Conservationists from the Wildlife Conservation Society have reported progresss protecting tigers in three critical areas throughout the endangered cat's range—India, Thailand and Russia. Since tiger populations have dwindled to their lowest numbers in recent years—fewer than 3,200 individuals remain in the wild—any reports of progress provide encouragement in the face of serious conservation challenges.
In southwestern India, camera trap photos have revealed a rebound in tiger numbers, with more than 600 tigers photographed in the Western Ghats region of Karnataka State. Similarly in Nagarahole and Bandipur National Parks, tiger populations have expanded into nearby forest preserves and corridors. Such progress is attributed to strict government-enforced anti-poaching laws, voluntary relocation of towns and the constant monitoring of tiger habitat by Wildlife Conservation Society partners.
In Thailand, anti-poaching patrols succeeded in breaking up a notorious poaching gang in the region of the Huai Kha Kaeng Wildlife Sanctuary. Leaders of the poaching gang were given prison sentences of up to five years. Today, tiger numbers within the sanctuary are estimated at 50 individuals and rising.
In Russia, the government is drafting a new law that will make it a criminal offence to transport, sell or posess endangered animals. The law is aimed at closing a loophole used by poachers who by claiming they found a tiger dead are able to avoid stiff criminal penalties. Also in Russia, new protected areas are being created including the Central Ussuri Wildlife Revuge which links the Skhote-Alin tiger population in Russia with the main population of Amur tigers in China's Heilongjiang Province in the Wandashan Mountains.
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