[ May 23, 2014 ]

The tiger, or Panthera tigris, is one of the hallmark “big cats”. It is seemingly an all-powerful force in its wild-habitat, fearless and dominant over most other species. However, we often forget that the human species has an enormous influence over its survival. Humans have played an integral role in the gradual extinction of the tiger. Tigers are disappearing at an alarming rate and in the last century alone, three subspecies of the tiger have gone extinct.

Less than 3200 tigers are currently living in the wild, securing these cats a spot on the endangered species list. The monetary value of the tiger’s famous striped coat has made it a highly desired animal in the illicit wildlife trade. Additionally, medicinal repurposing of tiger parts in Chinese medicine fetches a huge sum of money in the black market. In China, local farmers view tigers as a threat to their livestock, and therefore their living. As a result, they often kill tigers as a cautionary measure to protect their property.

As the world’s population has grown even larger, humans have encroached on tiger habitats, hunting the animals on which tigers subsist and depriving them of land to roam. With the growth of the human population, the aforementioned issues will only be magnified. Humans have brought this majestic animal to its knees. The question remains whether we will act or sit back and watch the tiger go entirely extinct in the wild.

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