Tigers in three key reserves are gaining ground, according to The Wildlife Conservation Society. Improvements in law enforcement have played a large role in protecting these tigers from poachers, one of the tiger's greatest threats to survival. Anti-poaching measures range from better patrols in the tiger reserves to stricter sentences for those found guilty.
Poachers look for an easy profit by illegally killing tigers and selling their parts for expensive traditional medicines. Though these medicines are completely ineffective, they are a popular and expensive status symbol, and many believe in their powers despite scientific evidence to the contrary. According to Tigers in Crisis, the costs for these quack remedies range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
But with protective measures in place, some tiger populations have a better chance to survive and thrive. The tiger population in the Western Ghats region of India has increased by 50% in the last decade due to strong anti-poaching efforts. The Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary in Thailand has a confirmed record count of more than fifty tigers in the last year. And the Central Ussuri Wildlife Refuge is a new wildlife corridor that will link existing tiger populations in Russia to some of the best tiger habitat in China.
As 2013 begins and we face new challenges in the preservation of habitat and rare species like the tiger, stories such as these encourage us to redouble our efforts. Wildlife Conservation Society President and CEO Christian Samper reminds us, "Tigers are clearly fighting for their very existence, but it's important to know that there is hope."