A century ago, scientists estimate that there were around 100,000 tigers living in the wild.
By the year 2000, that number had dropped by over 95% due to poaching and habitat destruction.
In 2010, several countries joined the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) in a bold initiative to double the number of wild tigers by 2022.
The initiative, known as TX2, is considered to be the most ambitious global recovery effort ever undertaken for a single species.
And now, the program is starting to yield some success stories.
The number of tigers in India has doubled since 2006 and now contains about ¾ of the world’s entire population.
Nepal’s population has also nearly doubled since the beginning of TX2, going from 120 individuals to over 230.
Russia’s tigers have seen a 15% population increase since 2010, and Bhutan’s tiger population has also doubled (although that still only puts them at around 20 wild tigers).
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China’s tiger population, which was at about 20 at the turn of the century, has also seen some significant progress.
The country recorded a milestone moment in 2014 when camera traps captured footage of a tigress and her cubs in Wangqing Nature Reserve, indicating that tigers were breeding in China again.
Although tigers are still critically endangered, these rising numbers are a good sign.
“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 coordinated and concerted conservation efforts in these countries,” says Becci May of the WWF.
“This is an achievement that not only offers a future for tigers in the wild but for the landscapes they inhabit and the communities living alongside this iconic big cat.”