CRF Blog

Big Cats

by Bill Hayes

National Geographic has two articles on tigers: A Cry for the Tiger and Politics Is Killing the Big Cats. Plus it has educational resources on big cats.

The tiger’s enemies are well-known: Loss of habitat exacerbated by exploding human populations, poverty — which induces poaching of prey animals — and looming over all, the dark threat of the brutal Chinese black market for tiger parts. Less acknowledged are botched conservation strategies that for decades have failed the tiger. The tiger population, dispersed among Asia’s 13 tiger countries, is estimated at fewer than 4,000 animals, though many conservationists believe there are hundreds less than that. To put this number in perspective: Global alarm for the species was first sounded in 1969, and early in the ’80s it was estimated that some 8,000 tigers remained in the wild. So decades of vociferously expressed concern for tigers — not to mention millions of dollars donated by well-meaning individuals — has achieved the demise of perhaps half of the already imperiled population. [more]