Wildlife | VOL. 13, ISSUE 81, November-December 2013

Big Cat Conservation

Tigers are key to the health of an ecosystem with the top predator helping to keep prey populations in check, thus ensuring sustainability of a habitat. Forests and wildlife are often viewed by political establishments as impediment to progress, resulting in exacerbating pressures on our last remaining wild spaces. Adhoc developmental activities are often needlessly fragmenting large natural landscapes, hastening their decline. It is not a question of saving the tigers alone; what needs to be understood is the crisis that will set in due to falling tiger numbers.   World tiger population: According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for nature, though there are no accurate estimates of the world tiger population, numbers may have fallen by over 95 per cent since the turn of the 20th century – down from perhaps 100,000 to the current estimate of as few as 3,200. The Bali, Javan and Caspian tiger have been extinct since the 1980s. The goal of the Global Tiger Recovery Programme of Global Tiger Initiative (GTI), endorsed by 13 tiger range countries including India in 2010, is to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022. The global tiger population is represented in fig 1. GTI, launched in 2008 by founding partners the World Bank, Global Environment Facility, Smithsonian Institution, Save the Tiger Fund, and International Tiger Coalition (representing more than...

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