Tigers are arguably one of world’s most iconic big cats. Their distinctive orange and black striped coat and fearless attitude have endeared them to world renowned literature and films such as ‘Life of Pi’, William Blake’s ‘The Tyger’, Tigger from Winnie the Pooh and Jungle Book’s Shere Khan.
Tragically, there are fewer that 4000 tigers left in the wild, seeing a devastating 96% decrease in just 100 years.
The Amur tiger is the largest existing big cat species in the world. There are nine subspecies of tiger, three of which are extinct and one which is extinct in the wild.
There are now more tigers in captivity in American backyards than there are in the wild. The illegal trade in tigers and tiger parts is driving the species to extinction.
Since 1950, the world’s population has tripled, and agricultural and human settlement is encroaching on the tiger’s native ranges. As the human population expands the more likely this bold predator is to come into conflict with people, under pressure from declining resources.
Tragically, there are fewer than 4,000 tigers left in the wild, seeing a devastating 96% decrease in just 100 years.
Image Credit: Alexander Ratnikov
Image Credit: Craig Jones
The illegal trade in tigers and tiger parts, made worse by captive breeding facilities across Asia, alongside threats from habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict, has pushed this iconic species to the brink of extinction.
The illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth between USD 7 and 23 billion a year making wildlife crime one of the most lucrative illegal businesses threatening the survival of species around the world, including tigers.
The consumer demand for tiger products, predominantly from Asian markets, drives poaching of wild tigers.
In order to satisfy growing demand for tiger products that wild populations can’t sustain, legal tiger breeding farms have been established to provide a constant supply of tiger parts directly into markets. This practice compounds the problem and further puts the species at risk.
When wildlife products are used as status symbols, or for fictional medicinal purposes any legal market ensures black markets tragically flourish in order to satisfy out of control demand.
“You can never build another tiger but you can always build another Taj Mahal.”
David Shepherd CBE, founder of David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
Find out more
Three subspecies of tiger are already extinct. Discover why tigers are endangered and the threats this emblematic species faces.
Read more about DSWF’s stance on the illegal tiger skin and bone trade and how it threatens wild tiger populations.
Do you consider yourself a tiger expert? Do you know how much a tiger weighs? Learn exciting new tiger facts here.
DSWF is working to protect tigers in Russia and India. We support protection initiatives and research programmes.
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