The global population of Tigers is currently less than 3,500, which is indeed a worrisome figure. More than 90 per cent of the territory which was once covered by the big cats is not under the forest cover anymore. It was feared 10 years ago that Tigers may go extinct one day. However, fortunately, In India and Nepal, the population of tigers has increased if we talk about the past decade. And now, in a good news, the number of tigers could rise to double in the forest cover that is remained, a paper published in the international journal Science Advances has claimed.
In 2010, a meeting of 13 tiger range countries was held in Russia, in which a target was set to double the number of tigers by 2022. Representatives of these 13 countries will meet again in New Delhi this month and a review of progress on the target will take place.
The authors of the scientific study mapped the forests across 76 landscapes that have maximum tigers with the help of satellite technology between 2001 and 2014. It was found that the forests had not shrunk at the pace which was thought. The factors that lead to shrink in tiger territory involve agricultural expansion and infrastructure development.
According to the study, tigers also "proliferate rapidly where prey and sheltered habitat are abundant, as demonstrated by tiger recovery in Panna National Park, India." The tiger being a solitary animal required forested habitats that are larger than 30 sq km large for survival.
Achieving the goal would need "maintaining the existing habitat, including ecological connectivity among source populations."
The researchers used tools such as Google Earth Engine and Global Forest Watch to analyse habitat loss to the tiger. Sumatra was the most affected. As per their estimation, $750 billion need to be invested in infrastructure over the next decade. "Large roads are mortality magnets for tigers."
Authors also noted the successful efforts of conservation managed by community in Nepal and India, the two countries that have registered a rise in tiger population.