The 29th July marks Global Tiger Day, a chance to celebrate these beautiful cats in all their glory and highlight their need for protection.
Although the tiger probably tops many people’s list of favourite animals, hunting has sadly pushed this magnificent feline to the brink of extinction. Once spread throughout central and southern Asia, now only scattered populations remain in India, Southeast Asia, Sumatra, China and the Russian Far East. Nine subspecies of tiger are recognised and only six of these remain today, after the Bali, Javan and Caspian tigers all became extinct in the latter part of the 20th century.
While the future may seem bleak for the Critically Endangered South China and Sumatran tigers, recent news that tiger numbers in India may be beginning to rise has inspired conservationists that all may not be lost. Mike Baltzer, Head of WWF’s Tigers Alive Initiative says that “these results show that with good protection, unyielding government commitment and robust participation from partners and civil society, poaching can be reduced and tigers can thrive”.
With this in mind, Global Tiger Day should be seen as a chance to celebrate, whilst increasing public awareness about what can be done to help. WWF offices in tiger countries will join governments and the general public in a range of celebratory events from film screenings and tv shows to educational talks and even a tiger painting competition!
If you are holding your own celebration we would love to hear from you!
For more information on Global Tiger Day you can visit the WWF website.
Claire Lewis, ARKive Media Researcher