“The number of wild tigers has been revised to 3,890, based on the best available data,” said WWF and the Global Tiger Forum (GTF).
The groups said the updated minimum figure, compiled from International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) data and the latest national tiger surveys, indicates an increase on the 2010 estimate of 3,200 tigers then.
This increase is being attributed to multiple factors, including increases in tiger populations in India, Russia, Nepal and Bhutan, improved surveys and enhanced protection.
The report comes a day before the Prime Minister inaugurates the third Asia Ministerial Conference on tiger conservation where tiger range countries will discuss key issues, including anti-poaching strategies.
The conference is the latest step in the Global Tiger Initiative process that began with the Tiger Summit in Russia in 2010 where governments agreed to the Tx2 goal to double wild tiger numbers by 2022.
“For the first time after decades of constant decline, tiger numbers are on the rise. This offers us great hope and shows that we can save species and their habitats when governments, local communities and conservationists work together,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International.
According to the latest survey, India’s tiger count stands at 2,226 while Russia, who holds the second highest number of wildcats, has only 433 tigers. Indonesia has 371 tigers and Malaysia 250.
Other countries which are home to tigers are Nepal, Thailand, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, China and Laos.
In 2014, tiger range governments agreed to announce a new global tiger estimate by 2016, based on full, systematic national surveys.
However, not all countries have completed or published these surveys and the new minimum estimate of close to 3,900 tigers is based on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species account for tigers, updated for countries where national tiger surveys have taken place since the IUCN assessment.
(With inputs from PTI)