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Endangered Tigers

Roy D'Silva
One of the most majestic animals of all time, the tiger is on the brink of extinction. They have been rampantly hunted for various reasons ranging from body organs to their meat, fur, and skin.
Though the tiger is one of the most powerful mammals, it also faces the worst chances of being extinct. In fact, as many as three subspecies of tigers have become extinct in the last 30 years and there is danger of even more of the species becoming extinct.
Recent estimates put the population of all tigers (including the ones in captivity) at somewhere between 5000-7500, with only about 3200 in the wild. At the beginning of the century, this number was closer to about 100,000. This shows how fast the population of tigers is diminishing, and if care is not taken, this majestic mammal will soon be extinct.

Species Status Number Alive

Status: Endangered

Remaining: Around 2000
Bengal (Indian) Tiger

Status: Endangered

Remaining: Around 1200
Indochinese Tiger

Status: Endangered

Remaining Around 800
Malayan Tiger

Status: Endangered

Remaining Around 600
Amur (Siberian) Tiger

Status: Endangered

Remaining Around 500
Sumatran Tiger

South China Tiger

Status: Endangered

Remaining Fewer than 50

Caspian Tiger

Status: Extinct

Last Seen: Around 1970s

Bali Tiger

Status: Extinct

Last Seen: Around 1930s


The Tasmanian tiger, also called the Tasmanian wolf, is actually a marsupial, and is not related to tigers.
There are very few tigers left in the world today, and if adequate care and measures are not taken, even these will be wiped out from the face of the earth. The South China Tiger, for example, is on the verge of extinction, with barely 50 remaining today. Even so, it has been at least 20 years since a South China Tiger was last spotted, and many are of the opinion that this subspecies is already extinct.

Why is the Tiger Endangered?

Tigers have been hunted heavily by humans over the past few years. In ancient times, they were tamed and kept as pets by royalty. Indeed, a tamed cat would add much color to the royal nature of people at that time. Tiger hunting was a popular sport played by royalty in ancient times.
Also, in many Asian countries, various superstitions regarding tigers exist; a talisman made out of a tiger's claw is considered to have supernatural powers.
These animals have been hunted for their fur. Ironically, the biggest enemies of tigers may be the connection they have with masculinity and strength in the minds of their largest predators, humans.
Almost everything related to the tiger has been sold and held in high esteem and price, be it their claws, their fur, their teeth and in some cases, their eyes. The tiger's body organs have also been rumored to be a cure for many of human ailments. This has also resulted in the reckless poaching of tigers, making them an endangered species today.
Most of the tiger's body parts are said to be aphrodisiacs, medicines or poisons - possibly the most powerful in the world. This false notion has therefore made hunters hunt tigers for their whiskers, their eyes, and even their penises, liver, and fat. The bones of a tiger are also said to be prized medicines.
Other than simple hunting, humans have also changed the natural habitat of the tiger. Humans have encroached on tiger land, which more often than not results in hunting tigers in the end. They have also destroyed their habitat by cutting down trees and polluting the atmosphere.
More seriously, humans have hunted their prey, forcing tigers to either starve or take more risks. In reality, the tiger does not hunt any animal larger than itself, for example the elephant. They are also very good climbers and swimmers. This adaptability saves them from natural disasters and floods.
However, when it comes to fighting against their biggest mortal enemy - the human - tigers fall short of weapons in their arsenal.
The tiger population in the Indian sub-continent has declined seriously in the past fifty years. Nepal has only two hundred tigers, while India has about four thousand, a serious decline from the past figures.
China and Korea are the biggest criminals as far as tiger poaching is concerned.While humans are the worst enemies of the tiger, it also has enemies in the form of elephants, bears, and very large buffaloes. The only defense tigers have against their enemies are their razor-sharp claws and their strong teeth.
There is now serious action being taken for the survival of this majestic beast at the brink of extinction. All subspecies of the tiger are considered endangered, and hunting or poaching for them is illegal all over the world.
China has banned the sale of all and any tiger related products since 1993. Since then, illegal poaching for their fur, bones, and other organs is rampant.
In spite of being endangered, they continue to be hunted, and this, along with the loss of habitat, is the greatest threat to this majestic beast. The World Wildlife Fund, or the WWF, is taking various measures to stop the decline of the tiger, and increase the number of tigers, both in the wild and in captivity.
Their goal is double the number of tigers in the world by 2022, the Year of the Tiger. There are also various other organizations that are taking measures to prevent the extinction of this royal beast, and though the outlook seems grim as of now, we can but hope that all efforts taken prove to be successful.