London, Sept.15 (ANI): The cost of keeping tigers alive in the wild is about 80 million dollars per year, say conservationists, but only about 50 million dollars per year is being pledged.
According to the BBC, the figures come from a new assessment that suggests targeting efforts in 42 selected breeding sites.
Building tiger populations in these sites would enable other areas to be re-populated later, the researchers report in the journal PLoS Biology.
About 3,500 tigers remain in the wild, and only about 1,000 breeding females.
Although conservation programs are operating in some countries, notably India, the tiger has virtually disappeared from vast tracts of Asia where it used to live.
Once found from Turkey to the eastern coast of Russia, it is now concentrated in pockets of South and East Asia, though even here it is extinct in some countries such as Pakistan and down to fewer than 50 individuals in others, including Cambodia, China, Laos and Vietnam.
The animals are found in only about seven percent of their historical range.
But the new study suggests conservation would benefit from concentrating efforts into still smaller areas - specifically, into 42 "source sites" that make up only about six percent of the tiger's current range, or about 0.5 percent of the area it used to span.
"The long-term goal is to conserve an Asia-wide network of large landscapes where tigers can flourish," said Nigel Leader-Williams of Cambridge University, one of the scientists involved in this study.
"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," he adds. (ANI)