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Proper landscape management could triple tiger population

The tiger population of Asia could grow to 10,000, triple the current number, if the landscapes of their natural habitat are well maintained, reports a new study published in the journal Conservation Letters.

With enhanced protection, the areas where tigers are known to breed could be connected, allowing for more mingling of the species. The report comes as a follow-up to the November International Tiger Conservation Forum, which predicted that the tiger population could double.

"In the midst of a crisis, it's tempting to circle the wagons and only protect a limited number of core protected areas, but we can and should do better," said chief scientist at the U.S. World Wildlife Fund Dr. Eric Dinerstein. "We absolutely need to stop the bleeding, the poaching of tigers and their prey in core breeding areas, but we need to go much further and secure larger tiger landscapes before it is too late."

There are as few as 2,300 tigers in the wild today. Numbers have declined significantly since the early 1900s due to poaching and destruction of the animals' wild habitat.

According to Discovery News, jaguars in North and South America could also benefit from protection of their natural breeding grounds.  
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