“Tiger was the National Animal of India. It had yellow and black stripes on its body. It was fierce and majestic to look at. Human beings loved everything about it…except its existence and so the tiger became extinct……
The words above may soon become the only thing future generations get to know about the tigers if something is not done right now. Even if you are not an activist or a school teacher, you are not a poacher or an environmental lover even; you can still save the tiger and not leave it to chance. Saving tigers in fact will save our own existence.
Why is Saving Tigers so Important?
Tigers are one of the toughest predators of the wild world. They hunt animals that graze on forest land and help keep their population under control. If all the tigers of the jungle vanish, the population of herbivores like dears and gazelles will rise to such an extent that they will start depleting the trees, grasslands and green covers of entire regions. This will wipe out forest covers which in turn will leave the soil unprotected and result in mass soil erosion. The ground water too will not hold in absence of plants.
Without water, land, and trees, human beings cannot survive for very long either.
Therefore, saving the tigers will ensure saving the human race and the livable earth.
Why is it Important to Act Right Now?
In the 1900s there were around 7700 tigers in the wild, but today there are only 3200 in the world. In fact there is more number of tigers in captivity than roaming freely in jungles.
India currently is the nation with highest number of tigers among the 13 tiger nations of the world. But that statistics in nothing to be proud of because even in our country only 1411 tigers are left in the wild where post independence there were at least 4400 tigers in the country. Should that be the plight of the beast we call our national animal?
In the last 70 years 3 subspecies of tigers have already become extinct. If you consider the average life span of a human being to be around 70, that means hundreds of tigers have died never to roam on earth in a single human life time!
Can we so easily even think of complete eradication of particular human tribes like Africans, Australians or Indians?
What Threatens the Tigers’ Existence?
There are two important threats to a tiger’s life – Poaching and urbanization.
Tigers are killed for their hide, their teeth, their bones, their skin. They poachers hideously skin them, tear them apart and convert them into potions, trophies and so called medicinal powders. The claws of the beast are clawed down by humans to make lucky charms or curios. In the US people are ready t o pay as much as $ 35,000 to acquire a tiger carcass. Ironically the poacher only gets a small percentage of this money, usually about 200 dollars for his hunt.
But poachers aside, even the common man is an equal culprit in threatening the existence of the tiger. Logging, clearing of forests for farms and need for building spaces has reduced the forest cover in major parts of the world to a negligible patch. To make our homes and industries we are destroying the tiger’s home and he has nowhere to go but die a painful death.
What can You do to Help?
Be Aware. Be Active.
You may be a person who has been compared to a tiger in some point of your life. You may be a company that has a product, a brand identity, a logo associated with the tiger. You may be a country that potrays itself and its virtues through a tiger in your national flag. Whatever be the association you have with this animal, just for tha sake of that small link, it should be a personal choice to wage a battle in yourself and your community to save the tiger.
You can take action at your level by,
Educating – Make more and more people aware about the plight of the tigers. Your friends, family, neighbors, even servants. Every person who knows the sad story may take the pledge to protect the tigers.
Campaigning – A poster outside your home, an essay competition in the neighborhood, a company save the tiger campaign, a national level conservation effort, every small and big thing you do to make commoners and leaders take notice, might motivate more to take action.
Donating – Donate to organizations that are already in the battlefield putting all their efforts to save the precious few. Your contribution can help fund the salary of the forest guards who roam in the jungle to look for poachers. It may send medics in time to save a tiger’s life. It may help plant more trees, create more water reservoirs within the forest.
Buy a dress less, eat at home rather than a restaurant for once, and donate that money to a cause that matters much more and that will be a more gratifying experience.
Avoiding – Tiger parts as medicines or as decors are just not tasteful anymore. They only show your brutal acceptance of the fact that you are one of those who are murdering tigers each day. Stop buying and automatically people will stop selling.
Buying – Sustainable forest and agriculture practices are those where every tree cut is replaced with another. Try and buy products that come from sustainable lands. This ensures that your needs are fulfilled without destroying the habitat of another species.
Together We Can
Environmentalists fear that in another 20 years there will not be a single tiger left in the wild. It is within our power to prove them wrong and make future generations see the tiger in all its grandeur. Let us pledge to do just that.