Sav­ing the Tiger

The Washington Post Sunday - - THE MINI PAGE -

Com­ing to­gether for tigers

Peo­ple all over the world are very wor­ried about the tiger. It is against the law in ev­ery coun­try to kill a tiger, be­cause tigers are an en­dan­gered species.

In Novem­ber, world lead­ers and con­ser­va­tion groups met in Rus­sia to fig­ure out how to save the tiger. Lead­ers hope to dou­ble the num­ber of tigers in the wild by 2022. Gov­ern­ments, es­pe­cially those in coun­tries where tigers still roam, have promised their full sup­port.

Time is run­ning out

En­vi­ron­men­tal groups and na­tional and lo­cal gov­ern­ments are work­ing to­gether to set up

pre­serves, or pro­tected ar­eas, for tigers. They are also work­ing to save forests and grass­lands, and the prey in those ar­eas, so tigers can re­pro­duce safely.

Stop­ping poach­ers is one of the top con­cerns. Car­ing peo­ple are rais­ing money for more guards and train­ing them to pro­tect tigers from poach­ers.

Tak­ing im­me­di­ate steps

We can save tigers if we can keep them safe long enough for their num­bers to in­crease. Some of the steps peo­ple around the world are tak­ing in­clude:

• Pan­thera has helped set up the world’s largest tiger pre­serve, about the size of Ver­mont, in Myan­mar.

• Thai­land is pay­ing for the foot pa­trols pro­tect­ing tigers there.

• Pan­thera’s Tigers For­ever pro­gram is help­ing to pro­tect tigers from the main threats across Asia.

The tiger is a key­stone species. This means it is an an­i­mal that the whole ecosys­tem de­pends on. (A key­stone is a stone at the top of an arch. It holds the other pieces in place.) If the tiger were to dis­ap­pear, prey an­i­mals such as deer would in­crease. Too many deer can spread dis­ease and eat crops.

photo © Nick Gar­butt

There once were nine types, or sub­species, of tigers. Three of those types are al­ready ex­tinct.

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