Double Tigers


Tigers have captivated people and cultures throughout history. It is the largest of the world’s big cats and one of the most fearsome predators on Earth. It is also perilously close to extinction.

Cub greeting father tiger

A century ago, perhaps 100,000 wild tigers roamed the Earth. By the start of the 21st century, that number had plummeted by an estimated 95% due to rampant poaching and habitat destruction. Historically, tigers once ranged widely across Asia, but in recent decades, populations have been restricted to 13 countries, namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia (locally extinct), China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR (locally extinct), Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, and Viet Nam (locally extinct).

In 2010, when the tiger population had dipped to as few as 3,200, leaders from the 13 countries that currently or recently had tigers came together and set out to achieve an unprecedented goal: doubling the number of tigers in the wild by 2022, the next Chinese Year of the Tiger. Partnering with the 13 range country governments and other organizations, WWF played a critical role in creating a shared vision for tiger conservation by committing to the same goal. Known as TX2, this is probably the most ambitious global recovery effort ever undertaken for a single species and a significant turning point for tiger conservation. TX2 works across broad landscapes and encourages trans-boundary collaboration through a strategic, long-term approach that increases protection where the tigers are currently, maintains or restores wildlife corridors and connectivity between areas, and boosts resources and protection to secure a future for tigers when their numbers have increased. The ultimate success of tiger recovery will be measured by the overall status of wild tiger populations.

What does the world gain when we protect tigers?

Tigers and the habitat they live in provide untold benefits to people, other wildlife, and the climate. Tom Gray, who is the Tiger Scientist at WWF's Tigers Alive Initiative, explains what's at risk if we were to lose tigers.

Tiger walking in tall grass in a beautiful golden light

Why It Matters

  • Balanced Ecosystems

    Tigers are more than just magnificent animals—they’re also crucial for the health of their habitats. As top predators, tigers keep populations of prey species in check which, in turn, maintains the balance between herbivores and the vegetation upon which they feed. Investing in securing the tiger’s future will also protect thousands of other species that share their habitat in some of the most biodiverse areas on earth. These balanced ecosystems are not only important for wildlife, but for people, too.

  • Healthy Forests and Watersheds

    Every time we protect a tiger, we protect an estimated 25,000 acres of forest. People rely on forests, either directly for their livelihoods or indirectly for food and products. As climate change becomes more severe, natural forests grow increasingly important to counter the effects; they provide fresh water, clean air, and capture the heat-trapping gases that contribute to extreme weather, such as droughts and storms, and secure ecosystem services that also provide for economic expansion in Asia. By protecting tigers, we're keeping their forest healthy. Tigers also live in major watersheds, and by protecting those areas we can help secure the freshwater that more than 800 million people rely on in large parts of Asia.

  • Helping Local Communities

    Tigers can directly help some of the world’s poorest communities through revenue and employment opportunities generated by tourism. Tiger conservation projects can also help provide alternative livelihoods for rural communities that are not only more sustainable but can also raise income levels. Collaborative conservation efforts among stakeholders like governments, communities, and other organizations continue to prevent poaching, habitat encroachment, and human-wildlife conflict. By doing so, they're protecting tigers and those who depend on them for their livelihoods.

What WWF Is Doing

Tigers play on a fallen branch

The year 2016 marked the halfway point of Tx2, with wild tigers recorded at around 3,900. Our vision is to ensure the survival of wild tigers. WWF is dedicated to achieving the ambitious global goal of 6,000+ wild tigers. To make that a reality, we need to protect, restore, and connect tiger habitat, end the illegal wildlife trade—including improving law enforcement and eliminating tiger farms—reduce demand for tiger products, and help tigers and local communities safely coexist. Protecting the places where tigers live, breed, and disperse is the backbone of the Tx2 recovery strategy. WWF and our partners are working with world leaders to ensure tigers remain a top priority. And with partners like TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, we’re tackling the illegal trade in tiger products.