Currently there are only an estimate of 2,500 tigers remaining in the wild. Therefore is vitally important to take action in protecting tigers now more than ever. Tigers are at the top of the food chain so they have no natural predators, making humans the ultimate cause of their plight. Human impacts such as poaching, habitat destruction, and global warming have had a devastating effect on tigers.
Much of the time, poachers hunt tigers for the use of tiger parts in traditional Chinese medicines. Although there has been scientific proof that tiger parts have no medicinal value, many people continue to slaughter them. Tigers are protected by law under the endangered species act because of their low population size and proximity to extinction. Tiger parts can be sold on black markets for thousands of dollars, so killing them is tempting for struggling poachers. Tiger poaching tends to occur in low income areas of countries such as India,Vietnam, Malaysia, Burma, and Russia, because people feel that they have no other means of income to feed their families.
Destruction of Habitats/Ecosystem:
Habitat destruction also threatens to wipe wild tigers from our planet forever. Tigers need a lot of land to survive, because they are solitary animals that often roam hundreds of miles per week to hunt. The fragmentation of their habitats from logging, urbanization and pollution has caused their hunting range to reduce dramatically resulting in the starvation of many tigers. Habitat destruction affects availability of prey, water cleanliness, and hiding places for tiger cubs.
Global warming has posed a great threat to Bengal Tigers in particular. Since this specific subspecies of tiger relies on mangroves to hunt and breed, global warming has taken a toll on their population size. Mangroves act as sponges that soak up pollution and impurities. They also prevent things like tidal wives because they keep water flow continuous. Global warming however, has caused many mangroves to perish because of rising water levels, increased CO2, and changing temperatures.
Why help tigers?
Tigers play integral roles in the ecosystems they live in. Without the presence of tigers, many of these habitats have failed, oxygen levels have depleted, pollution has increased while water quality has decreased. This is because they keep populations of prey stable, which aids in maintaining a healthy balance between herbivores and vegetation. Vegetation such as mangroves, forest trees, and jungle fauna play astronomical roles in the air and water quality people in these areas rely on. We need to make sure tigers aren’t wiped from this planet forever, so we can restore failed ecosystems and help people who inhabit adjacent cities/towns/villages. However, it is not only essential to protect tigers for our wellbeing and the health of the world’s ecosystems. We must take a stand and fight for tigers because they are extremely symbolic animals that represent cultural, spiritual, and economical (tourism) pride for many countries and religions. Tigers are the largest of the world’s big cats, they have been praised in legends and myths for thousands of years. It will be a sad day if the tiger ever goes extinct at the hand of man.
What are we doing to help?
At Jaws and Paws we are teaching children, spreading awareness via social media, and funding research to help protect tigers. We are also developing eco-tourism programs to encourage poachers to stop killing tigers. By providing excursions in which tourists can safely view tigers in the wild, we can help the surrounding economy while saving the tigers. If poachers can see that tigers are more valuable alive than dead, they will be more inclined to protect them and therefore change their occupation! You can help by not ever purchasing tiger products, reducing your carbon footprint (turning lights off, carpooling, recycling, using less plastic), and simply spreading the word!
Why should we care?
Tigers are keystone predators that maintain a vital role in the health of their surrounding ecosystems. There are only 2500 tigers left in the wild – HIGH RISK OF EXTINCTION!! As keystone predators they keep a balance between prey/predator, regulate populations, and keep the environment healthy. An entire habitat will collapse if tigers die out since they are at the top of the food chain. Many of the ecosystems tigers live in are forests that provide ecological necessities for our own survival such as water, clean air, pollination and balanced temperatures. Without tigers these forests will falter and the people who live in areas (India, Siberia, China) where forests provide necessities will suffer, causing a decline in their own quality of life.