Back in 1990 a count was done of the number of tigers remaining in the wild. The survey, based on grid sampling from which extrapolations were made, came up with something between 85,300 and 103,700. They decided to put the “official” number at 100,000. A nice round number.
So, officially, in 1990, there were 100,000 tigers alive and (reasonably) well roaming around in the wilds of the world—which for tigers is basically India, China, and some other parts of Asia (including bits of Russia).
100,000 is a far cry from the estimated 420,000 in 1934 but 100,000 was, at the time, considered by the experts a good number to try and build on.
The trouble is that over the last 20 years the count has gone down: massively. Wild tiger populations have dropped by a staggering 96.8 percent since 1990.
The latest grid survey done this year (2010) indicates there are now only 3,200 tigers left in the wild in the world. See this article at the Treehugger site [Use Ctrl+Click to open in a new Tab].
Unlike humans, which—taken as a whole across the world—seem to produce even greater numbers of babies as they run out of food, water, and habitat, all other animals on the planet cut back on their procreation activities when food, water, or habitat are in short supply. If any of the other animals on the planet sense that things are not well with food, water, or habitat then they either stop their baby production activities or significantly reduce them. They wait until things pick up, and then they get back into it in the good times. The trouble is—for so many animals on our withering planet—things are not, and may never, start “picking up”. At least not before they are extinct; and extinct animals can’t make babies.
The reality is that at this point there is probably nothing that can be done to save tigers in the wild, however over at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) web site they have a petition that people can sign to try and stop the hunting of tigers for skins and other trophies. This petition is really for residents of the USA but if you are interested then the WWF page with the petition is at this link. But as you have probably gathered from my tone here my thinking is that, at this point, nothing can be done to save the free roaming wild tiger now. I am no expert but with only 3,200 of them left out there, and their habitats being reduced further every day, I figure that their numbers are below the recovery threshold.
According to Wikipedia three of the nine known types of tigers that used to exist are already extinct.
Let’s hope the tigers we have in parks and zoos make babies and live long lives.