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Running head: Endangered Wild Tigers

Endangered Wild Tigers

Joshua Medley

University of North Carolina at Charlotte


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Introduction
Although many different human activities can threaten or endanger a species, the greatest

problems occur because of habitat destruction. Illegal hunting and trading and introduction of

new species can also cause serious problems. Plants and animals are adapted to their habitats.

Some species can live in a variety of habitats, others can live in only a very specific type of

habitat. Either way, if its habitat is destroyed, a species may not be able to find food or shelter, so

it vanishes. As the human population increases, there is a greater need for food, places to live,

and fuel. To meet these needs, tropical forests, wetlands, grasslands, and other natural areas are

cleared, settled, and developed and their resources harvested for human use. In the process,

habitats are destroyed. Overharvesting is currently threatening species worldwide, especially

food fish species such as the cod. Sometimes native animals are endangered when a new species

is introduced into a habitat a large number of species are threatened by introduced species, or

"exotics," plants or animals that are introduced into a habitat and bring with them diseases or the

ability to compete more effectively than native species.

The topic I have been interested in for a long time is endangered species. Since thats a

broad topic I decided to conduct research about endangered tigers and the many species it

contains. Since I was little I was fascinated with animals and their existence on earth. I was

curious about how the tigers are being preserved, how they are being killed and why they are
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being killed. I want to learn about each endangered species of tiger and get those questions

answered and come to a conclusion on what needs to be done to help these tigers multiply.

Possibly come to a conclusion on what to do to strengthen efforts that have already begun. Of the

original nine subspecies of tigers, three have become extinct in the last 80 years; an average of

one every 20 years. It has been predicted all tigers may become extinct in the wild within the

next decade. Poaching, habitat loss and fragmentation have reduced the global population of

tigers from over 100,000 in the 1900s, to less than 4,000 in the 1970s (Tigers in Crisis). Today,

four of the remaining subspecies of tigers are considered endangered by the IUCN, while two of

the subspecies are considered critically endangered. The total number of all the wild

populations of the six-remaining subspecies of tigers (Bengal, Indochinese, Malayan, Siberian,

South China, and Sumatran) is estimated to be between 3,000 3,600 tigers (Tigers in crisis).

Literature Reviews

I interviewed two people about their views of Tigers and their endangerment and they

both feel that illegal poaching should be handled in a different way. They feel that more laws and

more strict rules and regulations should be put in place. International relationships between the

United States and countries such as India and China should be strengthened so tiger conservation

can become stronger. The United States can really be a game changer in this process.

Andrew Currie was the speaker of Protecting Endangered Species for Future Generations

(2010). He talked about how the world is increasing in population and thats going to cause more

land use. The more land use the less land there will be available for wildlife. He wants us as

people to find ways to preserve all wildlife. Andrew Currie uses a quote from Tenzin Gyatso who

was the fourteenth Dalai Lama and is states, Today, more than ever before, life must be

characterized by a sense of universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to
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human, but also to other forms of life. Human population pressure is the main population to the

destruction of animal species due to human population growth. There are already millions of

people starving in this planet. What is it going to be like if we increase the human population

pressure by another fifty percent? There will be more disease and less food causing people to

become more desperate and start killing animals at an alarming rate. That also includes

endangered species such as the tiger. So, saving the wild tiger first starts with humans and the

actions that will need to be taken in order to improve the population. Tigers dont have a

representative to speak up for them so their survival is dependent on our good will much like

children. What can we do to save the tigers? We can extend empathy to tigers like we would our

own pets. We also can donate to wildlife foundations that support endangered species such as the

tiger as well wildlife conservation.

Snatching Success from The Jaws of Failure in Tiger Conservation (2013): Philip Nyhus

specializes in big cats and he is talking about how the most populated area is China, which is

where most of the tiger species live. He is also interested in human-wildlife conflict as well as

endangered species conservation. Tigers are being killed for game and their fur. We need to take

action. Tigers have a close relationship with humans. It took all of human history for us to go

from being ourselves an endangered species to reaching our first billion people in 1800. A

century later for us to get to 1.8 billion people. In the twentieth century, we got to over six billion

people, and thats when we had more of an impact on the coexisting tiger species. In that same

century, the tiger population in Asia went from an estimated one hundred thousand to five

