London, January 20 (ANI): The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that China's wild tiger population has fallen to just 50 and faces extinction in another 30 years due to poaching and the destruction of its natural habitat.
"If there are no urgent measures taken, there is a high risk that the wild tiger will go extinctm," Zhu Chunquan, conservation director of biodiversity at WWF China, said ahead of the start of the Year of the Tiger on February 14.
According to a report in the Telegraph, Zhu said that China's State Forestry Administration (SFA) estimated there were only around 50 tigers left in the nation's wilderness.
"Globally, WWF estimates that if poaching and other threats continue, there are around 30 years left until tigers go extinct," he said.
"Loss and degradation of the tigers' habitat in China and poaching of the animals as well as their prey - or source of food - were behind the rapid disappearance of the animal," he added.
The SFA says that around 20 Siberian tigers remain in China's north-east, 20 Bengal tigers in Tibet, and 10 Indochinese tigers in the southwest of the nation.
"As for the South China tiger, after the late 1970s, there has been no concrete evidence to show that there are any left," Zhu said.
"In 1950, about 4,000 of the South China variety roamed China," he said.
The WWF says on its website that the tiger is one of the top 10 species to watch in 2010, pointing out that there may be just 3,200 of the animals left globally in the wild.
According to Zhu, China banned international trade in tiger bones and related products in 1993, but preventing all poaching and illegal trade remains a challenge. (ANI)