International Tiger Day

Today is International Tiger Day and I thought I would write a piece on this lovely, beautiful and very rare animal.

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Above: Sumatran female tiger – Puna where I volunteer for at Wildlife Heritage Foundation.

The tiger is the worlds largest cat and there are only roughly 3200 left in the wild. It is on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and is currently listed as endangered.

There are 6 tiger sub-species remaining with 3 that have gone fully extinct:

  • Bengal
  • Sumatran
  • Amur or Siberian
  • Indochinese
  • Malaya
  • South-China (although this sub-species has not been seen in the wild for maybe 9-10 years)

Extinct species:

  • Javan
  • Caspian
  • Bali

There are quite a few factors why this amazing cat is hanging right on the edge and could go extinct (at least in the wild). Here are a few:

  • Poaching for parts of the animal, especially traditional medicines in Asia.
  • Increased human population which causes some human tiger conflict – this is where humans live very close to tigers and come across and encroach on tiger territory.
  • Deforestation and habitat loss. They are semi solitary animals and they need large amounts of room for their territory. Unfortunately as the human population grows we destroy the land that these animals live in to sustain our own benefits.

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This is Pan a male Amur/Siberian tiger.

Tigers are on the very edge of the precipice at the moment, in fact they only live in roughly 7% of their original ranges. If you really think about it, 100 years ago there were as many as 100,000 tigers in the wild and in that little time we have lost nearly 97% of them. Do we really want to only see these beautiful animals in Zoo’s and what about the next generation, will they not have an opportunity to see these beautiful animals in the wild? It is a very tough question to answer and only we as humans can do the right thing – stop poaching, land encroachment, human/tiger conflict and killing these animals for the use in traditional medicines!

I hope this has piqued everyone’s curiosity about these beautiful, mysterious animals and the danger they face!? I am very lucky to volunteer for Wildlife Heritage Foundation where they look after some of these magnificent, rare animals and consider myself very lucky to be part of the team that cares so much for them and about them. 🙂

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Here are some links to Charity’s and NGO’s (Non Government Organizations) that help in conservation of tigers and the other big cats:

Wildlife Heritage Foundation
Panthera
Big Cat Rescue
ALTA Conservation
21st Century Tiger

 

 

 

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