Where is the tiger today?
The tiger is a fast disappearing species.
With major problems of increasing pressure on its habitat demand for its parts by the traditional Chinese medicine market, the tiger is one of the most threatened of the big cats. There are about 5,000 -7,400 tigers in the world today. India has 2,750-3,750, over half the world’s tiger population.
[Said the tiger]
I have often been wrongly accused of attacking man or lifting village’s cattle. Sometimes people say’s as cruel as tiger’ or as blood thirsty as a tiger’. But I am a perfect gentleman. I am shy by nature and not al all keen to meet man. Only when I am injured or old and unable to hunt I may attack livestock or human beings. This occurs rarely- only three or four in a thousand. I do not hunt for sport. I kill an animal only I am hungry. I kill my prey. I hint alone in a limited area.
I eat deer, buck, and wild bear. With forests and other animal species vanishing, my foods have become scarce. With the loss of food and habitat, my numbers have shrunk. Hungry and homeless, at times I am forced to take the villager’s cattle.
The tiger wants nothing more than to be left alone to itself in its home- the forest. But today, the vast stretches of forest where the tiger had roamed freely have rapidly shrunk. Human development, agriculture, construction of roads and dams has eaten into the tiger’s domain.
Tiger in trouble
Since some tiger parts are used in Chinese medicine, the tiger is in danger. A part from its head begin used as a trophy to decorate walls, tigers are also hunted for the following.
A) Head- as a trophy
B) Brain- to cure laziness and pimples
C) Teeth- for rabies, asthma and sores
D) Blood- for strengthening the constitution and will power.
E) Fat- for vomiting, dog bites, bleeding hemorrhoids and scalp aliments in children
F) To treat mental illness and to make fur coats
G) Whiskers- for toothache
H) Bile- for convulsions in children
I) Tail- for various skin diseases
In the beginning of the 20th century there were as many as 40,000 tigers in India. Shikar, a popular sport of the Maharajas, took the lives of thousands of tigers before independence. One hunter is said to have killed more than a thousand tiger!
Poaching further reduced their number. Today just over 3,000 tigers survive in the wild.
In India, tiger hunting was banned in 1970, and trade in tiger skin was made illegal in 1976. Project tiger was launched in April, 1973 with international help. Initially the government set up nine tiger sanctuaries but in the course of time, more tiger sanctuaries were added. Now the country has sixteen tiger reserves.
Can you name these tiger’s reserves?
In spite of all measures, today tiger face a grave threat from poachers. With increasing demand for its bones and body parts in countries like China, Japan, Taiwan, Laos and the Koreas, the tiger is under constant threat. Lack of information about poachers, foreign connections of poachers and failure to control poaching has made the future of our national animal very unsafe.
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