India releases survey of tiger numbers

March 28, 2011 at 8:51 PM

NEW DELHI, March 28 (UPI) -- India has released figures on tiger population for the first time since 2007, showing a population increase where half the world's tigers live, researchers say.

The government estimated current tiger numbers in India at 1,706, up from 1,411 during the last count in 2007. However, the figure includes an additional 70 tigers in the Sundarbans reserve, an area not counted in 2007, a World Wildlife Fund release said Monday.

Leaving out the Sundarbans, the officials estimate is 1,636, and increase of 225, the WWF said.

Some populations showed increases while others declined, the Indian report said.

"As seen from the results, recovery requires strong protection of core tiger areas and areas that link them, as well as effective management in the surrounding areas," Mike Baltzer, Head of WWF's Tigers Alive Initiative, said. "With these two vital conservation ingredients, we can not only halt their decline, but ensure tigers make a strong and lasting comeback."

The figures were released Monday at the opening of the three-day International Tiger Conservation Conference in New Delhi.

The conference is a follow-up to November's tiger summit hosted by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg, Russia.

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