Return of the big cats! Tigers make remarkable comeback as populations surge

Whether you’re a fan or enemy of Joe Exotic, there’s no denying Tiger King caught everyone’s attention over lockdown thanks to the majestic big cats captured on camera.

The incredible creatures have been under threat for years; whether from humans placing them in captivity or hunting them as trophies, or because their natural habitats face extinction from agricultural developments such as palm oil plantations.

But new photos – released on World Tiger Day 2020 – show that the Indochinese tiger populations in India and Thailand are actually surging.

This is a monumental moment for the endangered species, with these new sightings being the first in western Thailand in four years.

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The snaps were taken thanks to camera traps as part of a wildlife programme by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation [DNP], Panthera – an organisation dedicated to protecting wild cats – and Zoological Society of London [ZSL].

Speaking about the images, Chief of the Wildlife Research Division for DNP, Dr Saksit Simcharoen said it was “extremely encouraging for the future of tigers in our country”.

[Credit: DNP/Panthera/ZSL/RCU]

Meanwhile, Panthera’s spokesperson Dr. John Goodrich added: “In a sea of news casting doubt on the future of our planet’s wildlife, this development is a welcome sign of hope and potential turning of the tide for the endangered tiger in Thailand.”

The world’s leading conservation organisation WWF also spoke out, saying: “Tigers are making a remarkable comeback in much of South Asia, Bhutan, Russia, and China.”

While the sightings bring hope for the tiger world, this is just the tip of the iceberg with hopes to achieve an increasing population of 50% in Thailand by 2022.

It seems that India are already leading the way, where 70% of the world’s 3,900 global tigers are located, with reports that populations have nearly doubled in 12 years.