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Tigers could be extinct in the wild within 12 years, environmental experts say

October 25, 2010 |  8:35 pm

Tiger And Cubs The world's tiger population could soon be extinct because of poaching, shrinking habitats and the use of tiger parts in Eastern medicine, environmental experts warned Friday.

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.]

RELATED TIGER NEWS:
Camera trap shows bulldozer clearing trees in Sumatran tiger habitat, environmentalists say
Key breeding grounds must be protected to save tigers from extinction, according to researchers

-- 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

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