The report says the animal's future survival depends on cracking down on poaching, working to reduce conflicts with humans and protecting key ranges.

The study said the worldwide tiger population has steadily declined to about 7,500.

The animals continue to face a number of threats, including the trade in tiger parts to meet demand for traditional medicines in China and Southeast Asia.

The World Wildlife Fund said tigers now reside in only 7% of their historic range.

Target areas

The study identified 76 areas, mostly in Asia, that have the best chance of supporting tiger populations.

About half of the areas can support 100 tigers and "offer excellent opportunities for the recovery of wild tiger populations".

Researchers are focusing on a few key regions in India, Russia's far east and parts of Southeast Asia.

The study said: "Many important areas have been overlooked for funding, largely because there has been no method to systematically identify areas of high conservation potential."

Tiger breeding areas must be protected and efforts to link different tiger habitats need to be improved, the study said.

Conservation efforts so far have helped stabilize certain tiger populations, but many initiatives were "ad hoc" and "did little to stem the crisis".

John Robinson, of the Wildlife Conservation Society, said tiger conservation requires commitment from local groups, governments, and international donors to "bring the species back to all parts of its biological range".