Tigers are one of the world’s most majestic creatures, but also one of the most endangered. Shockingly, there are less than 4000 remaining in the wild, and they are most at risk from climate change, the use of palm oil (sold in most junk food and bars of soap), habitat loss and poaching (for use of their skins or bones in ‘traditional medicine’, with no medical benefits. Some are also kept as pets or in ‘roadside zoos’. You can help by purchasing organic clothing to help tigers.
The myth of ‘man-eating tigers’ arises from very occasional attacks (around 50 a year), usually by very hungry tigers who have ventured into human areas, due to humans encroaching on their natural habitats (nearly all tigers who attack humans do so due to disabilities like bad teeth, we are not their natural diet). Most attacks are by bored and stressed captive tigers in zoos and circuses.
Most big cats are endangered due to lack of habitat, palm oil and trophy hunting (people pay thousands to kill animals in enclosed habitats where they can’t escape). Not just Americans, British hunters have killed over 60 lions since Cecil, yet the import ban is being debated). Ornithologist Hamza Yassin says ‘If hunting is a sport, let the animal have a rifle as well, and let it fire back at you’.
The main ways we can help tigers are to protect Asian forests (in the west, we can do this by supporting ecotourism, not buying dodgy souvenirs or medicine). There is no ‘sustainable palm oil’ (a term deemed as useful as a chocolate teapot by Greenpeace).
There are over 40 big cats worldwide (along with our own domestic moggies). All are risk of extinction including snow leopards, lions (inventions like Lion Lights are helping farmers and lions to peacefully co-exist, jaguars, cheetahs and wildcats).
Freedom for Animals has a great post on why not to visit zoos (average 20-second views by children are for entertainment, not education). Endangered species are far better helped in natural environments with proper space, weather and conservation experts. Big cats are also particularly at risk from trophy hunting (60 more lions have been killed by British hunters alone since the death of Cecil) and snares.
books to teach children about tigers
Tiger: The Big Cat With the Stripes is a beautifully illustrated guide to one of the world’s most endangered creatures. Featuring stunning illustrations, this book helps children learn more about the largest of the big cats, including why they have stripes, what makes them stick out their tongues and how they survive in habitats from tropical rainforests in Indonesia, to snowy Siberia. Filled with simple science and animal facts, the book also has a serious message, on what we can do to protect these majestic creatures. Samanthe Helle is a wildlife conservationist who works with local communities in Nepal, to study and protect tigers. She is also a science communicator who founded Project Conservation.
The Tiger’s Tale is a conservation story on one of the world’s most iconic animals, and one of its most endangered. This compelling tale tells the true story of the tragic disappearance of tigers from Panna Tiger Reserve in India, and finally their heroic return. Together, we learn how experts introduce tigers to the reserve and track them.
Interview with a Tiger (and other clawed beasts) is a fun book that gets up close with 10 fierce and furry beasts (including tigers) as they step up to the mic, and share their habits, behaviour, likes/dislikes, favourite foods and more. It also features ‘interviews’ with a wolf, honey badger, giant armadillo, lion, giant anteater, jaguar, snow leopard, polar bear and three-toed sloth. Plus tips on how to help endangered species.
How to Talk to a Tiger looks at how animals communicate in the world. Also discover deer that sneeze to say hello and bees that waggle their tummies to show where the pollen is!