As per a new study, if conservationists want to save the remaining tigers from imminent extinction, they should focus more on protecting main breeding areas in 42 sites in Asia rather than safeguarding large surrounding landscapes.
Due to overhunting, habitat loss, and wildlife trade, barely 3,500 tigers are left in the wild. Out of these less than one-third (only 1,000) are breeding females, The Money Times reports.
John Robinson, executive vice president for conservation and science at the Wildlife Conservation Society, said researchers experienced "a real shock" when they determined what was needed to keep the species going. The majority of about 1,000 breeding females are found in India, Russia and Indonesia. None remain in Cambodia, China, North Korea and Vietnam.
In the case of the tiger, three factors - habitat loss, the overhunting of its prey and poaching - have caused its numbers to drop from more than 10,000 in the 1980s to fewer than 3,500 today. Tiger parts are so prized in Eastern medicine that a dead one can sell for $1,500 to $3,500 before its eyes are sold as a cure for epilepsy and malaria, its penis is converted into a soup for virility, and its bones are ground into powder to treat ulcers, rheumatism and typhoid, according to Wildlife Conservation Society species program director Elizabeth Bennett, Washington Post says.