In 1900, there were an estimated 45,000 wild tigers in India (100,000 globally). In 1972, India only had 1,827. By the mid-1990s that number rose to an estimated 3,500. Butby 2008 it had fallen again to 1,411. The few which are are left today still face enormous pressures which threaten their long term survival - recent censuses in 2011 and 2014 have included cubs in their numbers, whose survival is far from guaranteed! The latest figure suggests 2,226 tigers in India which is 70% of the Global Tiger Population.
The tiger is the most powerful predator, yet the most vulnerable. Vulnerable because of the habitat destruction which is threatening its very survival; vulnerable because of the ebb and flow of the eco-systems of its habitat; vulnerable because of man; vulnerable because of its very success.
And why is all this so important?
Tigers are apex predators, i.e. they are at the top of the food chain. Apex predators are needed to keep herbivore populations in check because uncontrolled breeding in the herbivore population will have devastating consequences on the forests and vegetation which are the lifeblood of our survival. Herbivores graze or browse (leaf eating) more than their own bodyweight each day, once the food supply in the forests are exhausted they turn to farmed crops for food. Without apex predators, herbivore numbers increase and the forest cannot sustain their appetite.
In Kanha National Park (Madhya Pradesh, India ) reputedly the place which so inspired Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, in the visitor centre, there is this sign:
You can help us to save wild tigers by donating online, joining our MyTigerFriend scheme and by using EasySearch and Everyclick search engines. You can also help us to raise funds through “Give as You Live” and EasyFundraising at no extra cost to you. Please use the links below: