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Conservationists Declare Tigers ‘Functionally Extinct’ in Cambodia

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Tigers are now “functionally extinct” in Cambodia, a group of conservationists announced Wednesday.

Indochinese tigers were once prevalent in the forest of Cambodia, and conservationists at the WWF say intensive poaching of tigers and their prey has devastated the species — with 2007 being the last time a tiger was seen on camera in the region, according to the Guardian.

“Today, there are no longer any breeding populations of tigers left in Cambodia, and they are therefore considered functionally extinct,” the WWF said in a statement.

The Cambodian government approved a plan to reintroduce the big cats into protected forestland to the far east of the country, carving out a large chunk of suitable habitat for the tigers and protecting them from poachers using law enforcement. Conservationists are asking for two male tigers, five to six females and some $50 million for the project, according to the Guardian.

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