Why tigers are important to the ecosystem

Tigers are fascinating creatures that have captured the public imagination for centuries. They appear in songs, stories, movies and even children’s shows such as The Tiger Who Came to Tea, which is currently touring the UK. But beyond their beauty, tigers play an important role in the ecosystem – the complex and interconnected network of animals and plants that interact in an environment.  Keep reading for some fun and interesting facts.

Tigers are Apex Predators

Tigers are at the top of the food chain and as they have no natural predators of their own, they’re known as ‘apex predators.’ These muscular, determined and highly intelligent creatures play a significant role in maintaining the health and balance of their ecosystems. This is because they regulate the populations of other species below them in the food chain, preventing overgrazing, resource depletion and more. By allowing no single species to dominate an ecosystem, biodiversity is maintained and nature’s fine balance is kept in check. That’s why if tigers were to die out, the whole environment in which they live would be impacted.

Tigers are an Umbrella Species 

Tigers don’t walk around carrying umbrellas – except perhaps in a children’s play or storybook! What the term ‘umbrella species’ actually means is that conservation of tiger habitats can also protect other species living in the same area, almost by default. By maintaining and caring for vast areas of forests where tigers roam, a wide range of other mammals, plants, insects and birds can flourish. So while tigers are big, fierce predators, they inadvertently save many different creatures from dying or having to find a new home. 

Tigers are Biodiversity Indicators 

Tigers require large territories to survive. They also need plenty to eat and drink, so the health of a tiger can actually indicate the overall health of an ecosystem. Without plenty of wild animals to eat, water holes to drink from or swim in, shaded areas for sleeping and more, tigers would suffer. If they’re thriving, the ecosystem can be presumed healthy. Efforts to improve tiger habitats, such as preventing deforestation, can also benefit the wider environment, as we have seen above.

Tigers Support the Ecosystems Humans Rely On

Trees release oxygen, which, of course, humans need to breathe. So maintaining healthy forests as part of tiger conservation can also benefit human beings. Healthy ecosystems result in clean air and water, plant pollination and more, making the world a better place. Beautiful tiger habitats can also promote ecotourism, funding conservation efforts and providing economic benefits for local communities. So protecting our tiger species is more important than ever.

If you’re looking for the best theatre shows for families to enjoy with your little ones, don’t miss The Tiger Who Came to Tea on tour. Based on the popular children’s book by Judith Kerr, this lively and interactive production is full of silly songs and clumsy chaos. It’s ideal for children aged three and up, lasting just 55 minutes with no interval.