Tigers in Trouble
A World Without Tigers?
If you were going to pick one of the most magnificent animals on Earth, what would you choose? The tiger would be many people’s top choice.
In fewer than 20 years, tigers could disappear from the wild. In the last century, tigers have suffered a sharp drop in numbers. Today there are fewer than 3,200 tigers outside zoos. One hundred years ago, there were about 100,000.
Scientists say there is still hope, but people need to act now.
The Mini Page talked with the managing director of Panthera, a group working to save the world’s big cats, to learn more about the endangered tiger.
People are the reason tigers are threatened. Humans have caused trouble for tigers in three ways: • killing of tigers, • overhunting of prey, • habitat loss or habitat breakup.
Sometimes people kill tigers because they are afraid or because the tigers are eating farm animals.
But the biggest reason people kill tigers is to get their body parts to sell. Many people in Asia believe eating tiger parts will give them some of the tiger’s power. China is the largest market for tiger parts today.
Poachers (PO-chers), or people who hunt illegally, kill tigers to make a profit.
Lack of food
People eat the same foods tigers eat, such as deer and wild pigs, or boar. As people have spread into the tigers’ habitat, they have killed most of the tigers’ food for themselves.
Then hungry tigers have eaten cows and other livestock and scared people.
People have destroyed much of the tigers’ historical habitat. They have cut down forests and constructed buildings within tiger habitat. Sometimes people have moved into the middle of tiger habitat, so the tigers cannot reach prey or other tigers to mate with.
This tiger roams in the Kaziranga National Park in India. Tigers prefer to hunt between sundown and sunrise. They might roam from 6 to 20 miles a night hunting for prey to eat.
In the last 100 years, tigers have lost about 93 percent of their range, or area they occupy. The lighter shaded areas show the tigers’ range a century ago. The darkened areas show the tigers’ range today. They now live in the wild in only 13 countries in Asia.