Indian tiger numbers fall to 1,400

Illegal poaching and urbanisation have reduced the number of wild tigers in India to just over 1,400, almost half the previous estimate, the Indian government's National Tiger Conservation Authority says.

In the last major survey of the increasingly endangered animals, in 2002, 3,642 tigers were reported. The alarming new figure is the
lowest in more than three decades. Until this census, India was considered home to 40% of the world’s tigers, with 23 reserves in 17

"The tiger has suffered due to direct poaching, loss of quality habitat and loss of its prey," said Rajesh Gopal, a member of the conservation authority.

Campaigners urged the creation of "inviolate areas" for Indian tigers and better equipped forest guards. The Wildlife Protection Society of
India has called for cooperation between India, Nepal and China — where demand for tiger parts is strongest — to prevent the trade.

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