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Tiger Conservation Landscapes

Where do tigers live? And how are their habitats changing? Here we show maps and data from new 20-year analysis of tiger conservation landscapes at range-wide, national, and landscape scales using the Google Earth Engine and satellite imagery from NASA and the European Space Agency. Tiger conservation landscapes are large blocks of habitat with low human footprint suitable for tigers. We recognize three main types: species landscapes, where tigers have been known to live during the previous five years; survey landscapes, where the status of tigers is uncertain; and restoration landscapes, where tigers have been extirpated. We also map fragments of habitat where tigers are found (species fragments), status uncertain (survey fragments), and have disappeared (restoration fragments) each year from 2001 — 2020. As new data becomes available, we will update the results on the website.

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How are tigers doing today?

As of the 1st of January 2020, the latest time point, there were 63 Tiger Conservation Landscapes in ten countries. Eight of the 63 areas are trans-boundary, crossing more than one country. These species landscapes are the backbone of any strategy to conserve the tiger, but these areas tell only half the story. A nearly equivalent area falls in a combination of Restoration Landscapes, Survey Landscapes, or small fragments (tiger fragment, restoration fragment, or survey fragment). The future of tiger conservation lies in conserving what we have, reconnecting these landscapes and fragments, and repopulating them with tigers, either through intentional, scientifically-managed reintroduction programs or by enabling natural dispersal and reestablishment.

How has tiger habitat changed in the 21st century?

Between 2001 and 2020, the total area of Tiger Conservation Landscapes (TCLs) declined 11%. The number of TCLs increased from 53 to 63, mainly through fragmentation of larger landscapes. These trends at the range-wide scale mask important differences at national scales, where in some countries (India, Nepal, Bhutan, Russia, and China) the area of TCLs has increased over the last 20 years, whereas in other countries, notably, countries in Southeast Asia, tigers have lost significant amounts of habitat. Since 2000, tigers have become effectively extinct in Cambodia, Laos, and Viet Nam.