Southeast Asia losing tigers as deadline looms to double population by 2022

Tigers once roamed throughout the dense forested interior of mainland Southeast Asia and several islands of Indonesia. Positioned at the pinnacle of the food chain, tigers maintain ecosystem balance, and by protecting them, we can preserve entire biodiverse landscapes.

However, the long-term survival of this flagship conservation species now hangs in the balance. In 2010, government ministers from the 13 countries that still had wild tiger populations committed to implementing measures to double the wild population of the big cats by 2022.

In Southeast Asia, it is highly unlikely that this goal will be met. In fact, many countries in the region have fewer tigers now than when the pledge was made. Over the past few years, tigers have gone locally extinct in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam; over the past two decades, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and, to a lesser extent, Thailand, have seen their tiger populations shrink.

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Carolyn Cowan