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15 animals making headlines

By: Laura Moss on April 22, 2011, 12:04 p.m.
Sumatran tiger

Photo: ZUMA Press

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Only 3,200 tigers exist in the wild of 13 Asian countries, and despite conservation programs, the animals continue to lose their habitats and be killed for parts. Today, tigers inhabit just 7 percent of their historic range, and poachers hunt them because their bones, teeth, whiskers, skin and even penises are used in traditional Chinese medicine. In fact, loss of habitat and poaching have contributed to a 97 percent decline in tiger populations worldwide, down from about 100,000 animals at the beginning of the 20th century. Despite these sobering statistics, conservation programs like the Global Tiger Recovery Program are working to protect these endangered animals, and their efforts seem to be working. In March, Indian officials announced that the country’s tiger population has increased by 225 since 2007, and although the number may seem small, it’s a significant increase in Indian tiger numbers.