India has been identified as the most important country for tigers in a recent study by the Wildlife Conservation Society.
The society study points to a rather worrying development that most of the world's last surviving tigers nearly hunted, logged and otherwise exploited to the point of near extinction are now clustered in just 6 per cent of their available habitat.
The study identifies 42 'source sites' scattered across Asia that remain the last hope and greatest priority for the big cat's conservation and continued survival.
According to researchers effective conservation efforts focused on these sites are both possible and economically feasible and require only an additional 35 million dollar a year for increased monitoring and enforcement to enable tiger numbers to double in these last strongholds.
According to Joe Walston, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Asia Program and the study's lead author, in the past overly ambitious and complicated conservation efforts have failed to do the basics: prevent the hunting of tigers and their prey.
He added that with 70 per cent of the world's wild tigers in just 6 per cent of their current range, efforts need to focus on securing the sites.
The paper says less than 3,500 tigers remain in the wild. Of these around 1,000 are breeding females.