WWF Welcome Increase in Indian Tiger Numbers

Posted on August 9th 2011

WWF charity officials are pleased to see that the number of Tigers in India has increased, but at the same time are concerned about the dangerous decline in their surrounding natural habitat. Figures from the world’s largest tiger population study, carried out by the Indian government, shows encouraging statistics that proves the work WWF are carrying out is starting to bear fruit, but all this hard work could be undone through a lack of suitable surroundings.

The ‘Status of Tigers, co predators and prey in India, 2010’ figures were released last week and showed a 20% increase in tiger numbers in the last 5 years to an estimated population of 1,706. These figures were tallied after a countrywide assessment of all 17 tiger states, which involved a massive 477,000 work-days by forest staff and 37,000 work-days by professional biologists!

Secretary general and CEO of WWF-India, Ravi Singh, said –

After the 2006 pan India tiger population estimation, the present exercise is even more comprehensive in terms of the area covered and methodologies used. The involvement of conservation partners, including WWF, has led to broad based efforts and built a stronger constituency and capacity for tiger conservation in India.

Even though these figure represent great news, tigers are still in danger as 12.6% of their habitat has been lost since the research started in 2006. This means that more tigers are being squeezed into smaller areas, causing an increase in human contact which in turn can lead to deaths on both sides. Tigers require good sized forests and prey to survive and breed. Thanks to this in depth report, hopefully India will put into place long term development plans to secure the future for their country’s most iconic species.

Lead author of the report, Dr. Y V Jhala, said –

The loss of corridors does not bode well for the tiger. Poaching can wipe out individual tiger populations, but these can be re-established by reintroductions as has been done in the Sariska and Panna Reserves. However, once habitats are lost, it is almost impossible to claim them back for restoration.

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