Tigers Could Create Roaring Comeback, Declare Experts

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Source:   —  April 02, 2016, at 1:23 AM

Tiger numbers have plummeted by ninety-five percent over the past century, but they may soon be making a comeback, according to satellite images.

Tigers Could Create Roaring Comeback, Declare Experts

Tiger numbers could nearly treble in the next twenty years if action is taken to restore their natural habitat, say experts.

There are only around 3.200 wild tigers left in the world - fewer than the no held in captivity in the US, according to conservation group WWF.

Their pop has plummeted by ninety-five percent over the past one hundred years, caused by poaching, agriculture, and deforestation to create way for roads and railways.

But the striped predators could soon create a roaring comeback, according to scientists who carried out a new satellite image study.

It shows sufficient wild habitat remains to authorize a doubling of tiger numbers by two thousand twenty-two - the following "Year of the Tiger" in the Chinese astrological calendar.

The pop "could approach a trebling" if conservation corridors are restored in the most deforested landscapes, said the researchers, led by Doctor Anup Joshi from the Univ of Minnesota.

These corridors are regions of preserved habitat that connect different areas, allowing the large cats to avoid interbreeding.

To estimate progress, experts analysed fourteen years of satellite pictures tracking forest loss in the thirteen countries where tigers still live.

They feared habitat loss would be much higher than the seven.7 percent actually recorded.

The tiger is officially classed as "endangered" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Three of its nine subspecies are extinct, and a fourth - the S China tiger - was latest seen in the wild in the 1970s.

The large cats used to itinerate across most of Asia, but presently they're restricted to just 7 percent of their original range, mostly in isolated forests.

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