Tiger Numbers Seen Rising For First Time In 100 Years | WBEZ
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Tiger Numbers Seen Rising For First Time In 100 Years

(Photo:Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)

The number of tigers in the wild has risen from an estimated 3,200 in 2010 to around 3,890 in 2016 – a gain of more than 20 percent, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The group cites tigers' rising numbers in at least four countries: India, Russia, Nepal, and Bhutan.

"This is a pivotal step in the recovery of one of the world's most endangered and iconic species," said Ginette Hemley, senior vice president of wildlife conservation at WWF

The findings are being praised as a key step toward a lofty goal that was set in 2010: to double the number of wild tiger populations worldwide by 2022. The survey gives a progress report at that initiative's halfway mark.

The WWF cites factors from better survey processes to enhanced protections in explaining the gains. But it adds that the world's tigers remain threatened by shrinking habitats in Asia and are also a prime target for poachers.

"Every part of the tiger—from whisker to tail—is traded in illegal wildlife markets, feeding a multi-billion dollar criminal network," the organization says.

Early in the 20th century, the world had more than 100,000 tigers in it, as the author Caroline Fraser wrote in a report for Yale University back in 2010.

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