The Indian Subcontinent remains one of the last refuges, but even here numbers are precarious. The success of campaigns such as 'Save the Tiger' and 'Project Tiger' in the 1970’s that created reserves to protect this magnificent animal has now stalled, and latest estimates put the number of adult Royal Bengal tigers at under 1900 in India, 440 in Bangladesh, 155 in Nepal and 75 in Bhutan.
Tiger conservation issues in India are complex with scientists, bureaucrats, forest dwellers and poachers, as well as tourism and mining concerns, all staking their claim for access to the reserves. And with the ever growing pressures of a large population, the potential for land-animal conflict is very real.
However, on a more positive note, there is a large army of passionate and committed conservationists at all levels - from government to local lodges and villages - working tirelessly to save the tigers and the incredibly beautiful environment they inhabit.
Initatives include the establishment of new reserves with forest corridors to link them and a more effective system of protection and patrol. Local communities are also being encouraged and empowered to play a more positive role in conservation.
So go now, while you can still see tigers in the wild, and choose lodges that are genuinely committed to conservation and to its synergy with local community development.
An audience with the 'King of the Jungle' is still an awesome and humbling experience!
Read about holidays to Central India.