Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tiger total

Apparently, poachers and their clients will never be convinced that tigers are worth more than the sum of their parts (as laid out above) until they are driven to extinction in this century, as were the Tasmanian tigers in the last. The wild tiger population worldwide has been reduced 97% in the past 100 years, from 100,000 to a mere 3,200 today. While there are up to 20,000 tigers in captivity - many of them in private hands - only about 1,000 of these (as of 2007, approximately 421 Amur, 295 Sumatran, 198 Bengal, 113 Malayan, 72 South China, and 14 Indochinese tigers) are listed for breeding in regional and international zoo studbooks (more statistics here). The largest threat to tiger survival is consumer demand for tiger parts, namely their skins, bones, teeth, and claws. Highly valued for their use in traditional medicine, more than 1000 tigers have been killed within the last 10 years to meet consumer demand in Asia.

So, while I was glad zookeepers were not forced to kill the 11-year-old, 400lb Siberian tiger that attacked the man who deliberately entered his enclosure at the Bronx Zoo last Friday, I was saddened to learn this morning that a tiger at India's Itanagar Zoo did not fare as well. The 6-year-old female was shot inside her enclosure at point blank range by poachers who hacked her to pieces and carried off her flesh. The guards who were at dinner, have been fired, but the killers have not been caught.
Tigers lurking in the Cabinet:

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