India’s wild tiger population is estimated to now exceed 3,600, according to new government figures, in a vindication of conservation efforts for the endangered species.
Tigers once roamed throughout central, eastern and southern Asia, but have lost nearly 95 percent of their historical range in the past century. India is currently home to 75 percent of the world’s tigers, and the country declared its population of the big cats had risen to 3,167 in April after a camera-based survey.
Further analysis of the same survey data by the Wildlife Institute of India found that average tiger numbers were better estimated at 3,682 across the country, the government said. The numbers reflected “a commendable annual growth rate of 6.1 percent per annum,” it said.
Deforestation, poaching and human encroachment on habitats have devastated tiger populations across Asia. (AFP)