Saving threatened habitats worldwide

How significant is the increase in tiger population?

12 April, 2016 - 15:57 -- John Burton
Bengal Tiger.

The announcement that the tiger population has increased was national news, but just how significant is it?

Call me cynical, but I am not sure how good the news is, simply because over the years the numbers have fluctuated hugely depending on the methods used to calculate, and who has done the calculations. With less than 4,000 tigers left in the wild (there are far more in captivity) the situation for them remains precarious.

Things we do know: numbers of tigers have certainly increased in some of the reserves and the habitat available to tigers is still decreasing. 

What we also know is that creating corridors of natural habitat between protected areas is even more important than it was a few decades ago. Human population pressure is now a major factor in preventing the spread of tigers, and the good news is that World Land Trust (WLT) has recently been able to allocate £100,000 towards acquiring land and helping villagers relocate away from tiger danger, in order to create wildlife corridors.

Those people living in areas adjacent to national parks, forest reserves and other protected areas where tigers are present, often live in constant fear – after all humans fall within the natural range of prey for tigers. Tigers also attack the villagers’ livestock.

Consequently, rehousing those people away from the corridors is often a popular choice. Using funds raised by WLT our Partner organisation, Wildlife Trust of India, have already completed several corridors, which in addition to benefitting tigers also help elephants and other wildlife extend their territories.

WLT has been helped in our fundraising efforts by David Gower, one of the Trust’s Patrons, who is particularly popular in India.  A few years ago he visited Mumbai to launch the Indian Elephant Corridors Appeal.

Indian conservationists and the Indian government are to be congratulated for their efforts to conserve the tiger – imagine what it is like to have one of the world’s largest predators roaming the countryside.

 

Comments

A very good point - I wondered the same myself when I read the news. I suppose it depends on our reaction to it. If the general population see it as some kind of permanent victory then the risk is we'll believe we can rest on our laurels. BUT, sometimes we need a little good news and encouragement (in the midst of some of the awful stories) to continue with the hard work - in that sense, the 'significance' will be in the impetus it maintains, rather than the actual numbers.

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