The Tiger. The most magnificent creature on the face of the planet. Voted the world’s favourite animal in a global survey. Yet it is one of the most threatened.
In the past 100 years we have wiped out a staggering 97% of their population – and some subspecies are already extinct. Why does this happen?
- First of all tigers are hunted for the illegal wildlife trade, mostly for their body parts which are used in traditional medicine in many parts of Asia. Their pelts are also highly prized.
- The tiger’s prey is also being hunted unsustainably. This not only diminishes their chances of survival, but if tigers cannot find enough food they will inevitably enter into conflict with humans by trying to prey on their livestock. Tigers are then killed as retribution.
- Tiger habitat is shrinking and getting fragmented
There are more tigers in captivity in the USA alone than in their whole range roaming free – more than three times as much according to some estimates. This is not only a shocking statistic but it is a problem in itself as many of these tigers are either kept as pets or else used as attractions for profit. In the vast majority of cases they are kept in an unsuitable and cruel environment and no attention is paid to their welfare.