As we enter the 2022 Year of the Tiger (01 Feb), WWF has looked at some of the ways the decline in wild tiger numbers has been reversed over the past 12 years and the threats that remain to the future of this iconic big cat.
From an estimated population of around 100,000 a century ago, wild tiger numbers hit an all-time low of as few as 3,200 in 2010, the last Year of the Tiger.
That year, the governments of 13 countries which had, or used to have, wild tigers came together for the first time at a summit in St Petersburg where they committed to double the number of wild tigers by 2022, the next lunar Year of the Tiger.
WWF’s ‘Impact on Tiger Recovery 2010-2022’ report brings together more than a decade of work and collaboration with partners on tiger conservation and details both the lessons learned and the challenges that remain.
India reported an estimate of 2,967 wild tigers in 2018 – up from an estimated 1,411 tigers in 2006 – and the adoption of the Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CA|TS) partnership across all the country’s 50 tiger reserves.
Forest has been restored through community stewardship in the Khata corridor, a transboundary wildlife corridor between Nepal and India that has been used by 46 individual tigers and other wildlife in the last five years.
The world’s largest tiger protected area has been designated in China: a massive 14,500 square km park along the Russia-China-North Korea border.
Tiger numbers have tripled in the Land of the Leopard National Park in eastern Russia, thanks to effective action to tackle poaching of tiger prey and forest fires.
Tiger numbers have doubled in Bhutan’s Royal Manas National Park since 2012, helped by use of the SMART monitoring tool and other conservation measures.
Despite considerable progress, the gains have not been uniform across tiger range countries; there have been declines in Malaysia and tigers now thought to be extinct in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.