IN HONOUR AND RESPECT

THE SPIRIT OF THE TIGER

We all have questions about our existence and seem to look in the wrong places for the answers. Nature and its magnificence has since been taken for granted. Consciousness hides right in front of us and only the blind of mind can experience it’s Divine Grace.

Extinction

“Sadly, tigers are on the brink of extinction. Just over a century ago, 100,000 wild tigers roamed across Asia. Today, approximately 5,600 live in a mere five per cent of their historic range. The largest tiger population can now be found in India, home to half of all remaining wild tigers. Much of this decline has occurred in the past decade. The tiger (Panthera tigris) is one of the world’s most recognizable animals, intimately connected with strength and untamed nature. A symbol of nature’s wild places, significant in faiths and folktales of many civilizations, tigers inspire millions of people around the globe, from the monasteries in Bhutan to the catwalks of Milan.”

Threats

The most immediate threat to wild tigers is poaching. Their body parts are in relentless demand for traditional medicine and are status symbols within some Asian cultures. Resources for guarding protected areas where tigers live are usually limited. People and tigers increasingly compete for space. Tigers have lost 95 per cent of their historical range due to human activity and development. As forests shrink and prey becomes scarce, tigers are forced to hunt domestic livestock, which many local communities depend on for their livelihoods. In retaliation, tigers are killed or captured. These “conflict tigers” are often sold on the black market.

What WWF is doing

  • Reducing human-animal conflict
    WWF is working to improve tiger habitat, reduce human-tiger conflict and engage local communities around conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources.
  • Tackling poaching and wildlife crime
    We are working alongside TRAFFIC (the wildlife trade monitoring network) and range country governments to investigate and crack down on the illegal trade in tiger products – and to reduce demand, so that this trade will no longer pose a significant threat to tigers.
  • Tigers times two
    Leaders from the tiger range country governments, tiger biologists and non-governmental organizations met in 2010 to discuss the future of tigers at the Global Tiger Summit. During the summit, leaders committed to TX2, an ambitious goal which sought to not only save tigers but double their numbers in the wild to at least 6,000 by the next Chinese Year of the Tiger, in 2022.-WWF-Canada actively participated the Tx2 campaign by channeling much-needed funding assistance to WWF-Nepal to undertake crucial conservation activities, such as, population monitoring, habitat improvement, awareness-raising campaigns and training for local communities as citizen scientists.
  • With a lot of hard work, and through unwavering support over the last 12 years, global wild tiger numbers have increased for the first time in over a century. Nepal has more than doubled the tiger numbers from 121 to 355 individuals. This historic conservation win is proof that when local communities, governments and international partners come together, even a daring goal like Tx2 can be achieved.
  • Our tiger conservation efforts have been working, but we can’t stop now as tigers are still one of the most threatened species of the world.
  • As we begin the next 12 years of tiger conservation work to the 2034 Year of the Tiger, WWF will work in partnership with the communities living in tiger landscapes, build political will and landscape connectivity, restore ecosystems, and change tiger consumer behaviour to reduce poaching and trafficking.

Tigers have lost an estimated 95% of their historical range. Their habitat has been destroyed, degraded, and fragmented by human activities. The clearing of forests for agriculture and timber, as well as the building of road networks and other development activities, pose serious threats to tiger habitats.

As a large predator, the tiger plays a key role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. These ecosystems supply both nature and people with fresh water, food, and health. Securing tiger landscapes could help protect at least nine major watersheds, which regulate and provide freshwater for over 800 million people in Asia.

Human-Wildlife Conflict

Tigers have lost an estimated 95% of their historical range. Their habitat has been destroyed, degraded, and fragmented by human activities. The clearing of forests for agriculture and timber, as well as the building of road networks and other development activities, pose serious threats to tiger habitats. Tigers need wide swaths of habitat for their survival since they have large home ranges and are very territorial. Fewer tigers can survive in small, scattered islands of habitat, which leads to a higher risk of inbreeding and makes tigers more vulnerable to poaching as they venture beyond protected areas to establish their territories. This underscores the need to ensure habitat connectivity between the protected areas where tigers live.

Habitat Loss

People and tigers increasingly compete for space. As forests shrink and prey becomes scarce, tigers are forced to leave protected areas in search of food and to establish territories. This takes them into human-dominated areas that lie between habitat fragments, where they can hunt domestic livestock that many local communities depend on for their livelihood. In retaliation, tigers are sometimes killed or captured. “Conflict” tigers can end up for sale in black markets. Local community dependence on forests for fuel wood, food, and timber heightens the risk of tiger attacks on people.

