During its colonial occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945, the Japanese government initiated a large-scale hunt of Siberian tigers on the Korean Peninsula to destroy our national spirit. The tiger is an animal closely associated with Korean people and culture. As a result of the hunt, the number of tigers was severely reduced and it is presumed that by 1922 tigers became officially extinct in South Korea.
The global population of wild tigers was nearly 100,000 in the 1900s, but now only about 3,200-3,500 of them remain. Reasons include illegal trading of wild animals, poaching of both tigers and their prey and the destruction of habitats for forest development. Of the remaining tigers, only about 450-500 are Siberian tigers, which live in China and Far East Russia.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora eventually designated a status of EN (Endangered) for tigers to mean they are considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction and thus demanded an immediate stop to international trading.
Moreover, Tiger Range Countries, where tigers are still found in the wild, and major NGOs that promote the preservation of tigers have together formed the Global Tiger Initiative, funded by the World Bank. GTI-affiliated organizations, by sharing data and information, have systematically pursued a collaborative effort to protect tigers.
In November 2010, ministers of tiger-inhabited countries and NGO heads met in St. Petersburg, Russia, to discuss fostering stricter provisions and policies to increase the tiger population.
Their Global Tiger Recovery Program’s main objectives include efficient supervision and protection of tiger habitats, eradication of illegal poaching, smuggling and trading of tiger-related merchandise, landscape management and cooperation in preventing international illegal trading, cooperation of the local communities, improvement of tiger and tiger habitat management methods and restoration of tiger populations. More....