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Endangered Tigers: Stop Poaching and Save Habitat to Prevent Extinction

Many Species of Tigers are Endangered

"The tiger is a large-hearted gentleman with boundless courage." - Jim Corbett

One of the most majestic cats is also among the world's most endangered mammals. In recent years, the population of tigers in the wild has dropped dramatically. Numerous tiger species are on the brink of extinction, following the vanished populations of three subspecies in just 60 years.

Today, Amur (Siberian), Malayan, South China, Indo-Chinese, Royal Bengal and Sumatran Tigers are on the brink... The numbers of these wild beasts are declining rapidly.

The original range of tigers spread over lands from Siberia to Bali, and Turkey to the east coasts of Russia and China. The magnificent cats roam mountains, forests and jungles, adapting to a wide variety of terrain. Nonetheless, tigers prefer to live in the underbrush, hiding in tall grasses, and using their natural camouflage to hide from prey.

Today, tigers are endangered in part because they are being squeezed out by growing human populations, but also because poachers continue to prey on the cats for their skins and other body parts, used for concocting Chinese medicines. Also, like the Giant Panda, the habitat of the tigers is being separated/fragmented, which makes it harder for their survival.

Endangered tigers are protected in zoos and preserves

Endangered tigers are protected in zoos and preserves

What Happened to the Tigers?

The tiger was first declared an endangered species in 1969. But still, over the past century, the Earth has witnessed the fasted growing disappearance of Tigers - more than any other species. Close to 99% of the wild cats have been wiped out in 100 years.

What is the bottom line?

First and foremost, the loss of thick forests has accelerated in Asia. Like areas of Tropical rain forests, vast swathes of land are cleared for agricultural production. When this happens, tigers lose their vegetative cover, are forced into inhabited areas for prey. When they kill livestock, farmers then go after the Tigers.

Second, poaching of tigers (illegal killing) still occurs. These criminals are willing to take significant risks breaking the law because the payout is so high. From $20,000 for a tiger hide, to hundreds of dollars per pound for an intact tiger forearm, and even lucrative Tiger penises, for soup which sells for over $300 per bowl in Taiwan, every part of the tiger is "on the black market." Bones, eyes, whiskers and claws may find a part in exotic elixirs.

Unfortunately, the price on the black market exceeds the perceived penalties for killing the last tigers in the world. They are often smuggled across International borders, free from the oversight of strained wildlife departments that lack resources to enforce laws.

Finally, the original hunting grounds and habitat of the tigers has been broken into small, fragmented pieces that threaten its survival. With smaller pockets of the wild left, tigers become separated from each other, which results in reproductive difficulties. Those that are left suffer inbreeding and gene pool weakening, which results in cubs that are less likely to survive as a result of birth defects and other mutations.

Facts About Endangered Tigers

  • There were 9 original subspecies of tigers
  • In the past 60 years, 3 tiger subspecies have become extinct: the Bali tiger, the Caspian tiger, and the Javan tiger (about one every 20 years)
  • Of about 100,000 tigers in the 1900s, the number dropped to 4,000 by the 1970s and was estimated to be around 3,200 as of 2010!
  • Tigers are now critically endangered with numbers hovering between 4,500 and 7,500 of all combined subspecies.
  • All remaining tigers live in small, isolated populations in widely scattered reserves.

How to Stop Poaching and Save Endangered Tigers

Since 1969, there has been an official ban on the export of tiger pelts from India. Just a few years later, the Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species (CITES) enacted a ban on buying/selling tiger part. Yet, even up until 1993, China and Taiwan continued operating black markets in tiger parts.

President Clinton imposed trade sanctions against Taiwan in 1994 because of its role in continuing to illegally market tiger and rhino parts. This is the same year that the United States enacted the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act to allocate resources to conservation programs to save these endangered species.

Did you know that, due to the extreme endangered status of tigers, some people are breeding domestic cats to resemble their wild counterparts? Amazingly, "Toygers" are tame alternatives to the wild Bengal Tiger that people can own as pets. Toygers resemble Tigers in appearance and in many ways, behavior, even though they are not related at all to the wild animals. Yet, as precious and beautiful as these pets are, they certainly cannot replace the Tiger.

