A new study provides hope for tigers.
A new study has some very good news for tigers — if authorities follow through with the recommendations.
The tiger population could be doubled by 2022 — a notion first advanced at a 2010 summit in Russia and dismissed as an overly ambitious proposal. But now, scientists think it’s not so crazy after all, according to a University of Minnesota statement.
The study, which was published in the journal Science Advances, used data from Google Earth and Global Forest Watch to measure forest loss in 76 tiger landscapes in 13 countries. The study found that there was enough habitat remaining that would allow their numbers to double to 6,400 tigers, as long as authorities are able to protect those remaining forests.
The reason why scientists are so optimistic is because habitat loss was less than expected — just a 7.7 percent decline in 14 years.
Tiger populations have been increasing in India and Nepal by leaps and bounds thanks to reforestation programs, as well as efforts to protect them. Things aren’t going as well in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Laos due to lax law enforcement and growing deforestation.
However, with some sturdy conservation efforts, there’s no reason to think that tiger populations can’t rebound, authors say.
“Tiger populations can rebound quickly when habitat and prey are abundant and hunting is controlled,” the statement reads. “For example, Nepal and India have reported 61 and 31 percent increases in their tiger populations, respectively. This is partly thanks to conservation initiatives like the preservation of the cross-boundary Terai Arc Landscape. Reaching the Tx2 goal will require that any significant future tiger habitat loss is prevented, key corridors are restored between remaining forest fragments, nations implement green infrastructure to prevent habitat fragmentation, and conservation managers translocate and reintroducetiger populations where necessary.”