Wild tigers may be on their way back to Kazakhstan.
This news is surprising for a few reasons. First, most people associate tigers with the jungles of India or Sumatra, even the snowy slopes of eastern Russia—not the dry landscapes of Central Asia. But Iran, Turkey and Kazakhstan were once home to thriving populations of Caspian tigers. Unfortunately, sometime between the 1940s and ’70s, this subspecies went extinct due to widespread trapping, hunting, poisoning and habitat degradation.
Second, Kazakhstan isn’t a nation that often comes up in conversations about conservation. In fact, if Americans recognize the world’s largest landlocked nation for anything, it’s probably the movie Borat .
And finally, this initiative may turn some heads because it’s never been done before. Tiger-conservation efforts usually focus on areas where tigers still exist. After all, tweaking local conditions to coax a few dozen animals into becoming a few hundred is easier than—poof!—introducing a new …