Today, July 29, is World Tiger Day! This is a day designed to celebrate the most magnificent cat of all, the tiger. It is also a day to recognize the dire threats facing this species. Tigers (Panthera tigirs) now occupy less than 6% of their historic range (Goodrich et al., 2015) and less than 3,900 of them still live in the wild (Panthera, 2015d). Tiger numbers have been decimated by poaching for the Traditional Asian Medicine trade, and if we do not act fast they could become the first pantherine cats (meaning a member of the genus panthera) to go extinct due to human activities.
Luckily there are many people fighting to keep the world’s most regal land predator from disappearing. In some areas, like the Russian Far East, tiger numbers are rising thanks to conservation efforts. Therefore even though Panthera tigris is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, there is still hope for them.
How You Can Help
There are several wonderful organizations working to reverse the tiger’s decline. Steve Winter, a renowned big cat photographer and conservationist, has a list of groups on this page that he supports. I recommend you visit this link and see what he has to say, because Mr. Winter knows far more about big cat conservation than I do. You can also check out his Facebook page, where he has made multiple posts regarding World Tiger Day. A contribution to any of the groups suggested by Mr. Winter will surely help.
For More Information About Tigers
There are many useful resources available if you want to learn more about tigers on World Tiger Day. I have written several posts about them on this blog, and entering “tiger” in the search bar in the top right corner of this page is any easy way to find them. The big cat NGO Panthera has also consolidated lots of good information about this magnificent cat at this link, and this is also a good organization to support. For those who want to learn about tigers and their conservation in detail, the IUCN Red List is the place to go.
Happy World Tiger Day! I hope you will use this opportunity to learn more about tigers and to help prevent them from going extinct in the wild!