International Tiger Day is held annually on July 29 to give worldwide attention to the preservation and protection of wild tigers. It is both a day of awareness, and a day of celebration. It was founded at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010 when tigers were on the verge of extinction. The goal of International Tiger Day is to promote the protection and expansion of tigers habitat, and to gain support through awareness for tiger conservation worldwide.
Time is running out. As of now, the population of wild tigers is at its lowest ever. We have lost 97% of all wild tigers in just over 100 years, when the population was at 100,000. As few as 3,000 live in the wild today, down 200 from last year’s count.
A number of tiger species have already gone extinct, including:
The Bali Tiger
The Caspian Tiger
The Javan Tiger.
Tigers may be one of the most admired animals on the planet, but they are also vulnerable to extinction. At this rate, all tigers living in the wild could be extinct in next five years if we don’t take action to combat the illegal wildlife trade.
The Sumatran tiger is classified as a critically-endangered species on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. This smallest tiger sub-species also once lived on Bali and Java, but became extinct in the 21st century.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has marked International Tiger Day with a call for urgent action to protect tigers and combat illegal trade in wildlife.
The last of the wild tigers remaining in the wild live mainly in Asia, India, and Russia. The UN is reiterating its call for zero tolerance for wildlife crime as part of its 2016 “Wild for Life” campaign, which aims to mobilize millions of people around the world to take personal action to end the illegal trade in wildlife.The campaign to save wild tiger is very important, as it seeks to promote the protection and expansion of wild tiger habitats and to gain support through awareness for tiger conservation. Approximately 97% of the population of wild tigers has been lost in just over 100 years.
The biggest threat to the tiger is the illegal black market trade, as tiger body parts are sought out as trophies and for medicinal purposes. A shrinking habitat, human-wildlife conflict, and climate change are also growing threats.
The threat posed by illegal trade was highlighted by the discovery of 70 dead tiger cubs, tiger skins, talismans, and other wildlife parts found within a Buddhist temple in Thailand in June 2016. Wildlife crime undermines national development by diverting billions of dollars of resources to organized international crime syndicates.
Climate change is also huge threat. One of the world’s largest tiger populations is found in the Sundarbans, a large mangrove forest area shared by India and Bangladesh on the northern coast of the Indian Ocean. This area harbors Bengal tigers and protects coastal regions from storm surges and wind damage. However, rising sea levels that were caused by climate change threaten to wipe out these forests and the last remaining habitat of this tiger population.
According to a WWF study, without mitigation efforts, projected sea level rises—nearly a foot by 2070—could destroy nearly the entire Sundarbans tiger habitat.
Greater public awareness is essential for bringing pressure on governments to enforce laws and reduce the demand for illegally traded wildlife and wildlife products.
“The commendable action by authorities in Thailand that led to the discovery of the dead tiger cubs showed the need for constant vigilance by wildlife law enforcement authorities to the threat posed by traffickers,” UNEP said.
Source: UN News