Tigers have captivated people and cultures throughout history. It is the largest of the world’s big cats and one of the most fearsome predators on Earth. It is also perilously close to extinction.
A century ago, perhaps 100,000 wild tigers roamed the Earth. By the start of the 21st century, that number had plummeted by an estimated 95% due to rampant poaching and habitat destruction. Historically, tigers once ranged widely across Asia, but in recent decades, populations have been restricted to 13 countries, namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia (locally extinct), China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR (locally extinct), Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, and Viet Nam (locally extinct).
In 2010, when the tiger population had dipped to as few as 3,200, leaders from the 13 countries that currently or recently had tigers came together and set out to achieve an unprecedented goal: doubling the number of tigers in the wild by 2022, the next Chinese Year of the Tiger. Partnering with the 13 range country governments and other organizations, WWF played a critical role in creating a shared vision for tiger conservation by committing to the same goal. Known as TX2, this is probably the most ambitious global recovery effort ever undertaken for a single species and a significant turning point for tiger conservation. TX2 works across broad landscapes and encourages trans-boundary collaboration through a strategic, long-term approach that increases protection where the tigers are currently, maintains or restores wildlife corridors and connectivity between areas, and boosts resources and protection to secure a future for tigers when their numbers have increased. The ultimate success of tiger recovery will be measured by the overall status of wild tiger populations.
The year 2016 marked the halfway point of Tx2, with wild tigers recorded at around 3,900. Our vision is to ensure the survival of wild tigers. WWF is dedicated to achieving the ambitious global goal of 6,000+ wild tigers. To make that a reality, we need to protect, restore, and connect tiger habitat, end the illegal wildlife trade—including improving law enforcement and eliminating tiger farms—reduce demand for tiger products, and help tigers and local communities safely coexist. Protecting the places where tigers live, breed, and disperse is the backbone of the Tx2 recovery strategy. WWF and our partners are working with world leaders to ensure tigers remain a top priority. And with partners like TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, we’re tackling the illegal trade in tiger products.