2012 was a bad year for tigers in India

  • December 10, 2012

The year 2012 will end on a cruel note for tigers. As many as 78 tigers have been killed, mostly by poachers, in India this year – the highest number in the last 12 years. The closest any year came to this figure was 2001, when 71 tigers were killed. The 2010 tiger census claimed that there were 1,706 tigers left in the wild in India which is home to the largest population of wild tigers on earth.

Out of the 78 tigers killed this year, 50 fell victim to poachers, while another 28 died of natural causes. Previously, 56 tigers were killed in 2011, 53 in 2010 and 66 in 2009.

“These figures can only be used as a guide,” says Sally Case, CEO of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) which runs TigerTime. “They may simply represent the tip of the iceberg as the true number of tigers poached can never be known for certain.”

The demand for tiger body parts for medicine, food and trinkets is on the rise in South East Asia and the ‘legal’ trade in captive bred tiger skins in China continues to undermine conservation efforts and stimulate demand for tiger parts from all sources. There is also an alarming rise in the trade of live tigers with c. 50 tigers ‘caught’ in transit in Thailand alone this year indicating the scale of the trade.

“We do not know whether these tigers come from wild or farmed sources and despite authorities claiming to have DNA data bases, no one has yet produced evidence that shows where this live tiger trade is originating,” adds Sally Case. “This is a new and worrying trend in the fight to save the tiger in the wild.”

While the Indian government claims it has taken a number of steps to tackle tiger poaching, the efforts are not showing significant results and despite championing the cause of tigers, India is one of many tiger range countries that has failed to report back to CITES on the steps being taken to protect the tiger.

TigerTime is continuing to work in India, Thailand and Russia to save the tiger in the wild by strengthening anti-poaching and spreading awareness about the value of the tiger in the wild. You can help us produce real change by signing www.bantigertrade.com and helping us fund these vital projects by donating here.

India tiger number stats from: India Today
Photo Credit: EIA