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Extinction of Endangered Tigers Can Be Avoided

Wild tigers exist in Eastern Russia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao Peoples' Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) , North Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Bhutan, India and Nepal. Yet, the largest population of tigers in a single reserve is a mere 250 cats.

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a virtual continent of people to save endangered species like the tigers. Its time to change our ways and stop encouraging poaching of tigers by giving up the wearing of faux fur, or dabbling in exotic medicines.

Daily decisions you make can literally mean the future survival of endangered species like the tigers, Giant Pandas, dolphins, sharks, etc. You can easily minimize your impact on the global community with very little effort.

Donate if you can to reputable organizations that are working to save endangered species. Support your local zoo or aquarium.

“The human race's prospects of survival were considerably better when we were defenceless against tigers than they are today when we have become defenceless against ourselves.” - Arnold J. Toynbee

Beautiful, endangered tigers

Beautiful, endangered tigers

What you can do to help the Endangered Tigers

Upon hearing grim news about the environment or endangered species, some people shut down. They may think, "What can I - just one person - do?"

The answer is: plenty!

Just imagine if you and everyone in your neighborhood gave $1 to help save the habitat of Tigers, stop poaching and prevent extinction. What if it was $5? Now, multiply that by the population in your hometown. Truly there is strength in numbers to make a difference in saving this endangered species. Perhaps you are starting to get the picture!

Here's what you can do to help the endangered tigers:

  1. Write to your congressperson, the Secretary of the Interior and/or the President of the United States. Tell them that you are concerned about the tigers and ask them to continue national and international efforts to preserve the species.
  2. Pledge monetary donations to Adopt-A-Tiger at The Tiger Foundation, and/or become a member.
  3. Join the Global Tiger Patrol, a conservation agency which places a priority on protection of the tiger in the field, especially India.
  4. Look into the Save the Tiger Fund, a program of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
  5. Keep track of the latest endangered species news at the Environmental Investigation Agency.
  6. Spread the word to raise awareness of endangered Tigers and to spur additional conservation measures.

Any additional suggestions of efforts you have made to help endangered Tigers? Please share in the comment section below.

Help save endangered tigers

Help save endangered tigers

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Stephanie Marshall


MrE on May 03, 2014:

How is the poaching of Bengal Tigers reduced due to a scientific solution?

jerimiah on October 28, 2013:

stop poaching tigers they are beautiful animals

gao nou on December 14, 2012:

awesome! these r great facts about endangered tigers and just the thing i need for my persuasive essay. i'm 10 yrs. old just so u know, in 5th grade!!!!!!!!! u guys rock! thx!)

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on August 30, 2012:

Hi Steph. I absolutely loved this Hub. I get so upset and incensed that poaching continues. What a shame if we humans allow a beautiful creature such as the Tiger go extinct, shame on us. The dinosaurs went extinct due to events of nature that no one had any control over. We have control over this, we can stop it. I'm voting up, sharing, etc. to help spread the word. Bill

Cathleena Beams from Tennessee on August 30, 2012:

Love this article, and especially the beautiful tiger photos! Voting up, awesome, beautiful, interesting, pinning, and sharing!

Jesse on July 19, 2012:

Why do people give a f***? Animals go extinct, and new species replace them. It is nature, it should happen. Otherwise, why aren't there dinosaurs? They went extinct, and new animals took their place.

tigerlover on March 31, 2012:

I love this article!!!!!!

louromano on March 25, 2012:

Really funny and interesting! Thanks for sharing!

madi tygers on February 21, 2012:


Hunor Barabás from Romania on February 18, 2012:

Beautiful hub about a fantastic creature! Voted up and shared!

anonymous on April 14, 2011:

twenty years in captivity. sorry, forgot to add that part.

anonymous on April 14, 2011:

actually, tigers in captivity tend to live longer than the tigers in the wild. do we need to help them? yes we do. but how can we save them when they live ten to fifteen years in the wild but have been known to live to about twenty years?

