India’s tiger population has doubled in the past 12 years, according to the latest tiger census. This achievement marks a significant victory for the country’s wildlife conservation efforts.
India’s tiger conservation efforts began in the 1970s, aimed at protecting tigers from extinction.
Nearly 3,000 tigers now reside in India, up from 1,411 in 2006 when it conducted its first national survey. The last census in 2014 had counted 2,226 tigers. The uptick in the tiger population is good news for India, which has grappled with human-wildlife conflict amid rapid urbanization.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the 2018 All India Tiger Estimation count on Monday, attributing the figures to India’s hardworking wildlife officials and advocates.
“Once the people of India decide to do something, there is no force that can prevent them from getting the desired results,” Modi announced at a news conference. “Today we reaffirm our commitment towards protecting tigers.”
In 1900, there were more than 100,000 wild tigers, but by 2010 it was estimated there were just 3,200. This steep population decline motivated India and 12 other “tiger countries” to hold the Tiger Summit of St. Petersburg in 2010, where they agreed to double the wild tiger population by 2022. India achieved this goal four years early.
“This news brings us another step closer to securing a future for one of the world’s most iconic species and is further proof that tiger recovery is possible when political will and the right conditions exist,” the World Wide Fund said in a statement.