(Photo: GRVO TV/CC BY-ND 2.0)

Humans have been slaughtering tigers by the thousands for decades, but Monday a global census revealed some apparent good news: for the first time in over 100 years the number of wild tigers counted has risen.

But the gains, as they were, could’ve just been the consequence of better counting methods, and the number of wild tigers—3,890—still pales in comparison to historic levels, like in the year 1900, when around 100,000 wild tigers were said to roam the earth. 

Still, conservationists seemed pleased; the latest tiger census was up from 3,200 counted in 2010, the all-time low.

So, maybe we’re getting better at not killing tigers. At the very least, we’re getting better at documenting them in the wild. For conservationists, ever the optimists, almost any sign is a good sign. 

“More important than the absolute numbers is the trend, and we’re seeing the trend going in the right direction,” Ginette Hemley, a senior vice president at the World Wildlife Fund, told the Associated Press.