Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tigers May Become Extinct Soon

It is a matter of great concern that wild tigers could become extinct in next 12 years if action is not taken by countries where they live, to protect their habitats and step up the fight against poaching. According to the World Wildlife Fund and other experts there are only about 3200-3500 tigers left in the wild, which is a dramatic plunge from an estimated 100,000 a century ago. It is believed that if the proper protective measures are not taken, tigers may disappear completely by 2022.
Tigers are mostly located in Asia. The reason why tigers are becoming endangered is because of the loss of their habitat due to the spread of man, and because of poaching. Places that were once covered with vast forests have been cleared for agriculture. As forest space diminishes, tigers can't find the prey they need to survive. As a result, tigers have begun to eat the livestock belonging to villagers who live near what's left of the forests. In retaliation, tigers are getting killed by villagers protecting their families and their livestock.
Tigers are also killed because tiger skins and body parts are considered valuable as medicines and fashion accessories. Every part of a dead tiger is valuable. A tiger's coat sells for as much as $20,000 on the black market. An intact tiger forearm can bring in hundreds of dollars per pound. Tiger penis soup sells for $320 a bowl in Taiwan. (Some people actually believe that tiger penis soup will increase their sexuality!) Tiger bones, claws, eyes and even the whiskers command high prices for use in Eastern potions and elixirs. To fulfill the demand, the world's last tigers are being illegally trapped, poisoned and shot, then smuggled across international boundaries. Forestry and wildlife departments don't have the resources to fight against the poachers and the brutal killing of the tiger.


However, there are many things happening to stop the killing of tigers. A wide-ranging program with the goal of doubling the world’s tiger population has been approved, and will be backed by governments of the 13 countries that still have tiger population. These countries are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam and Russia.  It is estimated that these countries will need about $ 350 million in outside funding in the first five years of the 12-year plan. We hope donors from all across the world will come forward to help the governments of these countries to finance conservation measures and save the majestic tiger from becoming extinct.