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Are we Threatening the Tiger Population?

Lions may be the king of the jungle, but roaring under the glory of the rainforest canopies, tigers are indeed the charm of the timberland.

International Tiger Day, 29th July

The international tiger day, also called the Global Tiger Day, was first celebrated in 2010. It was founded in an international summit that was called in response to the groundbreaking news that 95% of the total tiger population had vanished in the last century. As evident, the Panthera species is at the neck of extinction, and this is alarming. It is sad news to hear that there are more tigers in captivity than the ones in the wild. The international tiger day aims to arrow towards the practices that must be stopped, support conservation, and spreading awareness. It promotes a worldwide system to protect tigers and their natural habitats.

Are Humans a Threat to Tiger Population?

All the fingers point to us, human beings. From illegal poaching to deforestation, from wildlife smuggling to avid urbanization, the humans have encroached the natural lands of those who need it the most. As ecologists talk of the interdependency cycle of the ecosystem, from the microorganisms to the humans on top of the food chain, everyone plays a pivotal role.

Joshua Rego says that deforestation is prevented in those areas where tigers take home. These are called hotspots. This directly affects the humans as trees help actively in the oxygen cycle. However, if tigers were to go away, the forests which are currently protected as key habitats would fall prey to illegal logging or fragmentation.

Why are the Tiger Numbers on a Decrease?

A picture from Thailand where young boys are lured into selling tiger bones and skin
A picture from Thailand where young boys are lured into selling tiger bones and skin

➔ Multiple diseases like Feline panleukopenia, Sarcocystis, CDV (Canine Distemper Virus), etc, can erupt an epidemic and cause significant deaths.

➔ A tiger needs to eat about 50 deer-sized animals. Thus, one of the leading causes of the decline in tiger numbers is the loss of prey.

➔ Conviction rates and quantum of punishment are very meager for those caught under the fraud of exploiting tigers. There is no proper judicial sentence for offenders.

➔ Lack of protection infrastructure - Forest officers and patrol personnel are paid to deliver the location of tigers.

➔ Pseudo mushrooming of NGOs - many NGOs claim to have contributed to tiger protection and reserves, but at times they could be at fault themselves.

➔ Tiger bone wine, a traditional Chinese medicine, is used as a bribe in many organizations. In the fashion industry, tiger skin clothing is a representation of status.

➔ Cyber poaching - tigers are fitted with a radio tracking collar connected by a satellite to keep track of its whereabouts. This collar might be close to 5000$, but it has led to many successful killings.

➔ Black market trade in big cat parts leaves 100 critically endangered tigers dead every year.

➔ Global warming leading to dried and hotter surroundings is a new threat to tigers. On the flip side, this has also brought many non-seasonal floods and storms.

➔ A new report from the wildlife monitoring group TRAFFIC International reveals that an estimated 1,000 wild tigers have been killed by poachers over the last ten years.

What can we do?

The tiger is used for a plethora of purposes
The tiger is used for a plethora of purposes

On the bright side, WWF Darren Grover hopes that the tiger population will reach 6,400 by the end of 2022. India alone houses 60% of the world's total tiger population.

➔ Be a responsible tourist, especially in areas rich in diversity. As an individual, spread awareness about tiger protection measures.

➔ An activity of tiger offense should be reported immediately and severe punishment for poachers.

➔ Take small steps to reduce the pressure on the environment, such as the switch from plastic to cloth bags and follow a minimalist lifestyle.

➔ Educate the locals and villagers on how they can deal with an astray tiger while protecting themselves.

➔ Ban goods made of tigers.

We all must do our bit, because, until the tigers have their storyteller, the hunters will always have the best stories.

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