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article imageLatest numbers show tiger population in India up by 30 percent

By Marcus Hondro     Jan 21, 2015 in Environment
On Tuesday wildlife officials in India released numbers showing that over the past three years the population of the tiger in that country has increased by almost one-third. It's being hailed as welcome news by the government and tiger activists.
India: creating tiger reserves
The figures for 2014 show 2,226 tigers in the country, that's up from a tiger population of 1,706 in 2011. Reasons for the increase include a cracking down on poaching and on trading of tiger parts, efforts to protect tigers from the encroachment of human societies and the creating of special tiger reserves staffed by the government.
“While the tiger population is falling in the world, it is rising in India. We have increased by 30 per cent from the last count. That is a huge success story,” Environment minister, Prakash Javadekar, said of the increase. “That is why we want to create more tiger reserves."
India is home to about 70 percent of the world's surviving tigers and with so much of their natural habitat taken or encroached upon by humans in India, tiger reserves are believed by many to be a necessity. Belinda Wright of the Wildlife Protection Society of India said the increase was "very good news" for the tiger.
Tigers on endangered list
The 'International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List' lists the tiger as an endangered species and before these latest figures their entire population was thought to be as few as 3,200 and no more than 3,900.
At the beginning of the 20th century there were over 100,000 tigers on the planet. Habitat destruction and fragmentation — 93 percent of the tiger's natural habitat has been taken from them — along with poaching are the reasons for the terrible decline.
There are other countries besides India that have enacted measures to protect the tiger. In China last month a wealthy businessman was sentenced to 13 years for buying and eating three tigers. Others were sentenced to lesser prison terms along with him.
Despite measures to protect the tiger in India, in 2013 officials say 43 tigers were killed by poachers, the highest number of tiger deaths by poachers since 2005.
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