Earning our Stripes against Tiger Poaching


Tiger (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Tigers are known to be one of the most charismatic animals in the world.  At the beginning of the 20th century, more that 100 000 tigers roamed the Asian continent with powerful strength and magnificent beauty.  It is this beauty, however, that has led to their undoing.  Today, WWF reports that there are as few as 3200 tigers left in the world.

Tigers have had a history of persecution for over 1000 years.  They have been hunted as status symbols, for use in traditional medicine, and as decorative objects.  Tiger populations have also declined due to loss of habitat, because of human expansion.
The Chinese Mafia is one of the main clients of tiger poaching, and is thought to be the most frightening new organisation in international crime.  A dead tiger is worth more than a live tiger, due to a market that exploits tiger products for skin care, the stimulation of potency and a combat to laziness.  The mafia is therefore pumping this market that makes about 30 billion US dollars each year in the selling of poached tigers.  The smuggling of tiger furs is thriving, with one fur being valued at between 10 000 and 50 000 US dollars.  Traditional Chinese medicine has also taken on an overwhelming and dangerous role in the tigers’ demise: tigers’ whiskers, claws and sexual organs are used in Asian medicine as a potency remedy.  Portions of soup made from tiger-penis are sold for up to 800 Dollars.  Out of all of this the Mafia gains up to 400 000 dollars per tiger.
Tigers fight

Tigers fight (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

The controlling members of the mafia take advantage of people in poverty-stricken circumstances, often in destitute countries such as India, by motivating them into poaching in exchange for money.  Although the mafia works on a massive profit margin for poached tigers, the people who actually perform the poaching receive the smallest part of the revenues.  For example, a poacher in India only receives between 30 and 50 dollars per one dead animal.  The severe poverty of the people is then a huge force behind the endangerment of these animals, with international organised crime, ignorance and greed being the dominant driving features.

The tigers’ situation is increasingly dramatizing.  In India alone, more than half of the tiger population has been wiped out between 2002 and 2005.  It has been estimated that there  \were more than 40 000 tigers one hundred years ago, and yet today less than 1 500 remain in India.  However, the tigers have been facing a long story of disappearance.

In the first half of the 20th century, tiger hunting was a famous sport for the Maharadjas, and this included rich visitors from industrial countries.  This gruesome “sport” led to 95% of India’s tiger population to be wiped out by the 1960s, and sent the remaining tigers straight onto the endangered species list.

May 1941

In reaction to this, India’s minister-president of 1973, Indira Gandi, forbade the hunting of tigers.  However, governments of other Asian countries did not follow Gandi’s decision of prudence and consequently three breeds of tigers became extinct.  The world will never again be able to witness the beauty and majesty of the Bali Tiger (died out in 1940), the Java Tiger (died out in 1979) and the Caspic Tiger (died out in 1970).  Other tiger populations, such as the south Chinese, Malayan, Amur and Sumatra, have also declined at an alarming rate and experts foresee the possibility and threat of a looming extinction.

Measures are being taken to protect the tigers worldwide, however, the situation shows that a much more dramatic stance needs to be taken in order for the efforts to be sufficient.


One comment on “Earning our Stripes against Tiger Poaching

  1. Jacquelyn Kim says:

    please stop killing all the endangered species. they have the right to live just live humans.

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