Tigers Are Returning To A Country Where They Were Once Extinct

Decades after tigers in Kazakhstan died out, the government is planning on bringing them back to their natural habitat.
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Tigers Are Returning To A Country Where They Were Once Extinct

Roughly 70 years ago, tigers went extinct in Kazakhstan. Now the country is trying to change that.

Kazakhstan's government announced it plans to reintroduce tigers into its ecosystem. If it works, Kazakhstan will be the first country to bring tigers back to a region where they've been extinct for so long.

But the tigers likely won't be back for a while. Authorities need to prepare the Ili-Balkhash region by reintroducing the tigers' natural prey so they have something to eat when they return. The tigers probably won't arrive until at least 2025.

The effort will be part of the Tx2 initiative, which aims to double the world's number of wild tigers by 2022.

Kazakhstan's minister of agriculture said the country was "honored to be the first country in Central Asia to implement such an important and large-scale project."

The World Wildlife Fund says a combination of poaching and habitat loss drove tigers out of Kazakhstan, though it's one of many places where tiger populations struggled.

Over a century ago, there were more than 100,000 wild tigers around the world. Now it's believed there are fewer than 4,000.