The agility, beauty, ferocity, and strength of the tiger are many reasons why the animal remains an important symbol in various world cultures. Between 100 and 200 years ago, more than 100,000 noble tigers roamed the planet, making their home in a wide selection of habitats. However, due to human factors, less than 4,000 big cats were left in 2014. As such, the majestic striped animals remain on the endangered list. A number of worldwide conservation efforts strive to increase the population.
Detrimental Environmental Factors
Ever-growing human populations encroach upon rural territory once dominated by tigers. To accommodate expanding human growth, habitats fall to destruction. Tigers living in the immediate area often come face-to-face with people, which endangers both species. When the naturally wild animals pose a threat to people, they are commonly hunted and destroyed. Various destinations strive to decrease the risk of confrontation by relocating villages and other small communities to safer locations outside of regions devoted to protecting tiger existence.
Worldwide, poaching remains another major problem between man and beast—cultures adhering to traditional alternative medicines prize tiger body parts as ingredients in concoctions to treat various ailments. Tiger bones, in particular, are a hot commodity and may sell for more than $100 per pound. The animal’s coat and head are also prized among trophy hunters. The wildlife trade monitoring network is TRAFFIC, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Many law enforcement agencies combine efforts to reduce poaching through stricter laws and punishments for infractions.
World Conservation Summit
At one time, tiger populations existed in 30 nations. Nearly one dozen species freely lived and thrived. Now, only six subspecies are known to have survived. Unfortunately, the tiger’s plight did not draw attention until 13 nations gathered in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2010. All in attendance agreed to establish efforts to double the tiger populations by the year 2022. But, recent studies indicate that Bhutan, India, and Nepal are the only countries to experience ongoing success. Indian scientists that tigers numbered a mere 1,411 in the year 2006. But today, the count is 2,967.