Madi Messner on March 14, 2011:

we need to start to save the poor Tigers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

VACHLE34 on September 27, 2010:


Ashley on August 21, 2010:

We need to take a stand and show that we can help are beloved tigers in this desperate times, if we could raise allot of money in are home towns imagine what that would do for a pride of tigers.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on May 01, 2010:

Thank you stars439 - I appreciate your comment in support of preserving the Tigers!

stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on May 01, 2010:

Sweet of you to defend the Tigers. God Bless You

tech02 from India on April 01, 2010:

I love this big cats. We need to protect them. Thanks for the excellent hub Steph!!

Katrina Ariel from The Highlands of British Columbia, Canada on December 28, 2009:

Excellent hub. So glad you're raising awareness for these majestic, important animals.

tina on December 15, 2009:

hi tigers are my favorite animal in the whole world.

hannahz from Los Angeles on November 19, 2009:

Thank you so much for this great article on tigers!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on November 17, 2009:

Thanks Crazdwriter! Love your avatar, too. Wild cats are so magnificent.

Crazdwriter on November 17, 2009:

Beautiful hub, steph! I LOVE tigers and this was a great informative hub about these gorgeous creatures!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on October 15, 2009:

Nemingha - thank you! I really hope that we can make some good strides soon to save the Tigers.

Jaspal - you are correct. There are a number of tiger species that are very threatened. I hate to think of caged animals existing in captivity alone. It is even more distressing to think of them being raised simply to harvest body parts! Just awful.

Jaspal from New Delhi, India on October 15, 2009:

Great hub Steph!

It's not only in Java .... tigers are fast disappearing from the wildlife sanctuaries meant specially for them in India too. And that is such a shame!

I had read somewhere that in some place in China, tigers (not the toygers mentioned in the hub) were being bred in captivity and harvested for their body parts for making exotic medicines. That's not what is required - we need tigers in their natural wild state and in their own habitat.

Nemingha on October 15, 2009:

I do hope it isn't too late to save the tigers...they are such magnificent looking creatures. Very nicely done Steph.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on October 14, 2009:

Wow - that is shocking Bbudoyono! Only 5 Java tigers left in the wildlife conservation?

Enelle - you are absolutely right. We can support the efforts to save the tigers at not much cost or time.

Bbudoyono on October 14, 2009:

The Java tiger in Indonesia remain only 5 in wildlife conservation in east Java.

Enelle Lamb from Canada's 'California' on October 14, 2009:

What a great hub! I agree - there isn't enough being done to help our endangered animals. It's good that zoos and other organizations are providing information, but the rest of us need to step up to the plate.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on October 14, 2009:

Hi dohn, thank you! I'm glad you love the hub and I hope that the gorgeous tiger pictures will bring people to the article and make them think. They are such majestic, regal animals. Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on October 14, 2009:

Hi Whitney - absolutely you are right. Zoos are not adequate. I mention them only because they often send a portion of proceeds to help endangered animals like the Tigers. Plus the good ones have excellent information on habitat and conservation. The sad thing is that experts agree that once Tigers are gone from the wild, they may never be successfully re-introduced. We must do everything we can to prevent that from happening.

dohn121 from Hudson Valley, New York on October 14, 2009:

I really love this hub, Steph. Thanks for speaking out on Tiger conservation and what we as individuals can do to help. Some of these pictures made me wish I had one but of course that's neither possible or practical. I agree with Whitney as they don't belong in zoos nor should they be hunted. They are beautiful aren't they?

Whitney from Georgia on October 14, 2009:

Great article (by the way I love your layout). I think more attention needs to be put on endangered species in order to potentially keep them thriving in the wild. I don't think that it's fair we try to lock them all in zoos and claim they're doing fine and are breeding them. They're still endangered in the wild. We need to all focus more on the wild animals, and figure out what we need to do to keep them there.

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