Awareness: Species

Tiger - Panthera tigris

Tiger - Panthera tigris

Conservation Status: listed as Endangered by IUCN

A good note to begin with, the population of wild tigers on global level increased after a period of 100 years. But it’s still a beginning of a long dangerous fight of survival. As per the latest census report there are around 3,900 tigers in the wild. According to 2010 censes the number of wild tigers were 3200.

Tigers are the biggest of the Asian big cats. A tiger weigh up to 306 kg and their length is over three meters long. Males are heavier than females. The stripes are unique; this uniqueness helps in identifying them. The stripes and color give tigers a great camouflage in their habitat.

Tigers are intelligent, calculative and ferocious hunters. Often tigers hunt alone. Spotting, sneaking and stalking are the method they follow typically. Another strength is their ability to leap up to ten meters. They can be lethal even to a medium-sized elephants. Tigers can eat up to 40 kg meat at a time. The availability of the prey is what determines the size of a tiger’s territory. A male tiger’s territory can stretch to 1000 square km.

Tigers are loners, the exemption happens only during the mating period and among mother with descendants. Tigers reach sexually active and ready to reproduction when a female is about three and half years and the male is about five years. After conceiving they part. The pregnancy duration is 16 weeks. Female will find a den before delivery time. Often two to three cubs will be in a litter. For up to eight weeks they will be kept in the den. The tiger cubs are born with their eyes closed. It will take six to twelve days to open the cubs’ eyes. The cubs totally depend on their mother. They weigh between half kg to one kg when they are born. When they reach six to eight weeks old, they will start consume solid food. About eight weeks time they start to explore the world outside the den along with their mother. The mother nurses the cubs up to six months. Only half of the kids survive to reach their maturity. The main threats other than poaching are male tigers, floods, fire and other predators. Rare conflicts with elephants, bears and buffaloes can also lead to the death of tigers. When they reach one and half to two years, they will be ready to live by their own. Females often make territory close to their mother and males tend to move far further. By any chance if all cubs die because of any reason, the female will be able to conceive in another five months time.

Bengal tiger, Siberian (Amur) tiger, Sumatran tiger, Malayan tiger, Indochinese tiger and South china tiger are six sub-species alive though some are extensively endangered. Forest, mangrove swamps, grasslands and savannahs are natural habitats.

Major threats are created by humans, starting from poaching, habitat loss, human wildlife conflict and climate change. Though the legal system and protection teams are putting big pressure on illegal wildlife traders and poachers, they still manage to find new ways and means to achieve their target. Every part of a tiger’s body has huge demand in the illegal wildlife trade.

Even a single tiger’s death can create major issues in the full ecosystem. If a male tiger is killed, there will be fights among other males on the territory and the new males can trouble in further breeding too. If it’s a female that is killed, then the possibility of the next generations is lost because of the human greed. If its mother tiger that lost her life in the poacher’s hands, then most likely the cubs will not survive.

All of these illegal trading are either to show off as a prestigious possession of some body part of the tiger or to add it as a part of some traditional remedies. Our ignorance and false pride become the main cause of the extinction of this wild beauty.

If the current scale of deforestation continues we will loose our rainforests completely from the surface of earth in just a 100 years time. Once again this is mainly for agriculture, illegal timber, paper, illegal encroachment and grazing livestock. Either way tigers will loose the major part of their habitat, and be forced to survive in smaller areas, which will make conditions easier for poachers. Another problem is when the habitat shrinks tigers then begin to move into local communities very close to the forest. It is natural that the tigers end up in hunting livestock’s or people who get into their territory for wood and purposes. Unfortunately these tigers will end-up in illegal traders with help of surrounding people or get killed by local people.

Global warming, another biggest issue the world is facing now, is mainly because of humans selfish and ignorant activities. Sundarbans, which is one of the world’s largest tiger population area and the world single largest blocks of mangrove forests, is shared between India and Bangladesh. It’s a habitat for 250 to 400 tigers, which is about the 10% of the wild tiger population. As per the data published by the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change in its Fourth Assessment Report, sea level can rise by one-third meter by 2070, which can damage the entire tiger habitat of Sundarbans.

Unfortunately, here again above 95% of the cause of destruction are directly or indirectly by an effect of human activities.

Poaching, habitat loss and human-wildlife conflicts, and global climate changes are the major issues we are facing today. Say ABSOLUTE NO to any kind of animal/tiger products. If you receive any information on illegal trading, poaching or illegal encroachment, inform the related authorities and do follow up till there is a proper action.

We can see many examples of illegal encroachment across the world. Unfortunately this encroachment does happen from all levels of the society. For some it is just to find place for a hut to live in, but for others it is for plantations or building resorts. Either way it’s damage. We have already caused enough and more deforestation in the last 100 years. If we don’t stop this now, in another 100 years time we will loose mores rainforests from the earth.

Now it’s the time to stop these destructive activities and start a positive movement on the ground level. Start by yourself or form a small group to spread awareness and guidance among the community who lives close to the forest. Be a part of any reliable conservation groups and activities. Educate yourself and to begin with share the knowledge in your close circle. Use media, use public and use every source to stop illegal wildlife trades.

Everyone can be the voice for the voiceless. Your voice is important. Your ideas are important. Your actions are important. Share your thoughts and stories with us. Make this world a better place for all living beings to live in peace and harmony.

 

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