Scientists are concerned why are tigers endangered and what immediate steps must be taken in order to prevent remaining species from disappearing once for all. Tiger is an endangered species and most of all humans are responsible for leaving the nature’s majestic killing machine at the verge of extinction.
Some of the most usual causes of the rapid decline are poaching for fur and trading in different parts of tiger for commercial purposes, as well as habitat destruction. In the beginning of the 20th century, there were 100,000 tigers in the wild but the population diminished outside of captivity to between 1,500 and 3,500. The increasing demand for tiger’s parts for using it in the Traditional Chinese Medicine also presents a real threat to these species. According to few scientists, there are no more than 2,500 species remaining in the wild. The exact figures are still unknown.
Why Are Tigers Endangered
Poaching | India
- The largest population of tigers is in India. There are around 3,500 tigers worldwide, out of which 1,400 inhabits in India. Bad news is that only 11% of the original Indian tiger’s habitats are left as they are subject to continuous hunting or poaching. Referring to the 2008 survey which was conducted in India, there is a 60% decline in the tiger’s population since 1973.
- It follows that the main reason for this much reduction was poaching at an extreme level. On the positive side, Indian government took an initiative in response to these figures, by pledging $153 to assist the Project Tiger.
- The Government also set up a Tiger Protection Force to contest with poachers. They are also making efforts for devising ways as to how can we lessen the tiger-human conflict. Considering these, Indian Government also established Ranthambore National Park to deal with poachers which was indeed a great success.
- The poachers have been engaged in poisoning waterholes as well as setting steel wires to kill this beautiful creature apart from selling tiger’s skin to the medicine industry.
- Despite all the above conservation efforts, tiger’s population continues to decline and is classified as critically endangered species.
- According to the estimate in 1940, there were only 40 Siberian tigers remaining in the wild. While the Soviet Union ruled, poaching was strictly forbidden which results in the rise of tigers to several hundred species within few years. However, the concern arose again in 1990 when the Russian economy flopped and more and more hunters sought access to poaching. Today there are 400 to 550 Siberian tigers surviving in the wild.
- Although trading in tiger’s skins is illegal throughout China, people living in Tibet did not seem to believe it. It was not known until 2000 when the Wildlife Protection Society of India released news and pictures about Tibetans wearing tiger skins. Further investigations revealed that the trading commenced from India and high-level smuggling continued in the tiger’s skin in between India and Nepal.
- One can assess the diminishing numbers by analyzing these facts; Caspian tigers became extinct in 1970, while Bali tigers disappeared in 1930, followed by the Javan tiger that were extinct in 1980s.
- Of all the tiger species, only five are remaining; Siberian tiger, Bengal tiger, South China Tiger, Indochinese tiger, and Sumatran tiger. A handful number of these species exist in few pockets of Bangladesh, Nepal, Russia, and India.
Loss of Habitat
- With the explosion of human population, natural habitats of several species were brought into question and remained a subject of debate among scientists for many years. Tiger is one such species. Rise in population forced these cats to leave their terrestrial habitats some of which fell prey to poaching and excessive hunting.
- It so happens that once the male tiger is killed, it becomes difficult for female alone to defend her territory from other adult males. The intruders often kill her cubs indeed disrupting a breeding cycle. One way or other, villagers or the native people who feel threats from tigers are often involved in killing these animals.
Learn more: Bengal Tiger Habitat