Endangered Tigers Essay

1049 words - 5 pages

Endangered Tigers
Today wild tigers exist in Eastern Russia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bhutan, India and Nepal. In order to live in the wild, tigers need water to drink, animals to hunt, and vegetation in which to hide. As the mountains, jungles, forests, and long grasses that have long been home to tigers disappear, so too, do tigers. Agricultural expansion, timber cutting, new roads, human settlement, industrial expansion and hydroelectric dams push tigers into smaller and smaller areas of land. These small areas of forests are surrounded by rapidly growing and relatively poor human populations, including increasing numbers of illegal ...view middle of the document...

These protected areas are extremely difficult to protect. Forestry and wildlife departments are too understaffed and under-budgeted to save the tiger from the intensity of poachers. Lacking funds, organization, and compensation for high risk work, training, camps inside the protected areas, night patrols, and resources such as firearms, vehicles, and communication equipment, the guards’ enforcement of anti-hunting laws is limited. Habitat protection, when combined with the promotion of alternatives to traditional Chinese remedies and stricter law enforcement, is an important part of the strategy to save the tiger. The single greatest threat of extinction that most Asian wildlife, especially the endangered tiger face, is the massive demand for traditional medicine (McCarthy, Dorfman, & Robinson, 2004).
The use of tiger parts in Chinese medicine is nothing new, but it has only been in recent years that the increase in the standard of living in Southeast Asia has made the remedies available to most people. With more people wanting these traditional remedies, there has been a greater effect on wildlife numbers and the demand for tiger parts. In many places in China, tiger parts are a delicacy that is served at special private banquets. The use of tiger products and their medicines is seen as a symbol of high status and wealth. Some remedies list tiger parts as an ingredient, but the real animal parts are so expensive that often the medicines may have only trace elements, but even this is not enough to discourage the continued slaughter of tigers. New communities around the world including non-Asian communities are supplementing traditional Chinese medicine treatments into their western style of medicine, creating a larger demand for tiger parts beyond what can be supplied. An increased demand for tiger parts exist throughout the world. China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, the United States, and Great Britain are involved in tiger trade (Linden & Pratap, 1994).
Why should we save the endangered tiger? Healthy tiger populations equal healthy ecosystems. As a large predator, the tiger plays a key role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem by hunting other species and keeping the populations of these other species in check. Ecosystems supply both nature and humans with...

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