbers have jumped from 1,411 in 2006 to 2,226 in 2014 with over one third of this increase occurring within the past four years.
The report, published by the Indian Government’s National Tiger Conservation Authority, reinforces the need for undisturbed habitats, habitat connectivity and protection from poaching for tigers and their prey.
The results are part of a collective effort between countries with tiger populations to double global tiger numbers, a goal known as Tx2. An essential part of this project is for countries to establish accurate population estimates.
The 2014 tiger census from India is the largest and most thorough undertaken; covering 18 states with more than 300,000 square km surveyed including areas outside tiger reserves.
“To undertake a census at this scale reflects the dedication, experience and leadership of the Indian National Tiger Conservation Authority,” said Mike Baltzer, Leader of WWF’s Tigers Alive Initiative. “However this investment and hard work can so easily be undone by poachers and it is imperative all tiger governments step up efforts to achieve zero poaching.”
The results have boosted optimism among conservationists, proving that even in densely populated and economically booming Asia, ambitious targets for species recovery can be achieved.
“This demonstrates that species conservation works, especially when it brings together political will, strong science and dedicated field efforts,” said Ravi Singh, Secretary General and CEO of WWF-India.
This year Russia will carry out a full range Amur tiger survey, with surveys also expected from Bangladesh, China, Nepal and Bhutan. Comprehensive surveys are urgently required in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
Poaching remains the greatest threat to wild tigers with tiger parts in high demand throughout Asia.
In February, one of the most significant anti-poaching meetings ever held, ‘Symposium: Towards Zero Poaching: Asia’, will be hosted by the Nepalese government.
This ‘real skills’ event will be attended by more than 13 Asian governments, with the objective to launch an immediate, coordinated region-wide effort to halt poaching across Asia.
For further information:
Alison Harley, Sr. Communications Manager, WWF Tigers Alive Initiative
firstname.lastname@example.org, +60 122807402
Dr. Dipankar Ghose, Director-Species & Landscape Programme, WWF–India
011 41504782, email@example.com