Since 2010, the Indian government has been working alongside the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and the NTCA or National Tiger Conservation Authority to evaluate the population of tigers in the country. In that year, it was found that there were only 1,706 tigers in existence, which indicates a drastic decline from the estimated 3,642 recorded in 2002. While a 2014 survey indicated that the tiger population has since risen to 2,226, that number still indicates a decline. Here are a couple of reasons that the low tiger population is concerning.

The Tiger is an Apex Predator

There is a hierarchy of predators in the ecosystem that ensures the survival of each species of animal. Once a predator grows extinct, all of the species that that animal hunts will thrive and grow in unprecedented numbers. This sudden population explosion will upset the entire ecosystem. For this reason, the absence of tigers through extinction will have a devastating effect on the ecosystem as a whole. The disappearance of an apex predator, such as a tiger, also indicates that there are underlying problems, which led to the extinction of such a dominant animal.

Tiger Extinction Would Collapse the Ecosystem

A drop in the tiger population would also affect the vegetation that comprises the forests in India. As a result of a low tiger population, herbivores may rise in population and consume more vegetation. This will impact the ability of certain plant species to regenerate. As the forests become less dense and other animals are no longer able to thrive, the entire ecosystem will begin to collapse. The result will be reduced access to clean water, vegetation, pollinated plant life, and harsher temperatures.

While the tiger population may not seem like something that will affect humans, the loss of these predators will greatly affect the availability of natural resources. In just a few short years, we may find that the loss of tigers in our jungles has led to fewer resources that once seemed limitless. Fortunately, it’s not too late to act. By making efforts to help India preserve their tiger population, you can ensure the ecosystem remains strong and thrives for years to come. Protecting tigers will help us to make certain the human population also continues to thrive.