The wild tiger population in India, home to half of the wild tigers in the world, has increased almost 14% in the past three years, a new census shows.
There are now an estimated 1,706 wild tigers in India, according to the count from India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority, which cooperated with the World Wildlife Fund, among other partners, in doing the study.
“These numbers give us hope for the future of tigers in the wild, and that India continues to play an integral role in the tiger’s recovery,” WWF International Director General Jim Leape said in a statement.
"Recovery requires strong protection of core tiger areas and areas that link them, as well as effective management in the surrounding areas,” added Mike Baltzer, head of WWF’s Tigers Alive Initiative. “With these two vital conservation ingredients, we can not only halt their decline, but ensure tigers make a strong and lasting comeback.”
The WWF said the count was the largest survey of wild tigers ever attempted.
It was released at the opening of the International Tiger Conservation Conference, a three-day meeting that began Monday in New Delhi. Thirteen nations and various environmental organizations are represented.
The conference is a follow-up to November's tiger summit, hosted by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg, Russia. At that time, officials set up the Global Tiger Recovery Program, designed to boost a species that has seen its numbers in the wild shrink by 94% in the past century, the WWF said.