A wildlife camera catches a tiger walking at night in Bardia National Park, Nepal. Courtesy of WWF.

Increase in wild tigers marks a significant milestone

April 14, 2016

Increase in wild tigers marks a significant milestone

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Global Tiger Forum (GTF) announced that the overall number of wild tigers has increased for the first time after more than 100 years of constant decline.

WWF has been working to conserve tigers for more than 50 years, and currently works to protect tigers and their critical habitat in 13 landscapes. As part of this work, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) has been a significant supporter of tiger recovery, committing $6.2 million to fund tiger conservation efforts with WWF since 2010, when alongside WWF it first announced support for the goal of doubling the number of wild tigers globally by 2022.

The number of wild tigers has been revised upwards to 3,890 ahead. This updated figure, compiled from IUCN data and the latest national tiger surveys, indicates an increase from the 2010 estimate of 3,200.

“We’ve watched tigers decline for decades and have dreamed of bending that curve in the other direction,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund (WWF). “In a sea of bad news on the environment, the global wild tiger population is experiencing a sustained increase for the first time in 100 years. We see that leaders matter. Communities matter. And coalitions matter. Now is the moment to amplify these efforts and achieve our shared dream to double the wild tiger population by 2022. Together with partners like LDF and others, we have a chance to make tigers one of the great comeback stories in conservation.”

Tigers are some of the most vital and beloved animals on Earth.  Nepal is one of the great leaders in tiger conservation and… these efforts are improving conservation measures and strengthening wildlife trade controls through improved cooperation with India. I am so proud that these efforts have begun increasing tiger populations – but there is still so much to be done to reach our goal. I am optimistic about what can be achieved when governments, communities, conservationists and private foundations like ours come together to tackle global challenges. — Leonardo DiCaprio

Together with WWF, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has supported efforts to double tigers in the wild. In Nepal that includes helping to support new protected areas in the Parsa and Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserves, and Bardia, Banke, and Chitwan National Parks.

The meeting of governments at the 3rd Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation was the latest step in the Global Tiger Initiative process that began in 2010. Over the three day meeting, countries reported on their progress toward the Tx2 goal and committing to next steps. The current tallies of Tiger populations are as follows:

  • Bangladesh: 106
  • Bhutan: 103
  • Cambodia: 0
  • China: 7+
  • India: 2,226
  • Indonesia: 371
  • Laos: 2
  • Malaysia: 250
  • Myanmar: previously 85 (not included as data is outdated)
  • Nepal: 198
  • Russia: 433
  • Thailand: 189
  • Vietnam: under 5

“A strong action plan for the next six years is vital,” said Michael Baltzer, Leader of WWF Tx2 Tiger Initiative. “The global decline has been halted but there is still no safe place for tigers. Southeast Asia, in particular, is at imminent risk of losing its tigers if these governments do not take action immediately.”

The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is supporting two key tiger habitat projects — in  Nepal and in Sumatra, Indonesia. For more information about tigers visit the Save Tigers Now website.

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