thousand. Over that same time period much of the habitat that the wild tigers lived in as well as

the other different animal species began to disappear. As the population of people in china began

to rise, the demand for land began to rise especially with the Chinese and Indian population
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reaching well over one billion. People need land for food, housing, cultivation, energy, and

transportation. Thats when the most significant challenges begin to occur while people and

wildlife try to coexist. Humans have always struggled to coexist with so called beasts such as

tigers because the people feel that they pose a threat to the safety of their families. Today, the

biggest problem besides fragmentation and degradation of habitat is that poachers and other

people are harvesting tigers for profit. Not only is that happening to tigers, this is happening to

the animals that tigers prey on. The need for tiger products is driving them towards extinction

today. There are about three thousand tigers left in the wild and efforts are being made to produce

more tigers such as breeding facilities in Europe and zoos across the world. Some are poorly

handled and taken to tiger farms where they are being bred for tiger parts. Another problem is

that aside from the population of tigers that exist in the wild, there are many tigers held in

captivity around the world. This is a problem because by blending different subspecies of tigers

together, they become mutts. By becoming mutts that havent been in the wild, theyre useless in

the wild. White tigers are also becoming more prevalent in captivity and they are also useless in

the wild because of their white fur and mainly because white tigers are simply not a subspecies

of tiger. Their white fur eliminates any chance of them being able to use camouflage to sneak up

on prey. If they cant sneak up on prey, they wont be able to get food which causes starvation.

Fortunately, there has been a lot of attention that has been given to the challenge and the failure

of our protection of wild tigers. Many conservation organizations along with many governments

around the world are working together and planning to double the population of wild tigers by

the year of the tiger in 2022.

Save ourselves by saving tigers (2014): Steve Winter at TEDxGateway 2013 Steve

Winters discusses his work as a photographer for National Geographic. He talks about what hes
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seen throughout his time as a photographer. He took photos of tigers and many other animals

along with the poachers. Winters begins to discuss his journey through the jungle of India with

his camera taking photos of what people back home dont see on television. Tigers are being

killed for profit so the poor can afford the things that they need. Their habitat is being destroyed

for gold mining to possibly create a better life for the people. Winters caught pictures of tigers up

close so people around the world can have a better opinion of tigers and possibly help save the

tiger. People see pictures everyday whether its on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. What better

way to raise awareness than through the younger generation? He captured pictures of the palm

oil plantations in India which were damaging the habitat and is a big reason why the Sumatra

tigers (Tiger subspecies) are on the verge of extinction. Winters believes that if we save the top

predator in the ecosystem (which is the tigers in this case) you can save an entire ecosystem.

Saving the tiger with half a flush by Rohit Varma of TEDxBangalore was the title of this

video (2016). Varma is a professional photographer from India that has grew up around the

jungle and has experienced the many aspects of it. He takes pictures of many animals in the

jungle including the tiger. He talks about how key nature is to earths survival. He grew up in a

village near the jungle so hes experienced the wildlife there first hand and thats how his love

for the wilderness started. Mining has really taken off in India in the recent years which is not

only destroying the habitat, its destroying the air around it. India loses almost 7.3 million

hectares of forest every year due to deforestation. The forest is important because is benefits the

air that every mammal breathes, it provides food as well as benefits the water for all life, and it

provides shelter. Humans can make a difference by owning up to it and believing that we can

make a difference and then take action. Our survival depends on nature.

Saving the tigers of Bangladesh: Henry Churchill at TEDxDhaka (2012). Churchill


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discusses the importance of the tiger and its beauty to the world. He also covers the reason why

tigers are being killed and the history of their population. Three out of eight subspecies of tigers

have already gone extinct. In the 1930s the Bali tiger went extinct, in the 1950s the Caspian

tiger disappeared, and in the 1980s the Javon Tiger went extinct. Thousands if Bengal tigers

were poached in India in the 1990s. Imagine a future without tigers. In about ten years the entire

tiger species could go extinct. Tigers need a healthy ecosystem to thrive in, meaning that they

need thousands of miles of vegetation to roam in. Bangladesh is home of the largest population

of tiger in the world holding around five hundred tigers which is important because it holds the

future of the wild tiger in its hands.

