Data from the Wildlife Protection Society of India has shown that more tigers were killed in the first four months of this year than in the whole of 2015. The news comes after the World Wildlife Fund and Global Tiger Forum said tiger figures were rising again, PTI reported. A paper in the Science Advances journal had said the number of wild tigers across the world had increased for the first time in more than a century to around 3,890.

Programme manager at Wildlife Protection Society of India, Joseph Tito, told PTI that the data was worrying, and “citizens of many countries are involved in illegal wildlife trade. It’s a transnational organised crime.” India has more than half the world’s tiger population, and had around 2,226 tigers according to a count in 2014.

However, experts have said the recent numbers showing a rise in the tiger population is unscientific. The WWF’s Anurag Danda told AP, “I’d prefer to say there are 30% more known tigers rather than say there is actually an increase in tigers. We might not have counted them all earlier.”

There are several challenges for tiger conservationists, including a 40% loss in the animal’s habitat, the decline in prey species, and the high demand for tiger body parts. A report in the Science Advances journal also described large roads as “mortality magnets for tigers”. In 2010, 13 tiger countries had agreed on a goal to double the world's tiger population by the year 2022.