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Focus on breeding areas to save tigers--study

Study researchers have also revealed that the annual cost of saving these tigers will be $82 million, including costs like wildlife monitoring, law enforcement, getting common people involved in these efforts, and other miscellaneous factors.

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.

Commenting on the worrisome findings, study co-author Professor Nigel Leader-Williams from Cambridge University said in a press statement, "The long-term goal is to conserve an Asia-wide network of large landscapes where tigers can flourish. The immediate priority, however, must be to ensure that the few breeding populations still in existence can be protected and monitored. Without this, all other efforts are bound to fail."

The study was published in Tuesday’s online issue of journal 'PLoS' (Public Library of Science) Biology.

Targeted area
Researchers noted that governments of countries with tiger population are making efforts to save the remaining population with the support from international organizations.

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.

Unfortunately, large-scale complicated efforts have failed to yield expected results and now they need methods that are uncomplicated and can save remaining tigers from extinction.

"While the scale of the challenge is enormous, the complexity of effective implementation is not. In the past, overly ambitious and complicated conservation efforts have failed to do the basics — prevent the hunting of tigers and their prey,” revealed co-study researcher Joe Walston, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Asia program.

Walston added that as all the remaining tigers are clustered in a small area, "efforts need to focus on securing these sites as the number one priority for the species."

As per study researchers, out of 42 tiger sites, eighteen alone are in India that holds around 1,000 tigers.

Sumatra have eight tigers sites left while Russia contains six and numbers are dangerously low in countries such as North Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam and China with no evidence of breeding populations, revealed the study.

Cost of saving tigers
Study researchers have also revealed that the annual cost of saving these tigers will be $82 million, including costs like wildlife monitoring, law enforcement, getting common people involved in these efforts, and other miscellaneous factors.

The team also revealed that $47 million have already been raised by governments of various countries with tiger population but they still are in need of $35 million.

"We should be able to find $35 million a year to save tigers," said John Robinson, executive vice president for conservation and science at the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The United Nations agencies and the Global Environment Facility, have vowed to provide at least $25 million.