NEW YORK, Feb. 11 (UPI) — Sunday will mark the Chinese New Year — the Year of the Tiger — but U.S. conservation officials say the world’s tiger population is in crisis.
The World Wildlife Fund says more tigers are now kept in captivity in the United States than are alive in the wild. The conservation organization said as few as 3,200 tigers exist in the wild in Asia where they are threatened by poaching, habitat loss, illegal trafficking and the conversion of forests for infrastructure and plantations.
Three tiger sub-species have become extinct since the 1940s and a fourth one, the South China tiger, hasn’t been seen in the wild in 25 years, the WWF said.
That situation has prompted the organization to start a campaign supporting the goal of doubling wild tiger numbers by the next Year of the Tiger in 2022.
“Tigers are being persecuted across their range — poisoned, trapped, snared, shot and squeezed out of their homes,” said Mike Baltzer, leader of WWF’s Tiger Initiative. “But there is hope for them in this Year of the Tiger. There has never been such a committed, ambitious, high-level commitment from governments to double wild tiger numbers. They have set the bar high and we hope for the sake of tigers and people that they reach it.”
More information is available at http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/finder/tigers/year-of-tiger.html.
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