Tigers could be extinct in 12 years if unprotected

Wild tigers could become extinct in 12 years if countries where they still roam fail to take quick action to protect their habitats and

step up the fight against poaching, global wildlife experts told a “tiger summit” Sunday.

The World Wildlife Fund and other experts say only about 3,200 tigers remain in the wild, a dramatic plunge from an estimated 100,000 a century ago.

James Leape, director general of the World Wildlife Fund, told the meeting in St. Petersburg that if the proper protective measures aren’t taken, tigers may disappear by 2022, the next Chinese calendar year of the tiger.

Their habitat is being destroyed by forest cutting and construction, and they are a valuable trophy for poachers who want their skins and body parts prized in Chinese traditional medicine.

The summit approved a wide-ranging program with the goal of doubling the world’s tiger population in the wild by 2022 backed by governments of the 13 countries that still have tiger populations: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam and Russia.

The Global Tiger Recovery Program estimates the countries will need about $350 million in outside funding in the first five years of the 12-year plan. The summit will be seeking donor commitments to help governments finance conservation measures.

“For most people tigers are one of the wonders of the world,” Leape told The Associated Press. “In the end, the tigers are the inspiration and the flagship for much broader efforts to conserve forests and grasslands.”

The program aims to protect tiger habitats, eradicate poaching, smuggling, and illegal trade of tigers and their parts, and also create incentives for local communities to engage them in helping protect the big cats.

The summit, which runs through Wednesday, is hosted by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who has used encounters with tigers and other wild animals to bolster his image. It’s driven by the Global Tiger Initiative which was launched two years ago by World Bank President Robert Zoellick.

Leape said that along with a stronger action against poaching, it’s necessary to set up specialized reserves for tigers and restore and conserve forests outside them to let tigers expand.

“And you have to find a way to make it work for the local communities so that they would be partners in tigers conservation and benefit from them,” Leape said.

“To save tigers you need to save the forests, grasslands and lots of other species,” he added. “But at the same time you are also conserving the foundations of the societies who live there. Their economy depends very much on the food, water and materials they get from those forests.”

About 30 percent of the program’s cost would go toward suppressing the poaching of tigers and of the animals they prey on.

Russia’s Natural Resources Minister Yuri Trutnev said that Russia and China will create a protected area for tigers alongside their border and pool resources to combat poaching.

Leape said that for some of the nations involved outside financing would be essential to fulfill the goals.

“We need to see signficant commitment by the multilateral and bilateral indsitutions like the Global Environment Facility and the World Bank plus individual governments like the U.S. and Germany,” Leape told the AP.

For advocates, saving tigers has implications far beyond the emotional appeal of preserving a graceful and majestic animal.

“Wild tigers are not only a symbol of all that is splendid, mystical and powerful about nature,” the Global Tiger Initiative said in a statement. “The loss of tigers and degradation of their ecosystems would inevitably result in a historic, cultural, spiritual, and environmental catastrophe for the tiger range countries.”

Three of the nine tiger subspecies — the Bali, Javan, and Caspian — already have become extinct in the past 70 years.

Much has been done recently to try to save tigers, but conservation groups say their numbers and habitats have continued to fall, by 40 percent in the past decade alone.

In part, that decline is because conservation efforts have been increasingly diverse and often aimed at improving habitats outside protected areas where tigers can breed, according to a study published in September in the Popular Library of Science Biology journal.

Putin has done much to draw attention to tigers’ plight. During a visit to a wildlife preserve in 2008, he shot a female tiger with a tranquilizer gun and helped place a transmitter around her neck as part of a program to track the rare cats.

Later in the year, Putin was given a 2-month-old female Siberian tiger for his birthday. State television showed him at his home gently petting the cub, which was curled up in a wicker basket with a tiger-print cushion. The tiger now lives in a zoo in southern Russia.

Comments (37)

  • Linda Ford
    January 21, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    My husband Mark and I were fortunate to have held tiger cubs at a zoo near NH, I have always felt that was a blessing. It was a spiritual moment for me as well. One cub was a bengal and the other was a white tiger. I often look at our sons and feel they have the spirit and personalities of those particular cubs.
    My husband and I have always been so amazed by these magnificent creatures. I am truly horified by how humanity thinks nothing of cutting down forests, not only because of the tigers but our own future.
    I am often left speechless by conversations I overhear when people scoff at topics like “Global Warming, Diseases, Allergies etc. What are we cutting down forests for? To house more, forgive me, stupid humans, whom have no regard for a world they didn’t create but don’t think twice about destroying. These people are fools who cut off their noses to spite their faces.
    Many walk around daily so self absorbed not realizing just how delicate the balance is that allows their mindless existence to continue. To so many life is all about the alarm going off, the coffee maker going on and their daily riggors and the magic of television; never giving weight to the fact that the animals they see on television may be the only animals future generations will be able to see, cause they’re gone! Then there are the “End of Days” crowd who say “So What 2012 is coming!” How short sighted, Y2K came and went and here we are. I’m not saying there won’t be cataclysmic events, history has proven this will reoccur perpetually and also some life will survive somehow, so what if we do survive then what?
    Turnabout is fairplay so what if the animals took over our territory and killed us off, just like humans we’d say “Well let’s hunt them down and kill them!” Humans are notoriously parasitic and often greedy! Have we truly given up on tomorrow and lost respect for the amazing creation we’ve been blessed with? I hope and pray for the tigers, and all the other animals in this world whom have been bullied by progress and made homeless and are becoming extinct. As I said, and it scares me because I am a human, turnabout is fairplay and the shortsightedness of humans, will eventually serve to make ourselves extinct.
    In closing I would like to vent my frustration at the naysayers of Global Warming, whom are correct in stating that the Global Climate has changed over thousands of years because that’s what it does, hey morons of the world we may not have started the fire, by we sure did pour some gasoline on it!

