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Endangered tigers making a comeback in Asia

Wildlife Conservation Society praises government initiatives in India, Russia and Thailand.

Thailand tigers 2012 08 30Enlarge
Tigers play at a buddhist temple in Kanchanaburi province, Thailand, on April 24, 2012. Worldwide, tiger stocks are estimated to have fallen to only 3,200 tigers from approximately 100,000 a century ago. (PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)

While it’s estimated that only 3,200 tigers exist in the wild, the species is making a comeback in India, Russia and Thailand due to government intervention, National Geographic reported.

In a report released this week, the Wildlife Conservation Society said efforts to protect tigers in these three countries were working, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"Tigers are clearly fighting for their very existence, but it's important to know that there is hope," Cristian Samper, president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, said, according to the LA Times. "While the news about tigers has been bleak, these recent developments clearly show how smart strategies and strong partnerships are ensuring tigers are saved for centuries to come."

According to the LA Times:

Tigers have gone extinct in Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Singapore, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, the islands of Bali and Java in Indonesia and possibly in Korea.

However, antipoaching patrols, voluntary relocation of humans who live in tiger habitats and scientific monitoring have increased the number of tigers in India's Nagarahole and Bandipur National Parks, National Geographic reported.

Tiger poaching in Thailand’s Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary appears to have stopped with stepped-up enforcement and penalties, including sentencing members of a poaching ring this year to five years in prison each, the LA Times reported.

And Russia is creating the Central Ussuri Wildlife Refuge, a safe corridor between tiger breeding grounds in Russia and China, National Geographic reported. Russian officials are also working on a new law that will stop poachers from claiming they found tigers already dead.

"There are a number of factors that are necessary for tigers to come back, but without true government commitment, there will not be any success," Joe Walston, executive director for Asia Programs at the Wildlife Conservation Society, told National Geographic.

More from GlobalPost: Tigers in Nepal take to night shift to avoid humans
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/india/121229/endangered-tigers-making-comeback-asia