Top 6 Reasons Why Tigers are Endangered

Did you know that three of the nine tiger subspecies have gone extinct in the last 70 years? This includes the Caspian, Javan and Bali tigers. All six subspecies of tiger remaining are listed as either Endangered or Critically Endangered. But what’s putting these beautiful creatures at risk? Here are six reasons why tigers’ lives are in danger.

Poaching and the illegal wildlife trade 

Poaching is the number one reason tiger numbers have dwindled rapidly in the wild. Tigers are hunted for their pelts (skins), bones, teeth and claws, all of which are then sold on the black market or turned into traditional medicines. Indeed, the use of endangered tiger products in medicine is seen as a symbol of high status and wealth - particularly in China where demand is high. 

Habitat loss and deforestation

Deforestation is destroying tiger habitats, making it difficult for them to survive in the wild. Forests are regularly cleared to make way for agricultural projects, palm oil plantations, infrastructure development and timber  extraction. Remaining habitats can be fragmented too, leading to smaller tiger populations and inbreeding. Inbreeding often results in health issues, many of which can be life limiting. 

Human-tiger conflict 

While tigers used to roam free in countries like Singapore, they no longer exist in this part of the world. This is because they’re often killed by humans out of fear. With the increasing loss of their natural habitats, tigers are also more likely to wander into human settlements while looking for food, and this is where human-tiger conflict can arise. Tigers may put livestock at risk, affecting humans’ livelihoods, resulting in them being killed to protect cattle, sheep and other grazers. 


Disrupted ecosystems 

Ecosystems are incredibly fragile and the smallest change can throw everything into disarray. Global warming and climate change is destroying the delicate ecosystems that tigers rely on to survive. A reduction in prey or the lack of vegetation can have a severe impact on the health of tigers in a specific environment. Overhunting of prey species by humans can also disrupt the ecosystem, taking vital food supplies away from tigers.


Inbreeding and a lack of genetic diversity

Smaller tiger populations can lead to inbreeding. This, in turn, leads to genetic abnormalities and a wide array of health problems due to a lack of genetic diversity. Inbreeding can also affect a tiger’s ability to adapt to specific climates and conditions. 

Did you know that in captivity, white tigers are the result of inbreeding? This often results in cubs being born with severe deformities and medical conditions. 

Public awareness and support 

Without the correct public awareness and support, tiger conservation projects struggle to get off the ground. As such, more work is needed to let people know what’s happening. Thankfully, many conservation projects are working well, with the Bengal tiger in India now enjoying record numbers.

If you love tigers and are looking for kids activities near me, don’t miss The Tiger Who Came to Tea live on stage. Based on the children’s book by Judith Kerr, this is one of the best things to do with kids and is suitable for little ones aged three and above.