A recent study provides new hope for the endangered tiger population.
The population of the iconic tiger has declined significantly over the years and the prime reasons are poaching, retaliatory killing and widespread habitat loss. So the idea of their rebounding appeared nothing more than a wild ambition under those circumstances.
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A new study provides a glimpse of hope for the endangered tiger population. Using satellite imagery, researchers looked at the forest loss data within 76 landscapes across 13 countries that harbor tiger populations and concluded that there was enough remaining wild habitat to allow the big cat’s population to double in just the next six years as long as those forested areas are not destroyed and remain protected.
Researchers found that the loss of the tiger’s habitat from 2001 to 2014 is far less than anticipated and it is something they found remarkable and unexpected.
“Most encouraging was that loss was less than expected in the 51 tiger reserves. This suggests that if future habitat loss is prevented, the tiger recovery in some range states will accelerate. In these promising locales of enhanced protection, a doubling of the tiger population could be attainable by 2022.” Study says.
The habitat loss was unevenly distributed with 29 landscapes deemed the most critical for increasing tiger population, 19 showed little changes while 10 constitutes more than 98% of habitat loss.
The most encouraging situation appears to be in countries like India and Nepal where tiger populations have increased 61% and 31% respectively thanks to the rigorous conservation efforts and reforestation. The greatest loss was observed in Indonesia, Malaysia and Laos where the lack of law enforcement and the expansion of oil palm plantations led to the widespread deforestation.
Currently, the global population of wild tigers is dangerously low, less than 3500 individuals worldwide but with better protection, constant tracking and monitoring alongside timely action, the numbers can be increased up to 6,400 tigers by 2022.
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“Doubling the tiger population by 2022 requires moving beyond annual changes in habitat. We highlight, near–real-time forest monitoring technologies that provide alerts of forest loss at relevant spatial and temporal scales to prevent further erosion.” Authors wrote in the study.