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Tiger: Bernard DuPont (CC BY-SA 2.0); Wolf: John and Karen Hollingsworth /USFWS

By John R. Platt

Do the species most in need of conservation also receive the most scientific research?

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The Amur tiger is the extinct Caspian tiger's closest living relative. Mathias Appel / Flickr

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.

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