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Last Updated: Wednesday March 12 2008 09:22 GMT

Tigers threatened as numbers fall

South China tiger

The number of tigers in the world has halved in the last 25 years, according to a conservation charity.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said in 1982 there were between 5,000-7,000, but now there could be a few as 3,500 left.

The demand for tiger body parts which are used in Chinese medicine, and the destruction of forests where the creatures live, are being blamed.

But the WWF said if proper measures are taken, tiger numbers could rise again.

But the charity warned that at the moment, the South China Tiger and the Sumatran Tiger could be facing extinction.

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Recently, people trying to protect the animals have been buying up forest land to try and stop the tigers' homes being destroyed.

And last month huge plans to try and protect them were unveiled in India, where the number of tigers has halved in the last five years.

There are also big concerns about tigers in Sumatra, Indonesia - where only 400 to 500 of the beasts are left.

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