- Issue: Fall 2018
A population boon
In 2016, WWF shared some good news: For the first time in conservation history, reported wild tiger numbers were increasing. The best available data showed a wild tiger count of around 3,900—up from as few as 3,200 seven years before.
This announcement came six years into the Tx2 initiative, a global collaboration among 13 tiger range country governments and international organizations that had committed in 2010 to doubling the number of wild tigers by 2022. The new estimates indicated that the Tx2 approach—protecting critical tiger habitat, fighting poaching, and improving our data on tigers—were working. With six years left in the initiative, the future looked challenging, but cautiously optimistic.
Kazakhstan joins the team
In September 2017, the Republic of Kazakhstan and WWF announced a plan to reintroduce tigers into the Ili-Balkhash region, a historic tiger habitat where tigers have been extinct for 70 years. If successful, Kazakhstan would be the first country to reintroduce tigers in Central Asia.
In early 2018, WWF released a report on the rise of human-tiger conflict in the Russian Far East. As tiger populations have grown, so have instances of human-tiger conflict. While tigers rarely attack humans, tigers may kill livestock or dogs, and are often injured or killed in retaliation. In response, WWF has developed teams of human-tiger conflict responders who are trained to monitor and de-escalate the situation and redirect the tiger back into its natural habitat.
Tiger survey shows work to be done
In early 2018, a team from 11 conservation organizations and tiger range governments conducted a rapid assessment of site-based tiger conservation across Asia. This survey found that only 13% of the conservation areas reviewed met global standards, and at least one-third were at serious risk of losing their tigers due to lack of anti-poaching resources. Doubling the number of wild tigers will take a redoubling of efforts to keep the 2022 goal in sight.