Tiger abuse lurks in every tiger selfie taken. This was the conclusion of wildlife conservation groups on the occasion of World Tiger Day which was observed on Friday. Also called Global Tiger Day, the UN-sponsored commemorative day for the endangered species was meant to focus the world’s attention to the sad plight of these wild animals of which only between 3,000 to 4,000 exist today.
“About a century ago, about 100,000 tigers roamed an area that spread from Turkey through southern and Southeast Asia to the far reaches of China,” says DW.
The source also notes that according to the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), tigers are the biggest cat species and the only ones with stripes. They can weigh up to 300 pounds and have an average lifespan of 26 years. Here’s more from DW.
“Tigers are built for predation. They have knife-sharp claws, powerful forelegs and huge teeth and jaws which in an instant work together to strike down prey. And they need a lot of meat to fuel their activities. The predator can eat nearly 40 kilograms of meat in one sitting.”
Your cat is most likely afraid of water, but not the tiger, which is an excellent swimmer. Tigers are also mostly nocturnal and tend to stalk their prey. Of the nine tiger species, three are now extinct. One of these three is the Javan tiger, so named for its original habitat in Indonesia.
“Conservation groups aim to double wild tigers by 2022. According to data published in 2016, there are nearly 3,900 tigers in the wild up from 3,200 in 2010, thanks to conservation efforts in countries such as India, Russia, and Nepal.”
Bieber And The Tiger
On July 20, Justin Bieber received a letter from Toronto Animal Services for having taken selfies with a tiger in captivity as well as for cuddling a baby lion while backstage at his May 18 Purpose concert, according to Teen Vogue.
“This is what really goes on behind your holiday tiger selfie,” writes the Huffington Post UK.
- “Tiger cubs who are separated from their mothers, two to three weeks after they are born.
- Young cubs being presented to tourists, and being mishandled hundreds of times a day, which can lead to stress and injury.
- Tigers being punished using pain and fear in order to stop aggressive behavior.
- Starvation is used to punish the tigers when they make a ‘mistake.’
- Most tigers were housed in small concrete cages or barren enclosures with limited access to fresh water.
- 50 percent of the tigers we observed were in cages with less than 20 square meters per animal, a far cry from the 16-32 kilometers they would roam in a single night in the wild.
- 12 percent of the tigers we observed showed behavioral problems such as repetitive pacing, biting their tails.”
According to the source, a good rule of thumb to follow is, “If you can get up close, hug or have a selfie with a tiger it’s cruel and don’t go.”
Huffington Post UK also mentions a recent raid of the Tiger Temple in Thailand where 147 tigers were rescued. In the raid, authorities also found scores of cub carcasses in jars filled with liquid. The country’s use of tigers for entertainment venues has also reportedly increased from just 623 tigers in 2010 to 830 this year.
Obviously, there is so much left to be done in arresting tiger abuse in Thailand and other countries. No doubt, it will require a lot of resources which includes manpower in arresting the malpractice. But as the source shows, just the simple act of avoiding selfie opportunities with tigers can go a long way in curbing the damage to the dwindling tiger population around the world.
According to the UN News Center, the single biggest threat to tiger population is illegal trade — not climate change or shrinking habitat. Apparently, the animal’s body parts are sought after as trophies and as traditional medicine, which would explain the jars of tiger fetuses seized in the Tiger Temple.
World Tiger Day is an initiative of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). It is part of the agency’s 2016 Wild for Life campaign, which aims to mobilize millions of people around the world to take personal action to combat illegal wildlife trade. As such, the campaign extends beyond tigers, as it embraces all wild animals which are endangered with a zero tolerance policy for unlawful trafficking.
[Photo by China Photos/Getty Images]