Of all the world’s big cats, tigers are the most endangered. With fewer than 4,000 individuals left in the wild, they now inhabit just 7% of their historic range. Like many other endangered mammals, tigers face an array of threats to their survival.
Among the most urgent threats are the loss and degradation of core forest habitats, and the loss of prey food to bushmeat and commercial hunting. In addition, organized crime and illegal poaching for tiger parts – bones, teeth and claws, skins, and more, continue to severely deplete tiger populations.
A decade ago, scientists and government representatives from the 13 tiger-range countries endorsed a Global Tiger Recovery Program "with the shared goal of doubling the number of wild tigers globally by 2022”. To help address this crisis, the Foundation significantly ramped up its grant making in 2010 to protect tigers in India, Thailand, Sumatra, Malaysia, China, and the Russia Far East. In the source sites supported by the Foundation, tiger numbers have stabilized or grown, though the goal of doubling the world’s tiger population by 2022 remains aspirational at best.
The Foundation has invested over $13 million in the past decade to help protect and restore tiger populations. To encourage other donors to help save this magnificent species, we have also issued a $1.2 million challenge grant to the Wildlife Conservation Society, offering to match dollar for dollar new contributions to WCS’ tiger programs, through June 2020.
Tiger Image: © Kalyan Varma