Tigers could be extinct in the wild within 12 years, environmental experts say
World Wide Fund for Nature spokeswoman Marie von Zeipel said the world's biggest wild cat is one of the most threatened species and could face extinction within 12 years. The organization estimates there are only 3,200 tigers in the wild -- with Von Zeipel noting that the wild tiger population has shrunk 97% in 100 years.
"If nothing drastic happens, the [population] curve is heading straight for disaster," she said.
Her comments came after the wildlife organization hosted a seminar in Stockholm about the plight of wild tigers.
WWF is running a campaign to double the wild tiger population by 2022. It is urging nations to help protect tiger habitat and to prevent poaching of tigers and their prey.
Russia, which has its own Amur tiger population, is holding a global tiger summit next month. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will host the four-day meeting in the city of St. Petersburg, attended by wildlife experts and delegates from the 13 countries where tigers are still found in the wild.
[Correction: An earlier version of this post referred to the World Wide Fund for Animals; the organization is actually the World Wide Fund for Nature, also known as the World Wildlife Fund. We've corrected the error.]
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-- Associated Press
Photo: Two Bengal tiger cubs rest beside their mother at the Villa Lorena animal sanctuary in Colombia. Credit: Carlos Ortega / European Pressphoto Agency