“If nature has made anything more beautiful than a tiger then I do not know what it might be,” states Stephen Fry, Actor and Conservationist,
“That a creature so strong, so powerful, so perfectly adapted is now so acutely endangered is further testimony (as if it were needed) of the damage we humans do to the wild habitats of the world. Wild tigers are being killed every week and there is a very real possibility that this most magnificent of animals might survive only on film and in the DNA repositories of universities in a very few years. But there is an equally strong possibility that the combined power of people who care can stop and then reverse the decline of the tiger. I urge you to follow the great wildlife artist David Shepherd and his vital campaign.”
There are only 3,200 tigers left in the wild, we have to act now or this iconic animal could be extinct in less than 20 years.
As apex predators, tigers shape the ecosystems in which they live.
They prevent over-grazing by limiting herbivore numbers and maintain ecological integrity.
Tigers are solitaryand have large home ranges making them excellent ‘umbrella’ species providing space for a variety of other species to flourish.
In India, more than 350 rivers originate from tiger reserves. These reserves also sequester carbon, provide oxygen and slowly release ground water to regulate floods. Protecting the tiger will in turn protect these vital habitats.
Protecting existing tiger habitats and the reforestation of degraded habitat may help buffer the poorest communities in Asia against the impacts of river siltation and flooding, while providing global benefits.
Saving the tiger will help communities and local populations benefit from habitat resources and tourism.
Man is solely responsible for the slaughter of the tiger. In the natural world the tiger’s only predator is man. We must act to stop the killing and save the tiger in the wild.
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Photos courtesy of The Phoenix Fund and Michael Vickers.