You are on page 1of 2

THE TIGER The tiger, the largest cat in the world, is one of the most majestic animals on land

and is found only in Asia. It is also one of the most powerful mammals, yet it is on the brink of extinction. In the 1900s, the tiger population was more than 100,000. Today, the number has dwindled to less than 10,000 worldwide. Nepal has only 200 tigers, India has about 4,000, while Malaysia has less than 500. The reason for the decline in numbers is poaching. Tigers are hunted not only by human beings but also by other predators such as elephants, bears and large buffaloes. The only defence tigers have against their enemies are their razor-sharp claws, their strong teeth and their sheer weight. The weight of a tiger, which can range between 200 and 300 kilogrammes, can kill an 10 average sized human being. Tigers have fascinated human beings for several reasons. For instance, marks on their forehead resemble the Chinese character wang, which means king. Furthermore, the markings on a tiger’s forehead and the stripes all over its body are like finger prints. Experts can tell individual tigers apart by observing the markings and stripes closely. This is because no two tigers have identical markings. The patterns of their stripes vary immensely, especially from one sub-species to another. The Sumatran tiger has the most stripes and markings while the Siberian tiger has the fewest. The stripes of a tiger always run at right angles to its body and not along its bodyline. Otherwise, it would be very conspicuous and find it impossible to camouflage itself. These carnivorous beasts thrive well in areas of dense vegetation with ample sources of water and large populations of hoofed animals. They instinctively avoid human beings and only attack people if they are provoked, injured or unable to hunt for their usual food. Despite their prowess, tigers are unable to protect themselves from their greatest threat – human beings. These magnificent creatures have been hunted for hundreds of years for sport as proof of one’s strength and manliness, and for their skin. They have also been trapped and poisoned by farmers to protect their livestock. As a result, the Caspian, Javan and Bali tigers have become extinct. In many Asian countries, tigers are killed for their precious claws. It is believed that wearing a talisman made of a 30 tiger’s claw can protect its wearer. It is almost impossible to ascertain whether a tiger’s claw has any supernatural powers, but what is certain is that many a tiger will lose its life so that someone can profit from it. Other than that, tigers have been hunted for their body organs, which are believed to be a cure for many ailments. This superstition may have resulted from the connection 35 made with their masculinity and strength. This has resulted in massive

poaching of tigers for their whiskers, eyes, teeth, penises, liver and fat. Hunting of tiger prey has also caused the number of tigers to dwindle. Tigers usually feed on hoofed animals such as deer, wild boar and buffaloes. The hunting of these animals by human beings has caused tigers to starve to death. Serious action has to be taken to ensure the survival of this majestic creature. Although the tiger has been labelled an endangered species and the sale of tigerrelated products has been banned in many countries, these measures have backfired, with illegal poaching of tigers for their fur, bones and other organs becoming rampant. Some countries, such as India, have allocated millions of dollars to set up tiger reserves to protect these animals but even these are not safe. Poachers completely wiped out wild tigers in the Sariska Tiger Reserve in India. To ensure the survival of the tiger, conservation efforts need to be improved to reduce threats to tigers.Efforts must also be made to improve tiger habitats and to increase tiger prey populations so that they will not starve to death in the wild. There must be more stringent controls on the demand for tiger parts. When there is no demand, there will be no supply. To drive the message home, poachers should be punished severely. Otherwise, they will not stop their illegal activities

SUMMARY.!!! The tiger population has suffered a serious decline because tigers have been hunted for sport as proof of one’s strength and manliness and for their skin. Besides, tigers have been killed by farmers to protect their livestock. These beasts have also been killed for their claws which are believed to protect the wearer. Worse still, tigers are killed for their body organs, which are believed to cure many ailments. Moreover, hunting of tiger prey has caused tigers to starve to death. Stern measures must be taken to protect them. For instance, conservation efforts and tiger habitats must be improved. To prevent tigers from starving, tiger prey populations must be increased. Most importantly, there must be more stringent controls on the demand