Tiger is the largest member of the cat family which you will find across the world. North Korea, China, India, South-East Asia, Indonesia, Russia, and Siberia, have tiger populations. The six species of tiger are Indo-Chinese, Siberian, South China, Sumatran, Bengal, and Malayan tiger.
One species is different from the other based on its stripes, height, and spots around its eyes. Tigers are also one of the adaptive species of animals. They live in cold temperatures of -40 degrees Celsius or mangrove swamps of up to 40 degrees Celsius. You will find them swimming when feeling hot or climbing trees when under stress.
But there is a serious concern about this majestic animal.
At the beginning of the 20th century, there were 100,000 tigers estimated. People hunt tigers for their coated fur, as prized trophies, and on grounds of posing danger to humans. But the balance in nature remained.
As time passed, the population of tigers started going down. At the 20th end of the century, 5000-7500 tigers were left in the wild, and some were captivated. Currently, the tiger population around the world is 3900, out of which 3000 are in India.
Three of the six species have gone extinct in the past century-
The Caspian of central Asia, scientifically known as P. tigris virgata
The Javan, scientifically known as P. tigris sondaica
The Bali, P. tigris Balica
There is a common culture of crossbreeding tigers and lions, and they are called tigons.
Towards the end of the 20th century, the number of tigers started declining. All countries began taking measures to protect endangered species.
India: India declared tigers as their national animal. They launched Project Tiger in 1973 to conserve endangered species. It was a conservation program designed to protect tigers. The government also designated certain areas as Tiger reserves. The Government and The Wildlife Institute take special care of the tiger reserves. Currently, India has 52 tiger reserves.
Nepal, Malaysia, and Indonesia: These countries set up strings of national parks and sanctuaries to protect the animal and their natural habitat.
Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam: These countries are following the same pattern as the above countries.
Russia: Russia concentrated on effective patrolling and reducing tiger poaching for their revival.
Besides posing human threats, tigers are being poached for fun, entertainment, and money. Some of the common reasons for tiger hunting were:
Tiger skins have high value for display and worship
Their claws, teeth, and clavicles are used for worshipping and as talismans
Asians use tiger skulls, bones, whiskers, meat, and blood for medicines, potions, and wine
Used as medicines for problems like rheumatism, rat bites, restoration of energy
People believe tiger whiskers cause intestinal ulcers- used against one’s enemies
Some of the other reasons why tigers get killed are:
Threat to their natural habitat: The rapid population growth reduced the tiger population. Forests and grasslands, preferable habitats for the tigers, are being cleared for agriculture.
Reduced prey population: Due to reduced prey population, tigers are dependent on livestock. This leaves them starving for weeks for food.
29th July is Global Tiger Day. The day is to create awareness about endangered tigers. Formed in 2010, 13 countries came together to create T X 2- a global goal to double the number of wild tigers by 2022.
The 13 tiger range countries are China, India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam, Bhutan, Indonesia.
Out of these countries Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam have locally extinct tigers.
The World Wildlife Fund promotes these ways to save the species:
Education: Learning is power! Learn about tigers, their impact on the environment, and the reasons for endangerment. Once you learn, you will be able to understand and contribute in your ways.
Raise awareness: Use your knowledge, educate, and raise awareness among other people. This will get the conversation rolling and people will realize how we are part of the same ecosystem.
Adopt a tiger: Sadly, more tigers are in captivity than in the wild. Fund good organizations that are working for the tigers in the wild. Donate funds to them or better adopt a tiger where you will be responsible for their welfare.
Save their natural habitat: Tigers could not survive in the wild due to the loss of natural habitat. Be responsible! Try to preserve or take part in preserving their natural habitat. This will give space to grow and live a healthy life.
Support tiger-friendly policies: Laws and regulations help regulate the poaching of the animals. It is important to support and follow laws and policies that help protect the animal.
Make sure you support policies that are welfare for the tigers, their habitat, and care. Besides, make sure when you visit safaris and zoos, you are following the rules and protocols of the land. The onus of being a responsible citizen while being a part of the larger ecosystem lies on us too.
The reasons why tigers have become endangered animals are:
Cutting down trees
Loss of habitat due to agricultural activity
Poaching for medicinal and religious purposes
Despite efforts and governmental regulations, the species are facing population issues. 95% of the tiger population has declined in 150 years.
Countries need the following to achieve faster tiger population growth:
Strict laws and regulations
Bringing in new policies to prevent poaching
Efforts from governmental institutions and agencies
We, at SmartHug, take this day to start having conversations with people. We wish to raise awareness about the animal and how their population declined. Let us start with discussions and debates with our friends and family.
Let us know in the comment section below what you think and suggest your way of protecting the animal.
That’s all I have for now,
I will write to you soon.