Head of World Bank calls for global action to rescue tigers from extinction

(Reuters) - World Bank President Robert Zoellick called on Wednesday for joint action among countries and organizations to save the dwindling numbers of wild tigers from extinction.

There are barely 3,500 tigers left in the wild. Their declining numbers are blamed largely on poaching and the slow destruction of their natural habitat by deforestation.

"2010, the Year of the Tiger, must be the year in which we take joint action to save this majestic species," Zoellick said at a photo exhibition by the National Geographic Museum, which focuses on the plight of endangered tigers and other big cats.

Zoellick has a personal passion for the conservation of wild tigers. Visitors to his office at the World Bank headquarters in Washington are directed to a table map showing the decline of wild tigers in the world, with troubled areas shaded in red and orange.

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