The following statement is from Dale Miquelle, WCS Tiger Program Coordinator, on the recent Red List Assessment by IUCN, which announced a 40 percent increase since the last tiger assessment in 2015 – a result of improvements in monitoring. The new assessment shows that there are more tigers than previously thought, and the number of tigers globally appears to be stable or increasing. The new estimate finds of range between 3,726 and 5,578 tigers in the wild worldwide.

“Although we still have a very long way to go, the new assessment shows that the tiger can be saved. There are more wild tigers alive today than in 2010, the result of range-state governments and partners committing to very focused protection of the species and its habitats. The threats have not gone away and will not for a long time. But there is every reason to believe the world can have even more tigers a decade from now if we double down on that commitment.

“The Red List Assessment determined that tigers are still considered Endangered and that is not a change from the last assessment. However, there was strong debate and a recognition that they were on the edge of moving towards Vulnerable. This fact, along with the global estimate of abundance, provide some evidence that there is improvement in the status of the global population of tigers.

“We recognize that this progress is fragile - we are still losing tigers from many areas, while they are increasing in others. Poaching is still a huge issue, trade and demand are huge issues, and habitat loss continues to be a problem. We also know that saving tigers goes a long way to addressing many of the environmental problems of Asia, from buffering the impacts of climate change, to reducing the potential for zoonotic outbreaks. Not just the wildlife, but the people of Asia will be better off when we are protecting large blocks of forests, as those habitats provide a host of ecosystem services to the people surrounding them as well.”