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’. All big cats including snow leopards are endangered.
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.
organic clothing to help endangered tigers
Isle of Wight fashion company Rapanui has teamed up with WWF to offer a beautiful organic cotton t-shirt to support work conserving tigers. An expose by Sir Ranulph Fiennes means the charity no longer supports hunting, proof of people power. So it’s no OK to support them. There is uproar at present due to delays of a UK Bill to ban import of trophy hunting goods, which would protect tigers and other species.
Save Wild Tigers is a nonprofit that supports organisations that investigate criminal networks that sell tiger skins and other goods. All t-shirts, tops and jumpers are made from organic cotton, made in a factory powered by green energy, sent in plastic-free packaging.
ROAR organic cotton clothing supports WildCats Conservation Alliance, which helps wild tigers and Amur leopards. It currently funds projects in Nepal, Russia, Thailand, Indonesia and China.