  • eveallease@yahoo.com
    January 30, 2011 at 1:06 am

    Thank you for this informative piece. i have been doing research on the tigers in the himalaya region and didn’t realize that tigers in the wilds of India have been the keepers of the forest ecosystems! As Michel de Montaigne stated so well “Let us a little permit Nature to take her own way; she better understands her own affairs than we”. Have an awesome day!

  • hjhkh
    March 3, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    save the dang tigers i love them!!!

  • luke
    March 7, 2011 at 3:49 am

    Tigers are amazing animals and I cant believe people try to hurt them. i love tigers so much!

  • suraj kapoor
    March 16, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    The tiger is a wonderful animal and a beautiful creature

  • oreal murphy
    March 24, 2011 at 1:36 am

    I love the picture of the Tigers they are beautiful.

  • elizabeth
    May 3, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    i love this picter

  • vikrant
    May 30, 2011 at 9:23 am


    June 25, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    People !! We all <3 the tigers, stop hurting them, the best is having the law for death if you killed animal. Animals were living thing, and human have the law to protect human rights, then where's the animal's right??

    If you kill animal, then you must have the same price, death, guilty!!

  • sumon
    August 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    that is the best picture.

  • sumon
    August 11, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    please save the tiger.When we want save the tiger we should be success.

  • chanduannan
    August 24, 2011 at 3:00 pm


  • Dee
    October 19, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    What a shame, some people have a no dignity.

  • Tiger
    October 30, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Someone please help these animals survive they are very special

  • love
    November 19, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    last night i saw a ………………………………..tiger ……………………………………………. but in my dream…………………….. save them

  • Truth
    December 24, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    These are animals that have a peculiar cultural depiction and need to be preserved. Please we have to save them so we will have a concrete history for our children. Let’s do this!

  • Louie
    January 21, 2012 at 12:39 am

    I pray for them.

  • gus
    January 28, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    I hate to burst everybody’s “awwww” bubble, but the only “real” tiger in the picture is the natural red and black colored one on the far right. The white and cinnamon morphs are the result of artificial selection by man. These colors are not found on tigers in nature and serve no conservation value. Many of these “fancy” colored tigers are really inbred and have poor genetics. Lets focus on saving real tigers, as they are in nature rather than wasting rescources on these man made versions.

  • Brendan
    March 15, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    messed up!

  • Brendan
    March 15, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    white tigers are awesome

  • Vivian
    March 18, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    I hope everyone will help save the tiger. They are my most and forever favorite animals.

  • May 11, 2012 at 9:44 am

    God I hope not

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  • Nina
    August 4, 2012 at 12:11 am

    i love tigers, they are magnificent, powerful, beautiful, elegant beings. its sad that many people are willing to hunt tigers to the point of extinction just for a couple of body parts. the tiger is my zodiac sign and i am proud of it

  • george
    August 10, 2012 at 7:26 am

    As gus says all the coloured ones are all imbred due to humans interferring. From the original article you should not hqve been holding the cub they are wild animals and it should stay that way by not capturing them and putting them in zoos. Spend the money you would pay to see them at zoos and send it for conservation for tigers

  • WyomaMorin
    October 11, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    I love this picture. Tigers are very beautiful creatures. That should appreciated not killed for skins. I like these animals because they amazing, everything about them.

  • Angel
    December 12, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    i love tigers wether they are real or artificial….
    help them like you help your friends and family… they have families too!!!

  • jaz
    February 6, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    i love Tigers so much well done ok bye

  • jaz
    February 6, 2013 at 1:45 pm


  • Tig
    February 13, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Help these guys please, we need these creatures to stay alive!!!

  • Miguel
    April 22, 2013 at 9:52 am

    is this picture real? DONT LIE TO ME AS WELL PLEASE :)

  • May 7, 2013 at 4:43 am

    Yes, 100%

  • blossom
    July 17, 2013 at 5:01 am

    I love the tigers they are beautiful!

  • pizza
    October 7, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    can i have one as a pet

  • mohammad hadji
    October 19, 2013 at 6:31 am

    all right.this is very beautiful.I love Tigers.we should save tigers

  • Tigers!
    October 19, 2013 at 11:11 am

    gus and george, what you are saying isn’t true. In the wild, white tigers are natural. Yes, it’s true that some white tigers are man-made, but that doesn’t mean all are. They can live in the mountainous area where there’s snow and blend in very well. White tigers are natural in the wild and can survive on there own.

  • Gus
    January 2, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    MOST white tigers are man made, the innability to produce sufficient pigmentation is caused by a defective gene and is not a good trait to select for. This gene is connected to bone deformities, strabismus (weak eye muscles/crossed eyes) as well as immune system abnormalities.

    Even if there are a few white tigers that have managed to survive in the wild it is still a defective gene and carries a high risk of having a negative impact on the animal’s health, therefore it is not a good idea to perpetuate especially as the tigers gene-pool grows smaller and we need the healthiest breeding stock to save the species.

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