Saving animals, saving the future by John Linehan at TEDxYouth at Beacon Street

(2015). Linehan talks about saving wild animals from endangerment. He picks animals from the

zoo and tells stories about them. He slowly relates that back to preserving their habitats. Not only

do tigers go through turmoil and are close to extinction, the animals around them are in the same

condition. Zoos around the country are not only trying to get people to enjoy the presence of

tigers, they are trying to convert every visitor into a conservationist.

Wildlife Conservation by Hilary D. Claggett contains articles, book excerpts, and other

writings about wildlife conservation (1997). Claggett discusses the importance of conservation

efforts. She explores topics such as threats to wildlife, legislation, and politics, managing

ecosystems, and the changing mission of zoos. First I thought politics were in the background of

conservation then I thought cant be true but now I think politics and wildlife go hand and hand. I

would support the authors claims based on the efforts of conservation that has already been in

place.

Can We Save The Tiger: A book By Martin Jenkins and Vicky White (2011). Tigers are in
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danger of disappearing altogether, joining the dodo, the marsupial wolf, the great auk, and

countless other animals we will never see again. Using the experiences of a few endangered

species as examples, Jenkins highlights the ways human behavior can either threaten or conserve

the amazing animals that share our planet. White's portraits of rare creatures offer a glimpse of

nature's grace and beauty and give us a powerful reason to preserve it. This book really just

covers how human behavior affects wildlife, not just tigers.

Entering the Conversation

There is an issue that is still a big gap. In what ways are we trying to preserve tigers and

helping them multiply so they can be released into the wild? A solution could be that countries

should come together along with the WWF and discuss conservation techniques for the wild

tiger. The best option is to hold a specific amount tigers in captivity and breed them for a certain

amount of years so the population can increase. The study can be conducted is the mental and

behavioral effects of the tigers being held in captivity verses the tigers born in the wild. They

could also study the behaviors of the tigers after they are released back into the wild. The results

could be used for future projects and the results could possibly change how researchers and

conservationists approach the next conservation project. Why does saving the tigers matter? So,

if the entire tiger population were to go extinct, other species would go extinct. By tigers going

extinct, leaves behind a scar, which affects the entire ecosystem. The tiger is a unique animal

which plays an important role in the overall health and diversity of an ecosystem. So, the tigers

destruction would effect more than just the wildlife around them, it affects the people that

depend on wildlife for survival.

Conclusion

Why should we care about the existence of Tigers? Let's look at it this way. The Earth
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functions like an incredible machine. Biodiversity is the many parts of the machine working

together. Plants and animals make up the individual parts. When one part is damaged or

removed completely the machine can no longer function. Where will we be when the Earth no

longer works? If tigers are completely wiped out, the ecosystem would be permanently damaged.

Some animals will overpopulate due to the lack of tigers. That will cause a shortage in

vegetation. It causes a domino effect but we are the only ones that can stop this.

References

Churchill, H. (2012, October 05). Saving the tigers of Bangladesh. Retrieved February

14, 2017, from http://amara.org/he/videos/L7Fh0n8i2Ywa/en/510411/

Claggett, H. D. (1997). Wildlife Conservation. H.w. Wilson Co.

Currie, A. (2010, October 12). Protecting endangered species for future generations

Retrieved February 14, 2017, from http://ed.ted.com/on/4ppuQroY

Jenkins, M., & White, V. (2011). Can we save the Tiger? Somerville, MA: Candlewick

Press.

Linehan, J. (2015, February 19). Saving animals, saving the future. Retrieved February

14, 2017, from http://ccsubs.com/video/yt:xcqsQuvtH7E/saving-animals-saving-the-

future-john-linehan-tedxyouthatbeaconstreet/subtitles?lang=en

Nyhus, P. (2013, March 21). Snatching Success from The Jaws of Failure in Tiger

Conservation Retrieved February 14, 2017, from

http://ccsubs.com/video/yt:8AnOzjdEPiI/snatching-success-from-the-jaws-of-failure-

in-tiger-conservation-philip-nyhus-at-tedxcolbycollege/subtitles?lang=en

Varma, R. (2016, April 13). Saving the tiger with half a flush. Retrieved February 14,

2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2227eTyhVHE

Winter, S. (2014, January 17). Save ourselves by saving tigers. Retrieved February 14,
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2017, from http://www.stevewinterphoto.com/Lectures/1/

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