THE LARGEST OF ALL BIG CATS AND AN APEX PREDATOR, TIGERS ARE NOW AN ENDANGERED SPECIES. IT'S ESTIMATED THERE WERE ONCE OVER 100,000 TIGERS THAT ROAMED THE INDIAN FORESTS FREELY. THE TIGER HABITATS HAVE SHRUNK DRASTICALLY OVER THE DECADES AND SOON WE MAY LIVE TO SEE THE DAY WILD TIGERS BECOME EXTINCT. IT'S ONLY THREAT IS US - MAN.
Loss of Habitat & Prey
The astounding growth in human population in and around Tiger ranges has resulted in shrinking of the Tigerâ€™s habitat and the depletion of its prey forcing it into conflict with humans. The Tigerâ€™s habitat is being taken over for agricultural purposes,Â subject to deforestation, access routes, human settlements, and hydroelectric dams â€“ all of which have contributed to a 93% loss of the historic tiger ranges over the last century. Deforestation is the prime reason for the loss of habitat -dense forests are now making way to generate products like paper, coffee, palm oil etc. All of this have created small pockets of land in which the Tigers are now forced to live and be surrounded by a rapidly increasing human populations. Isolated Tiger populations has made it difficult for them to reproduce and has led to a reduction in genetic diversity.
Tiger- Human Conflict
Loss of habitat means Tigers now live in areas surrounded by human populations. As Tigers wander, trying to find new habitats, they often encounter humans, which leads to conflict. Depletion of the Tigerâ€™s natural prey is causing Tigers them to hunt domestic livestock that local communities depend on for their livelihood, which is another cause for conflict. Innocent villagers fearing future attacks or to claim retribution poison the carcass and kill the Tiger when returns to feast on its kill results in death due to consumption of the poisoned carcass.
Poaching is a massive threat for India's Wild Tigers. Illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worthÂ US$19 billion a year, poaching isÂ dictated by increasingly sophisticated and well-armed criminal gangs.Â The demand for Tiger partsÂ as trophies, their hides as status symbolsÂ and as an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine is driving the Tiger to the brink of extinction. Even though the Chinese government has banned the trade of Tiger parts but cultural values continue to believe in the protective powers and medicinal cure associated with Tiger parts and hence it drives demand. Parts of an individual adult Tiger are estimated to fetch as much as $50,000 making them a very lucrative proposition for poachers.
The consumers of Tiger products who knowingly purchase Tiger products as a status symbol. Poachers who fuel the demand for Tiger Parts by poaching Wild Tigers. Tiger farm operators who raise Tigers and breed them unnaturally to meet the demand for Tiger Parts. Lackadaisical governments who lack political will to create Tiger reserves and fail to uphold stringent laws against wildlife crime. Irresponsible consumers who unknowingly buy products that are a result of unethical sustainable practices. Unscrupulous Corporations who are directly responsible for deforestation in order to obtain raw materials for their finished goods.