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’, even though there’s not even medical proof it works. Some are also even kept as pets or in ‘roadside zoos’.
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). In fact, a lot of the tiger attacks on humans are from bored and stressed captive tigers in zoos and circuses.
The main ways we can help tigers are to protect Asian forests (in the west, we can do this by supporting ecotourism, not buying any dodgy souvenirs or medicine and avoiding palm oil). There is no such thing as ‘sustainable palm oil’ (a term deemed as useful as a chocolate teapot by Greenpeace). The other way to help is simply to help amazing nonprofits doing wonderful work to educate and conserve the tiger population in their natural habitats. The easiest way to do this is to buy from those who offer organic clothing online, so you’re doing something you would do anyway (buying tees and hoodies) but supporting them instead of the big companies that do more harm than good).
Four Paws is a wonderful animal charity that works internationally to help all species, including tigers and other big cats. It has an online store where you can buy organic cotton tees, hoodies and totes (all sent in plastic-free packaging) and profits are used to help their amazing work.
The charity has four big cat sanctuaries in Jordan, South Africa, The Netherlands and Germany, where they offer long-term care for rescued tigers, who cannot be released back into the wild. Read their report on the tiger trade, and how to help.
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.
Isle of Wight fashion company Rapanui has teamed up with WWF to offer a beautiful organic cotton t-shirt to support their work conserving tigers. If you once read that the charity supported trophy hunting, it did – until an expose by explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes asked people to not fund it, until they changed policy. They did (showing how people power works) so it’s now okay to support them. The UK is currently hopefully passing a bill to ban the import of trophy hunting goods, which would go far to protect tigers and other endangered species. There has been uproar among animal welfare groups due to a small group of pro-hunting peers in the House of Lords who have been deliberating time-wasting to delay and almost hijack the Bill, putting it at risk.
Save Wild Tigers is a nonprofit that supports organisations that investigate criminal networks that sell tiger skins and other goods, which has led to the tiger population declining 97% over the last century. 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 the work of the WildCats Conservation Alliance, which helps wild tigers and Amur leopards. It currently funds projects in Nepal, Russia, Thailand, Indonesia and China.