How many tigers are left in the world

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The tiger is close to extinction

The days of the king of the jungle are numbered: In a decade, the tiger will be extinct in the wild, researchers fear. Causes are poaching dwindling habitat, and incest.

The Hall of Evolution in Museum of Natural History, it is stuffed in the back, magnificent, but already included in man-eradicated species such as the quagga and the Tasmanian tiger. Although the big cat still exists, its evolution is at an end.

On a map in the museum, it becomes clear how radical his once vast area of ​​distribution in Asia has shrunk to tiny remnants: only seven percent of the recent occurrence.

Four of the eight subspecies – the Caspian, the South Chinese, the Java, and the Bali tigers – have already disappeared, others in immediate danger of following them. In some regions, such as the Indonesian island of Sumatra or the Amur region in the extreme east of Russia, only 350 or 400 animals live.

It is no better for the 250 Malayan tigers. Often the last of their kind also live isolated from each other. some zoologists believe that the size of a remaining population is not crucial to their survival and can survive 

even small stocks, the history of the tiger can hardly hope.

More animals in the zoo than in the wild

How many tigers are left in the world

In the year 2000, it was estimated that around 5,000 to 6,000 of the big striped cats in Asia had gone out. Then it turned out that, especially in India, the counting method was highly flawed, and the inventory data had to be revised downwards in an alarming manner.

For 2010, according to the Chinese calendar last year of the tiger, only 3500 animals were determined. According to current projections, hardly more than 3000 tigers are left in the wild. About half of them – according to recent census 1700 animals – lives in India. Of these, not even every third animal is a female of childbearing potential.

For five to seven times more tigers have lived in the zoo and circus than in nature. There, their days seem counted. By the next year of the tiger, 2022, it is feared, it may have disappeared entirely from the wild.

The mighty, almost four meters long, Panthera tigris was once the king of the jungle, feared as an ogre, worshiped as divine. Tigers are often considered the epitome of strength, strength, and wildness, bursting with energy.

Once upon a time, 100,000 tigers lived throughout Asia

How many tigers are left in the world

Previously, they were distributed from the Caucasus to the Amur and on the Indonesian Sunda Islands, adapted to tropical rainforest and mangroves to the Siberian taiga. By 1900, there were an estimated 100,000 tigers throughout Asia.

Only the excessive trophy hunting, then the rapid loss of habitat,

 recently the ruthless poaching of organized gangs, well equipped with rifles and SUVs, caused the stocks to collapse by more than 95 percent.

Today, the once day-active big cats have long been pushed into the national parks and need bodyguards. Despite an international trade ban that has existed for decades, the big cats are still illegally caught and shot down across Asia.

Hardly any part of the tiger body that can not be sold in traditional Chinese medicine with high profits to superstitious. There have never been so many wealthy Chinese people for whom conventional medicine has become affordable.

The final death blow for the last tiger

How many tigers are left in the world

Illegal markets – especially in the border region between Burma, China, and Thailand – have become the hub of the species smuggling. Along with the loss of natural habitats, demand and clearance are the final kills for the last tigers.

An international tiger conference in St. Petersburg in November 2010 could not change that, when the heads of government from all 13 nations, where wild tigers still live, met for the first time.

Since then, 42 “scattered” areas throughout Asia, from Siberia to Sumatra, have become the “last hope” in and around existing reserves on which to focus conservation measures. In these last strongholds live 70 percent of all wild tigers, in particular still in each case at least 25 fertile females.

However, many of these reserves were not well managed recently. Now they want to keep a closer watch on them, that laws are observed. At the same time, scientific observation should improve. Then the tigers could multiply there again and, starting from these places; orphaned regions repopulate, so the hope.

Distribution area extremely shrunken

How many tigers are left in the world

 These last bastions do not cover more than 100,000 square kilometers. This is less than 0.5 percent of the historical distribution area and only six percent of the current occurrence. The costs for better protection of the tigers are affordable, 

the researchers recently wrote in the journal “PLoS Biology”: security and surveillance would cost there together 82 million US dollars per year.

Most of these regions are located in the Indian subcontinent. Here, so many are convinced, decides the fate of the tiger anyway, after elsewhere, only small stocks have survived, in which there are hardly any reproducible animals.

In India, where 60 percent of the last tigers live, core populations with more than 80 animals were also linked by corridors, some hope.

However, the one-sided protection strategy of concentrating solely on building up headstrong stocks only in the few reserves carries dangers, my other.

Genetic diversity disappears through incest

In recent work in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, researchers led by Uma Ramakrishnan of Bangalore, India, have shown that the genetic diversity of the tiger has declined 

significantly through the molecular genetic comparison of 53 historical museum pieces with samples of all animals still living in India.

At the same time, this remaining gene stock is highly fragmented; each isolated population has its genetic signal. The fragmentation of the last habitats in India has thus led to inbreeding lines, which is further reinforced by the ultimately incestuous build-up of headstrong populations.

Especially the thus forced genetic impoverishment could seal the extinction of the tiger.

(How many tigers are left in the world)

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