Once at risk of becoming extinct in the wild, tigers are now making a remarkable comeback.
Paw prints belonging to a Siberian tiger have been spotted in Russia’s largest province for the first time in 50 years, according to the country’s state-run news agency. The sighting in Sakha is a further sign that the big cats are recovering after being pushed to the brink of extinction by logging and hunting, with numbers dropping to just 40 by the 1950s.
The former Soviet Union became the first country to grant the tiger full protection, and president Putin has introduced tough penalties for those caught hunting the cats. Today, there are an estimated 600 Siberian tigers in the wild.
And the good news extends far beyond Russia. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) says that wild populations are increasing in four other countries, as the charity marks the ten year anniversary of TX2, an ambitious drive to double wild tigers numbers by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger.
Numbers are also on the up in Bhutan, China, India and Nepal. The WWF initiative was launched in 2010 when there were estimated to be as few as 3,200 wild tigers remaining. In some of these regions, the numbers have since doubled.
Becci May, at WWF UK, says: “Ten years ago, tigers were in such a perilous state, that there was a very real risk of them becoming extinct in the wild. From that population low in 2010, they are finally making a remarkable comeback in much of South Asia, Russia and China, thanks to co-ordinated and concerted conservation efforts in these countries.”
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