10 ways the world protected tigers in 2021
© Nitish Madan - Tiger on Padam Lake

2021 was a critical year for tiger conservation. It has paved the way for the Year of the Tiger in 2022 and the next Global Tiger Summit in September of next year where tiger range countries will make new commitments to conserve tigers. 

As 2021 comes to a close we’ve rounded up the top highlights in tiger conservation from the last year to share with you. 

This is how the world protected tigers in 2021 👇

Tigress and cub in Ranthambore National Park, India
© Nitish Madan / WWF-International


1. India stepped up the protection of its tiger habitat

In a leap forward for tiger conservation in India, the government announced on Global Tiger Day 2021 that 14 Tiger Reserves are now Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CA|TS) approved. CA|TS is a global conservation tool that sets best practice and standards to manage wild tiger sites.

Tiger recorded in Malaysia's Belum-Temengor Forest Complex
© WWF-Malaysia


2. Malaysia tackled the snaring crisis

Community patrol teams in Malaysia’s Belum-Temengor Forest Complex have continued to see a decrease in active snares. Since 2017 there has been a 94% reduction in the number of active snares found which is good news for tiger populations which are at an all-time low.

Tiger known as Hu Wa, Huangnihe National Nature Reserve, China.
© Jilin Huangnihe National Nature Reserve


3. Message of hope for tigers in China

Northeast China could be home to up to 300 tigers with the right interventions, and with tiger numbers slowly increasing in the country it’s good news all round. A recent paper highlighted the lack of prey and disconnected habitat as barriers to tiger populations increasing in the country. WWF-China has been addressing these issues by focusing on anti-poaching patrols, monitoring tiger and prey populations, habitat management and restoration, and prey recovery.

4. New tigress spotted in Thailand

A new tigress was recorded on camera traps in Mae Wong National Park and after cross-checking the image with researchers, it was revealed this tiger was born in neighbouring Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary and had dispersed into this new area. 

The presence of this new female tiger raises hopes of new cubs and an increase in the country’s tiger population.

5. Tigers translocated to India’s Rajaji Tiger Reserve

Two tigers were released into western Rajaji in an effort to recover a viable breeding tiger population in the area. Infrastructure developments and urban growth have nearly severed the eastern and western parts of Rajaji Tiger Reserve. This is proof that we can bring back tigers provided there is political will and social support.

6. Kazakhstan inches closer to reintroducing tigers

Tigers became extinct in Kazakhstan over 70 years ago but a landmark effort is underway to return this iconic big cat to the country’s Ili-Balkhash region by 2025.

Increasing the number of tiger’s prey is a crucial step in the reintroduction of tigers, which is why the release of 61 Bukhara deer this year was a significant development. Bukhara deer became extinct from the Southern Balkhash Region 100 years ago.


Government rangers at Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, Bhutan
© Emmanuel Rondeau / WWF-UK


7. Technology helps tigers in Bhutan

Tiger numbers in Sarpang Forest Division have increased from one to five individuals due to increased protection.

SMART is a data recording tool which can highlight issues in an area that require attention, for example poaching cases and illegal activity. If it’s used effectively and these issues are addressed and monitored, SMART can positively impact wildlife protection in an area and result in an increase in tiger numbers like it has in Bhutan’s Sarpang Forest Division.

Camera trap image of a tiger in the Dawna Tenasserim landscape, Myanmar.
© KWCI / WWF-Myanmar


8. Global Tiger Day 2021 highlighted the plight of tigers in Southeast Asia

In an effort to raise awareness of the alarming decline of tiger populations across Southeast Asia, WWF called for action to be taken and highlighted 5 ways Southeast Asia could recover their tiger numbers.

There’s a glimmer of hope for tigers in Malaysia with the government announcing it is forming a national tiger committee.

Tigress in Land of the Leopard National Park, Russian Far East.
© naturepl.com / Sergey Gorshkov / WWF


9. Russian National Park triples its tigers

Tiger numbers have tripled in Russia’s Land of the Leopard National Park! When the park was first established in 2012 there were estimated to be a total of 10 tigers, recent surveys now estimate the tiger population to be 30 individuals.

Increased patrolling by rangers over the last few years has resulted in a reduction in poaching of tiger prey with dramatic results. Tripling the tiger population in such a short time frame is an extraordinary achievement by the Russian government and conservation partners including WWF Russia.

Tiger seized during raids in Viet Nam
© Lam Anh


10. Viet Nam shows commitment to tackling the illegal trade of tigers, their and products

Viet Nam’s Nghe An Police in cooperation with Nghe An Forest Protection Department seized seven tiger cubs in August from two illegal breeding facilities in Nghe An province. 

These actions demonstrate a commitment to combat the illegal trafficking of tiger products. WWF encourages these efforts to continue with strong prosecution, with the arrested criminals now facing a potential maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.