Many of us who love domestic cats are also concerned about the well-being of their wild cousins, so I think you’ll be glad to hear there’s some good news for tigers in Asia.
The Wildlife Conservation Society recently announced the findings of their investigation into the world’s tiger populations, and the results are very encouraging. Camera traps set up in India, Thailand, and Russia revealed that there were more tigers in the area than there have been in recent years. In India, government-led anti-poaching patrols have cut down on illegal hunting, and voluntary relocation of villages away from tiger habitats — which leads to less harassment and killing of tigers that wander into human populations — has caused the tiger population to reach saturation points in two of the nation’s national parks.
Education efforts seem to be paying off, too. In early December, the people of the southwestern India village of Nidugumba chose to save the life of a tiger that had become caught in a barbed-wire fence. When the tiger was discovered on a coffee plantation, community members contacted authorities and prevented people from harassing the tiger until forest rangers and veterinarians arrived to untangle the cat and bring her to the Mysore Zoo for closer examination.
Thailand has made the possession and killing of tigers a criminal offense, which can carry a prison sentence as long as five years.
The Russian government is upgrading the transport, sales, and possession of endangered animals from a civil crime to a criminal offense. In 2012, Russia also created a wildlife refuge that links the Sikhote-Alin tiger population in Russia to tiger habitat in China’s Heilongjiang Province.
Tigers certainly aren’t out of danger yet, but I’m gratified to see that governments and civilians are working to preserve and restore the big cats’ population in their natural habitats.