Efforts to save tiger to intensify in 2010

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London, Jan. 3 (ANI): The efforts to save the tiger are set to intensify this year following the species' placement on WWF list of 10 important endangered species.

Biologists have placed Panthera tigris at the top of a list of 10 key animals facing extinction, which should become the focus for major conservation efforts in 2010.

"This year has been designated the International Year of Biodiversity by the United Nations and so we have created a list of 10 critically important endangered animals that we believe will need special monitoring over the next 12 months," The Guardian quoted Diane Walkington, head of species programme for the WWF in the UK, as saying.

"There is particular importance in selecting a creature such as the tiger for special attention. To save the tiger, we have to save its habitat - which is also home to many other threatened species. So if we get things right and save the tiger, we will also save many other species at the same time," he added.

Animals on the WWF list include the polar bear and the giant panda.

"This year will also be the Chinese Year of the Tiger, and so we have put it at the top of our list. It will have special iconic importance," Walkington said.

The world's population of tigers has been reduced by 95 percent as a result of hunting and poaching for their body parts, which are used in traditional Asian medicine.

There are only around 3,200 tigers left on the planet.

Of its nine main sub-species, three - the Bali, Caspian and Java tigers - are now extinct, while there has been no reliable siting of a fourth, the South China tiger, for 25 years.

This leaves the Bengal, Amur, Indochinese, Sumatran and Malayan tigers, the numbers of which, with the exception of the Bengal and Indochinese, have been reduced to a few hundred per species. (ANI)

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