One of the world’s largest, and most uniquely-adapted, tiger populations are found in the Sundarbans—a large mangrove forest area shared by India and Bangladesh on the coast of the Indian Ocean. It is also the only coastal mangrove tiger habitat in the world. These mangrove forests harbor a variety of species, including tigers, and protect coastal regions from storm surges and wind damage. However, rising sea levels caused by climate change threaten to wipe out these forests and the last remaining habitat of this tiger population. According to a WWF study, without mitigation efforts, projected sea-level rise—about a foot by 2070—could destroy nearly the entire Sundarbans tiger habitat.

Tiger ‘Farms’ and Captive Tigers

Current estimates indicate that there are more than 8,000 tigers being held in more than 200 centers in East and Southeast Asia, with roughly three-quarters of these tigers located in China. The current scale of commercial captive breeding efforts within these farms is a significant obstacle to the recovery and protection of wild tiger populations because they perpetuate the demand for tiger products, serve as a cover for illegal trade and undermine enforcement efforts. WWF is engaging with governments in countries with active tiger farms, and advocates ending breeding and phasing out the farms. WWF also advocates for improved regulation of the captive tiger population in the US. It is estimated that approximately 5,000 tigers reside in the US, and we must ensure that these animals are not exploited by, or contributing to, the illegal trade in tigers and their parts.

Poaching and Illegal Breeding

Poaching is the most immediate threat to wild tigers. Every part of the tiger—from whisker to tail—has been found in illegal wildlife markets. A result of persistent demand, their bones, and other body parts are used for modern health tonics and folk remedies, and their skins are sought after as status symbols among some Asian cultures.

There are often limited resources for guarding protected areas in the countries where tigers live. Even countries with strong enforcement of tiger protection laws continue to fight a never-ending battle against poaching, which is now often orchestrated by transnational crime syndicates that rake in significant profits from wildlife crime and undermine the security of local communities.

The impact from the death of a single tiger at the hands of poachers reaches beyond one single loss. If a female tiger with cubs is killed, her cubs will most likely die without their mother, and the female’s potential for future breeding is lost. If a male is killed, his death can result in intense competition for his territory among surviving males in the population, leading to potential injury and death.

Excerpts taken from WWF – Canada, WWF.org / www.worldwildlife.org

Traits of the Tiger

  • Adult males can weigh up to 300 Kg and females 150 Kg.
  • Tiger stripes are completely unique, similar to the human fingerprint.
  • Their jaws are immensely powerful, and they can take down larger animals such as water buffalo, deer, antelope, and pigs.
  • Tigers have keen eyesight: They can see colours and can hunt well even with little daylight.
  • Their toes are covered with soft pads that allow them to walk silently, making them a stealthy silent hunter.
  • The white spots on their ears ward off enemies from behind
  • Tigers have a heightened sense of awareness and can sense danger afar
  • Tigers are very possessive and extremely emotional when they get attached
  • Tigers only hunt when they are hungry
  • Tigers will only engage in a fight when they are threatened otherwise they prefer to rest in the silence of the forest

The Sacredness of the Tiger

In Hinduism, the tiger symbolises strength, royalty, fearlessness, and regal power. The tiger was closely associated with a few gods and goddesses, and you can find its imagery in Hindu art and iconography.

The tiger is associated with the powerful Maha Durga. A popular goddess in ancient eastern cultures, she is the combined force of the Trinity. She is often depicted riding on a tiger with weapons in hand, ready to overthrow the forces of evil. Durga and her tigers were considered determined and courageous, able to defeat all obstacles and overcome any challenges to bring balance back to the universe. Her polar opposite avatar is the compassionate force of Divine Love, the Holy Spirit, reflected in the ancient eastern cultures as the consort of Shiva, the force of Divine Intelligence.

Tigers and Interpretations Throughout the World

  • In China, the tiger represents bravery and strength, and its presence is believed to bring good luck.
  • The tiger is a symbol of confidence, kindness, and modesty in Buddhism.
  • The tiger is depicted in Japanese art and storytelling as a figure of strength, courage, and good fortune.
  • Korean folklore and art often include the tiger for its believed ability to ward off evil, courage, and protection.
  • In North America and throughout many parts of the world, the tiger is recognized to be strong and powerful. As a result, many sports teams will use the tiger as a logo or mascot to portray these qualities.

Tigers come in different classifications, and these subspecies can have different meanings:

  • White tigers are highly revered and are a symbol of purity and innocence.
  • Golden tigers are a representation of good luck, wealth, and fortune.
  • Siberian tigers, for some cultures, are a sign of perseverance and resilience due to their thriving in harsh climates.
  • Bengal tigers are synonymous with strength, courage, and protection.
error: Content is protected !!
Scroll to Top