Finally, some good news for tigers. World population in the wild has risen sharply in recent years, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said in a new survey largely driven by conservation successes in India, Russia and in Nepal. According to data collected by the World Wild Fund (WWF) and the Global Tiger Forum, there are now 3,890 tigers living in the wild.
In 2010, at the last census, there were 3,200 individuals. The countries pledge to double the population by 2022.
These figures are explained by the creation of protected areas and anti-poaching patrols. “They must, however, be taken with care,” nuance Renaud Fulconis, director of the French NGO Awely, animals and men, which fights against the illegal trade in tigers. “They can indeed be the result of improved counting methods. “
At the beginning of the twentieth century, 100,000 tigers lived in the wild in the world
Stéphane Ringuet, Traffic Program Manager at WWF, a surveillance network for wildlife trade, highlights the difficulty of the census. “The count is done nationally. Teams in the field will see tigers directly and note their characteristics, or will place trap cameras, look for fingerprints or excrement, which will then allow them to extract information and index felines, “says the specialist.
Work over several years, which depends on the goodwill of the States but which also helps to define the areas to be protected. “This inventory makes it possible to notice the important crossing points of tigers, where it is therefore necessary to create supervised and controlled areas,” explains Mr. Ringuet. In 2015, India decided to create three new reserves, encouraged by a report on the growth of the tiger population in the country.
Threatened by poaching
In the 1900s, 100,000 of these felines lived in the wild. Today, the feline is classified as “Endangered” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List. Distributed in 13 countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam), wild animals are mainly threatened by poaching and illegal trade.
For nearly a thousand years, the feline has been inspiring traditional Chinese medicine. “All parts of the tiger are used, because it is lent medicinal virtues actually false,” says Renaud Fulconis. The “tiger wine”, taken from the bones of the animal, would be aphrodisiac, claws and teeth would cure fever and insomnia, eyeballs and bile would fight epilepsy, the brain would be good against fatigue and buttons.
In China and Vietnam, the new political and economic elites snatch the animal and adorn their salons with feline heads. “For the buyers, it is a powerful animal, consume it and have it in decoration shows their own power,” says Fulconis. Since 1981, however, China has acceded to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Created in 1975, the Cites ban any exchange of “tiger products”.
Another threat is the increase in human activities. The habitat areas of the fawn have been drastically reduced for several years: at stake, deforestation, mining and the creation of road networks. According to the WWF, tigers have seen 93% of their natural habitat disappear in a century. “The urban pressure is very strong,” says Fulconis.
There is an untenable competition between humans who come to graze their animals or cut wood and the presence of tigers. The reduction of the forest has also reduced the number of prey for cats. To fetch food, these felines are getting closer and closer to villages and local communities. In retaliation, they are usually captured or killed and then sold on the black market.