International Tiger Day - Know More About the Glorious Tiger

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You may have heard of the "Protect Tigers" or "Save the Tiger" project that aims to prevent the extinction of tigers in the world. These campaigns were started following the decline in the global tiger population at the beginning of the 20th century, which saw a 95 per cent loss of the total population of tigers across the world- mainly to activities like poaching. 

Since the 1970s, many conservative efforts were taken to change this although there was still a rapid decline in the population of tigers worldwide. Hence in 2010, the countries with a tiger range proposed to double the number of tigers (Global Tiger Recovery Program) by the year 2022, during the St. Petersburg Declaration.

Accordingly, 29 July every year since 2010 has been marked as International Tiger Day, on this occasion, tigers are celebrated all over the globe. It is observed to raise awareness for tiger conservations- because they are on the brink of extinction and therefore we need to try our best to halt their decline by improving the protection of tigers and their natural habitat.

What Issues Do Tigers Around the World Face?

Tigers on this globe face different kinds of issues. There is no doubt that most numbers of tigers lose their lives because of poaching. But, other factors also play a part which has driven these incredible creatures to extinction. Some of them are -

1. Loss of Habitat

Habitat loss due to the clearing of woods and forests for agriculture and timber, as well as the building of road networks, other developmental activities, etc. present a serious threat to the tiger habitat, as an estimated 95 per cent lose their homes. Since they have huge home ranges and are very territorial, they need a large area of habitat for their survival. 

A small number of tigers can survive in a tiny limited space or scattered lands of habitats, which leaves them at a higher risk of poaching and inbreeding, as they set forth beyond their areas to establish their territories.

2. Conflict With Humans

As forests become smaller, the prey becomes limited, tigers are then compelled to leave their protected areas in search of food, which leads them to human-dominated areas that lie within the habitats.

Here the tigers can kill domestic livestock that those communities depend on for their living. Sometimes, they retaliate by killing or capturing these tigers that can end up for sale in the black markets.

3. Climate Change

One of the globe's biggest tiger populations is located in the Sundarbans- the only coastal tiger habitat on the planet, which is a great forest area shared by both India and Bangladesh on the shore of the Indian Ocean. These forests shelter the tigers and protect the coastal region from storm and wind destruction. 

Climate change has caused rising sea levels that endanger these forests and the last surviving habitat of this tiger population. According to World Wide Fund for Nature, without mitigation measures, by 2070 the forecasted sea-level-rise could destroy and put an end to almost the whole Sundarbans tiger habitat.

4. Captive Tigers

Over 8,000 tigers were being held captive in more than two hundred centres or farms in the East and Southeast Asia, by approximately 3-quarters of these tigers placed in China where their commercial captive breeding in those farms became a significant hindrance to the improvement and security of the wild tiger population.

This is because they carry on with the sale for tiger products which serves as a cover for unlawful trade. World Wide Fund for Nature is appealing to governments in countries with existing tiger farms, champions ending breeding and discontinuing the practice of the farms and advocates improved regulations of the captive tiger population in the United States. 

About five thousand tigers live in the US. We must assure that they are not exploited, or added to the illegal sale of tigers and their parts.

5. Poaching

The most critical threat to wild tiger populations is poaching- starting from its whiskers, right up to its tail, skin, bone, all parts of it have been found in unlawful wildlife markets or black markets. As you may have watched in films, cartoons or real life, it's skin is sometimes even used in home decor. 

Furthermore, the tiger's bone and other parts are used for modern health medicines and tonics. Countries with strict enforcement of tiger protection laws too are striving to fight this unceasing struggle against poaching. Multinational crime syndicates orchestrate these poachings and collect huge amounts of profits from their crimes against the wildlife.

When a poacher even kills one tiger it results in a huge loss, for instance, if a female tiger with cubs loses her life, the cubs will most probably die without their mother, etc. And, if a male tiger loses his life then the competition for his territory will increase among the existing male tigers in the wildlife population which can lead to possible injuries or death.

The Population of Tigers -

A wildlife campaign group reported that about 7000 tigers in the US are held captive and an estimated 1,600 in Europe, meanwhile, just 3,900 tigers remain in the wildlife, this means the tigers kept captive outnumber those in the wildlife. According to WWF, only 3890 tigers are left in the wild on the globe in 2020, but you must note that this number is a recovery.

In 2019, India was successful in accomplishing its target of doubling the number of tigers, two years ahead of the committed year of 2022. It stood at almost 2970 tigers in the wildlife, making it one of the largest and most protected habitats of the tigers, moreover, it was also measured to be home to nearly seventy per cent of the world's wildlife tigers.

Why Tigers Matter -

Tigers are a significant part of our ecosystem and culture, being a large predator it plays a critical role in sustaining healthy ecosystems that help both natures and people with fresh water, food and health. Guarding tiger habitats could help protect at least 9 important watersheds that regulate and supply fresh water to more than 800 million people in Asia. 

Due to tigers, some of the world's poorest countries can gain some income with the help of tourism- if they have tigers in their habitats that the tourists would like to see, furthermore, tiger conservation projects create employment opportunities or provide different livelihoods to the rural communities.

How to Help?

This International Tiger Day discover how to help and protect the tigers in the wildlife by learning more about them on this link - WWF
Protect and Save Tigers!

Written by - Ivanova

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