Tigers are a flagship umbrella species and protecting them in their existing natural habitat will protect not only the forests but also the other fauna and flora that inhabit them. But the land is threatened by extensive agriculture, industry and population pressure. Essential prey is at risk in this shrinking landscape from human consumption and extermination. Disease can pick off an isolated population of tigers in the same way as a determined gang of poachers. In recent history a small population of tigers in a protected reserve in India disappeared under the noses of the guards before anyone noticed anything was wrong.
But what can I do, you might ask. There is plenty – buy wood for your bird tables that has a FSC label so that you can clearly see that it has not contributed to deforestation. Learn how sustainable palm oil production can reduce the impact this popular vegetable oil has on tropical forests. Buy local produce, commit to recycling and reduced consumption. These things are easy and will make a difference if we all work together and lead the way. 29th July is Global Tiger Day, celebrating the 3,000-4,000 remaining tigers that are hanging on in the wild. We celebrate the lives of all those people dedicated to saving those tigers by protecting their habitats and prey, catching poachers and studying at a species level. By celebrating we raise awareness of the changes we can all make to our lives. Together we can make a difference.
To find out more about wild tiger conservation with 21st Century Tiger and the projects we fund, please visit www.21stCenturyTiger.org