Since 1900 the wild tiger population has declined by 97 percent, according to conservationists.
The exact number of tigers remaining in the wild today is not an exact science, but figures announced in 2010 reached a paltry 3,200.
The depressing fact is that the tiger is one of the most endangered species on the planet.
The precise numbers of tigers living in the wild is subject to debate.
Joseph Vattakavan is from the World Wildlife Fund: “This number came out in 2010 so it could have changed in four years. Secondly, we don’t know if 3,200 is the correct number, it might be more or less. Several governments and organisations have made a real effort to increase tiger numbers. That was the mandate, to double tiger numbers by the next ‘Year of the Tiger’ in 2022. But if we don’t try to get a census we will never know if we are getting there or not.”
India is now making use of the latest technology to estimate tiger numbers.
Camera traps observe tigers in the wild. The cameras are installed on trees and along tiger tracks.
Equipped with sensors, the trap captures photos and video once a tiger appears.
Since each tiger has a unique stripe pattern, environmentalists can then estimate the tiger population of the region.
Conservationists are now insisting concrete efforts are made to obtain accurate tiger numbers by 2016.
Images of the tiger pervade our everyday lives in advertising, cartoons, wildlife documentaries and children’s toys. But it is in the wild where this beautiful animal really counts.