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According to the conservation charity, over 28,000 people in the past year, within the UK, adopted the tiger under a WWF scheme which lets people sponsor an endangered species of their choice. Funds raised help protect tigers, whose numbers have plummeted by around 95 per cent to 3,200 living in the wild, in the past 100 years.
 
WWF said that tigers have historically been the most popular animal to adopt and an International campaign to double tiger numbers by 2022 - the next Year of the Tiger, was launched by WWF earlier this year.
Polar bears were the second most popular, with 13,000 people adopting the species in the past year, while the highly endangered Amur leopard was the third most popular with over 9,000 adoptions.  Fewer than 35 Amur leopards remain in the wild, and their habitat is under threat from logging, forest fires and land clearance for farming.
 
The least favourite WWF species to adopt is the black rhino.  WWF has been working to conserve rhinos for over 40 years and was one the first animals to be highlighted by the organisation as being endangered.
 
WWF-UK's Head of Supporter Fundraising, Dylan Parkes, said: "Adopting an endangered animal is one of the best ways to protect the species and its habitat.  It also means that you can make a lasting connection with your favourite animal, whichever one you choose from our range of ten iconic species.
 
In the past year nearly 90,000 people in the UK took out an animal adoption with WWF, raising substantial and vital funds for the charity. WWF is encouraging members of the public to mark its 50th anniversary year in 2011, by taking out an adoption.  Other species available to adopt are giant pandas, dolphins, orang-utans, elephants, turtles and penguins.
 
To adopt an endangered species from WWF please visit: www.wwf.org.uk/adopt
 
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For further information, please contact:
WWF-UK Press Officer, Kellie Hulbert on 01483 412383 "