Wild Tigers: the Time to Act Is Now
HOBOKEN, New Jersey, December 31, 2013 (ENS) – Tigers are in trouble. The largest of the world’s cats, a species that’s existed for two million years, is slipping away before our eyes. Few realize that just 3,000 tigers remain in the wild. I just heard unofficial news that 100 tigers were poached in India in 2013.
A century ago, more than 100,000 roamed 30 nations; today, they hang on in 12. Scattered in small pockets across Asia, they’ve disappeared from 93 percent of their former range. Without serious intervention, tigers could be exterminated from the wild within our lifetimes, though others will languish behind bars in captivity.
Like all endangered wildlife, they face many threats. Asia’s exploding human population is leveling habitat and emptying forests of deer and other tiger prey, leaving the big cats little to eat.
As villagers push deep into tiger territory, there’s inevitable conflict. Tigers – especially elderly cats or mothers with cubs – sometimes kill a cow, buffalo or other livestock. When they do, villagers often retaliate.
The cat’s current precipitous decline began in the 1980s with a wave of poaching across their range. At that time, an appetite for animal parts used in traditional medicine skyrocketed in tandem with China’s expanding industrialization – and a growing middle class with money to spend.
Published date, Jan 3, 2014