Irene Nell Tiger Conservation

One of the most majestic animals of all time, the tiger is on the brink of extinction. The latest predictions state that tigers will be extinct in the wild by the year 2015.

Probably the biggest threat to tigers is loss of habitat. Deforestation is essential to the timber industries, but it drives animals away, leaving the tigers with no food. Land is being cleared in order to be farmed, which not only drives tigers away, but leaves them in danger from farmers who will shoot them on sight to protect their livestock.

Increasing populations mean that more land is needed for building on, which destroys forests and can also cut them into pieces, with tigers from one part of the forest being isolated from other parts. This leads to problems finding mates, and eventually inbreeding, which is very bad for their diversity.

There is also a very big problem with the illegal poaching of tigers. All tigers are on the endangered species list, and yet they are still being slaughtered. Their pelts are highly valuable because of their beauty, but in fact it is their body parts which are most sought after. Chinese medicine has a use for many tiger parts, and although they are of little scientific value, the demand for them is a major contributor in driving tigers to extinction.

Three tiger subspecies - the Bali, Javan, and Caspian - have become extinct in the past 70 years. The six remaining subspecies - Siberian, Bengal, Indochinese, Malayan, South China, and Sumatran are threatened by poaching and habitat loss.