International Tiger Day: Prevent the Extinction of Wild Tigers
This entry was posted on July 28, 2014.
The 29th of July is International Tiger Day. More than ever, these majestic cats need the world’s attention. At the current rate at which tigers in the wild are decreasing, they could be extinct in the next 5 years.
International Tiger Day or Global Tiger Day was set in motion in 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit. During the summit, tiger range countries declared that they wanted to double wild tiger numbers by 2022. The day exists to rally awareness and support for tiger conservation issues as well as promote the protection and expansion of wild tigers’ habitats.
Wake Up Call
With only 3000 tigers left in the wild, 200 less than 2013, the number of tigers in the wild is at its lowest ever. The statistics are sobering: in just over 100 years, we have lost 97% of all wild tigers.
Image Source: http://tigerday.org/
Major contributors towards the drastic decline in wild tiger numbers include:
The tigers’ habitat has been put at a serious risk, with 93% of their habitat lost due to city and agricultural expansion. 100 sq Km of forest is only sufficient to support about 16 tigers. Smaller areas of habitat have made tigers more vulnerable to inbreeding and poaching.
Human Wildlife Conflict
The growing human population has left tigers and humans competing for space. For communities living in close proximity to tiger forests, tigers are a major concern. Since tigers’ habitats are shrinking and their choice of natural prey is decreasing, they are bound to hunt domestic livestock. Not only are humans losing the livestock on which they depend , but their own lives are at risk. The result is that these ‘conflict tigers’ are often killed or captured for black markets.
Tigers are often hunted for their skins or for decorative purposes. In China, tiger meat and bones are believed to have beneficial medicinal value which has lead to a massive illegal trade of tiger parts.
The Sundabans is a large mangrove forest hosting one of the world’s largest tiger populations. The forest is situated on the northern coast of the Indian Ocean, stretching across areas of India and Bangladesh. Unfortunately, rising sea levels as a result of climate change are posing a major threat to the forest’s existence. The WWF have estimated that without significant efforts to slow down climate change, the forest could be destroyed by the ocean by 2070.
As overwhelming as these facts may seem, we have the ability to make a difference:
21st Century Tiger exists to ‘give wild tigers a future.’ They have 70 conservation projects running in 7 countries. To assist them in saving wild tigers, people can choose to give once-off payments or provide ongoing support (through PayPal).
The WWF (World Wildlife Fund) focuses on protecting many endangered species including the tiger. They are working towards preventing tiger poaching, reducing habitat destruction and negotiating with local governments to implement stronger laws. To help fund their efforts, tiger lovers can adopt a ‘tiger’.
Panthera is a non-profit organisation protecting wild cats. They are fighting for the survival of wild tigers by protecting tiger habitats through law enforcement, monitoring tiger population changes and by working with communities faced with human-tiger conflicts. You can support their efforts by donating to them or by hosting a fundraiser.
Palm oil is found in approximately half of all packaged foods as well as in soaps, cosmetics and fuel for cars and power plants. Although the oil has multiple benefits, it holds a great threat to the environment. Tigers are being put at a direct risk - the deforestation taking place in Sumatra and Malaysia due to palm oil crop plantations is a serious concern for tiger habitats.
- Only support companies who are using certified sustainable palm oil.
- Request for retailers to source and stock sustainable palm oil products.
- Look for the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) logo on products containing palm oil.
Happy Tiger Day from the team at Sustainable.co.za – let’s join together to establish safe habitats for these beautiful creatures in the wild.