Wild Tiger Population Dropped by 96.8% in 20 Years

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Bengal tiger in the water with two cubs

Andy Rouse / Getty Images 

Tigers are rapidly disappearing from the wild. According to the latest estimates, there are only about 3,200 tigers left in the wild on the entire planet. That's a catastrophically sharp decline from the 100,000 tigers that were estimated to be in the wild in 1990. The WWF experts warn that "The big cat, which is native to southern and eastern Asia, could soon become extinct unless urgent action is taken to prevent hunting and loss of habitat."

Countries where tigers are still found in the wild - such as China, India and Bangladesh - have made a commitment to double their numbers by 2022 (Year of the Tiger in the Chinese calendar). But following through on that pledge will be the hard part, and conservation groups are trying to put pressure on them to force them to keep their word. To do your part, you can sign this petition to help protect tigers from illegal trade.

If tigers disappear (at least from the wild), we not only lose a top predator that is essential to many ecosystems, but it also means that enough habitat has been destroyed to also endanger many other species. Tiger population health is an indicator of ecosystem health in many Asian countries.

Via The Telegraph