Help the Indian Tigers survive! It's never too late!

These days, everywhere I go, I am seeing hoardings saying 'Just 1411 Left'. Normally, I would groan and grumble on seeing the figure of 1411 on my shopping bills; sounds too much, but when it comes to the no. of tigers, don't you think it's too small a number representing a species. Statistics suggest that with the end of the last century we had lost 3 out of 8 tiger species. The three being, the Caspian, Balinese and Javan.

And by extinction, you know what I mean, I am sure I haven't seen them and my kids and grandkids won't even know they existed. They are just names. Sitting in my air conditioned room, I can't even imagine what these magnificent animals are facing. I mean it is tough to imagine that today these charismatic animals are poisoned, trapped, shot and killed for monetary gains. Such a miserable death to such a royal animal. Miserable or not, why should they have to die. Sometimes, I like to substitute human beings in the statistics and imagine how it would feel if there were just 1411 of them left. Sounds like some sci fi movie, but is definitely scary and obviously I wouldn't be alive myself. Somebody else will be counting.

The Sub Species of Tigers
As mentioned already, there are 8 sub species of tigers, of which, 3 are extinct. The names of the 8 species of tigers are:
  1. Bengal Tiger
  2. Indochinese Tiger
  3. Sumatran Tiger
  4. Amur/Siberian Tiger
  5. South Chinese Tiger
  6. Javan Tiger (extinct)
  7. Caspian Tiger (extinct)
  8. Bali Tiger (extinct)
In the list, the ones that don't have extinct attached to their name, are endangered and may be, will soon have the extinct surname (thanks to human beings) and interestingly, scientists have suggested that South Chinese Tiger is already 'functionally extinct'.

Endangered Tiger Facts

Tiger: Physical Characteristics
Coming to the tigers' bio-data, it is the largest member of the cat family. Their size varies according to the species and the gender. Though the average height is 3 feet, standing and 5-7 feet from head to the back. Additionally, their tail averages to about 3 feet. The weight of these animals ranges between 175-650 pounds.

Tiger in the Food Chain
Socially or say 'jungally', tigers stand on the top of the food pyramid. They are the unofficial kings of the jungle and their only enemies are human beings. So, they are the hunters of the jungle, eating anything from a deer to a seal. Their hunting skills are one of the best and nobody defeats them on that, except our very own villains the Poachers. Poachers hunt and kill them for their fur, teeth and many other such absurd reasons. Just one kill makes a poacher richer by many folds, so it's difficult to convince people not to kill them. What we need are stricter rules and dedicated activists and forest rangers, who make sure that these precious creatures aren't harmed in anyway.

World Population of Tigers
According to statistics, the world population of tiger in early 1900s was around 100,000 and it depleted to 40,000 by 1950s. A major fall in their population came in the 1970s, when their numbers drastically depleted to 4000, owing to wide scale poaching for their fur and Chinese medications and some rare delicacies (human being=shameless). Even today, people in countries like Korea, Taiwan, China and India earn their living by killing these magnificent animals. The first thing we have to do is stop the trade of animal fur and body parts. When there will be no demand, there won't be any killing (hoping). Current day statistics suggest that there are around 5000-7000 tigers left in the world, of which 1411 are in the Indian subcontinent.

Enemies of the Endangered Tigers
  1. Poaching: Killing of tigers for their parts is being done since ages. Some communities use up each and every part of a tiger once it is murdered. And not to mention, they earn a lot.
  2. Hunting: Hunting tigers used to be a favorite pastime for royal people. Killing a tiger and keeping the head as a trophy is an age-old tradition. And it is still done at some places.
  3. Depleting Habitat: Tigers are said to be an umbrella species, so in order to protect them, we have to not only work on their numbers, we also need to protect their habitat and other animals related to them, like the animals that form their food.
  4. Chinese Medicines: These medicines have been around since thousands of years and they use up each and every part of this beautiful animal and ironically, they have no scientific proof that they work.
Save Tigers from Extinction - How
Organizations across the globe are working hard to protect this feline animal. But their efforts are lacking somewhere. Given the size of the habitat, it is practically impossible to protect each and every animal. Though people are trying, it is still not enough. There are organizations which are working tirelessly, so that each animal is safe and lives its complete natural life. Governments have banned poaching and have made wildlife sanctuaries where these animals are allowed to live freely and protected thoroughly from human beings, but somewhere the efforts are failing, because of human negligence and at some places because of human greed. Corruption has lead to cases where the protectors themselves allowed these animals to be killed for a handsome amount of money. So, this proves that nothing can win the human mind. A tiger will be safe only when human beings will understand why it is important and necessary to save them. Making sanctuaries and encircling them with barbs is not enough when one human mind can fail all this in a single night.

In my opinion, it is high time that all these animals are collected and clubbed together in a high security facility, away from human beings. There is no need to keep them in zoos and sanctuaries. They will be better off away from human sight. It's high time that some extreme steps are taken and these animals are protected and bred to increase their numbers.

It is very heart wrenching to note that the majestic animal which commands such power,has been left in a state so low where it is at the mercy of the heartless poachers and animal traffickers. Out of the wonderful number just a few years back,the number of tigers in my country has declined to a shocking 1411 or maybe less than that!
We talk about development. Recently our country hosted the Commonwealth Games 2010! It was a success for sure! Sources tell that almost 70 crores were spent on the games. What if we could spent only 0.1% of that amount to renew the reserves for our tigers and provide them a better place to live?
The realization has dawned late but better than never. Steps have been taken to create awareness and stop the encroachment and harm caused by our carelessness, but a lot has to be put into action yet. Everyone feels so happy when they wear a slogan T-shirt. But unless those proceeds are going to an organization that practically DOES something, they are just empty words on fabric or a computer screen.
The problem with ‘Save our Tigers’ campaign is it lacks relevance. The urban people aren’t the ones who directly affect the dwindling population of the big cat. This campaign should have rightly been targeted at the poachers and other villagers who encroach into the tiger’s habitat. By becoming a fan in a Facebook or following in Twitter isn’t going to help the animal. The poachers aren’t going to read what I blog. Let’s get practical.
All of us are aware of the many benefits the tigers provide and the fact tat its hunted and killed for every part of its body from head to toe is just saddening.
Everyone has the right to live,humans or animals. Humans have no right to disturb the balance of nature by their selfish acts. If the poachers are to be blamed,den so are our wildlife protection authorities and the people who encourage such acts by purchasing what is sold!
SAY NO! As every voice counts, every thought matters!
So here i am sharing my concern!
Save our tigers!
Save our nationality!

News Update
  1. 3 Royal Bengal tiger cubs born in Guwahati zoo
  2. Bengal tiger which killed three goats trapped

Sunderbans big cats get smaller

The scientists at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) have found significant differences between the tigers found in the Sunderbans delta and those found in the rest of the country. They feel that the “smaller and lighter” tigers of the deltaic region could have evolved into a sub-species of Royal Bengal Tiger, as the big cats have adapted to the ecological conditions of their habitat, which remains inundated by the tidal waves.

“The tigers found in the Sunderbans could be a different sub-species of Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), which is found all across the India,” said Dr Yadvendradev Jhala, a scientist at the WII who is examining the reasons that could have led to the tigers developing deviant features.
“There could be genetic or adaptive reason behind this. For a different species, it takes about one million years to evolve but for a different sub-species can evolve in 20,000 to 50,000 years,” said Jhala.


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