Global Tiger Numbers Increase for the First Time in 100 Years

Machali by Christopher Kray. CC BY 2.0
Machali by Christopher Kray. CC BY 2.0

Notice: A few days after the article that this post is based on was released, contradictory reports emerged. Many scientists feel that the global tiger population has not increased, but that we have simply gotten better at counting them. Click here for a summary of some of those claims

This article from National Geographic’s Brian Clark Howard provides the perfect counter to last week’s dismal news. For the first time in 100 years, global tiger (Panthera tigris) numbers are on the rise.

This success is the result of intense conservation efforts that have focused on curtailing poaching, connecting tiger habitats, compensating local people for tiger-related damages, and eco-tourism. India has especially capitalized on the latter opportunity, which is part of the reason its tiger population has grown to 2,226 individuals (up from 1,706 five years ago). This is important, because India’s tigers still possess more than 60% of the species’ genetic diversity. This makes them incredibly valuable for Panthera tigris’ long-term recovery (Mondol, Karanth, and Ramakrishnan, 2009). Tiger populations have also increased in Russia, Nepal, and Bhutan. This brings the worldwide total to 3,890 wild tigers.

While this news is cause to celebrate, tigers are still in danger. The demand for tiger products in Traditional Asian Medicine (TAM) remains high, fueling continued poaching. According to Howard’s story, the tiger’s future will not be secured until this demand is brought under control.

All-in-all, the underlying tone of National Geographic’s recent article is one of cautious optimism. It shows why it is important to never give up on tigers. Not long ago their fate was considered sealed: there was a great deal of pessimism concerning their prospects. But thanks to groups like the National Geographic Society, Panthera, and individuals like you and I; the tide is starting to turn.

Click here for the original article. You will not be disappointed.

27 Thoughts

    1. You’re absolutely right Paul. We have to keep addressing poaching, because that’s the single biggest threat to tigers right now. But now it looks like it’s not an insurmountable task. Intensifying anti-poaching efforts might even lead to bigger gains in tiger numbers.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It certainly is great! Many governments around the world came together in 2010 to agree on a global strategy to reverse the decline of tigers, and it looks like that plan is working…slowly. If we intensify our efforts we might be able to keep tiger numbers from falling again. We might even meet the goal of doubling wild tiger numbers by 2022. There’s a long way to go yet, but it finally feels like it’s not an impossible goal.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This article affirms the importance of conservation awareness and how to curtail endangerment. Those like you who continue to education and inform have made a difference in issues concerning preservation. Good learning things are beginning to turn around.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it shows that all the time spent on conserving endangered species isn’t being wasted. If we can reverse the decline of tigers, who are facing threats that at first appeared insurmountable, then we must be doing something right. The fight to save the tiger is far from over, but this story serves as a much-needed morale booster.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is great to get a drop of positive news that validates the hard work of so many people. Much to do, though to reduce demand for tiger products and protect their habitats.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was when I first read that article too, but a few days later contradictory reports were released. It seems we still aren’t quite sure if tiger numbers are truly increasing. Here’s a summary of one of those reports:

      I apologize for getting you so excited and then bringing you back down again :( I’ll edit this post to be less misleading.


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