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The worldwide tiger habitat has shrank dramatically over the last 100 years.  (Source: Curious Maps)

There are now estimated to be less than 3,200 tigers left in the wild. Researchers and conservationists estimate the species could go extinct in a couple decades without dramatic intervention.  (Source: Moss Project)
One of the world's largest and most iconic predators may soon go extinct in the wild

Amid all the fuss over global warming and alternative energy, the continued loss of biodiversity is being largely overlooked and forgotten.  And the trend may claim its highest profile victim to date in just a couple decades, say conservation groups.

For at least a million years tigers have roamed the forests and jungles of Asia, ruling the top of the food chain.  But today Tigers are facing a final bow from the world they once ruled as their habitats have been destroyed and their numbers slashed by poaching.  

At the start of the twentieth century there were an estimated 100,000 tigers, according to the World Wildlife Federation (WWF), an environmental advocacy firm that studies the unique species.  Over the course of the last century those numbers shrank and several subspecies -- the Bali, Javan, and Caspian Tigers -- went extinct.  

The WWF has released a new report estimating that there are now only 3,200 tigers left in the wild in India, Southeast Asia, Russia, and China.  They estimate that within a generation tigers will become extinct in the wild, if drastic action is not taken to conserve them.

Sybille Klenzendorf, director of the WWF-US species conservation program comments, "There is a real threat of losing this magnificent animal forever in our lifetime. This would be like losing the stars in the sky. Three tiger subspecies have gone extinct, and another, the South China tiger, has not been seen in the wild in 25 years."

World Bank, a multinational financial institution that provides loans to developing countries, is partnering with the WWF in a push to save the beasts.  

Keshav S. Varma, program director of the World Bank's Global Tiger Initiative comments, "Unless we really crack down on illegal trade and poachers, tigers in the wild have very little chance. If the tigers disappear, it is an indication of a comprehensive failure. It's not just about tigers. If you save the tiger, you are going to save other species. It provides an excellent indicator of commitment to biodiversity. If they survive, it shows we are doing our job right. If they disappear, it shows we are just talking."

Despite the fact that so few tigers remain, demand for their body parts is at an all time high on the Asian black markets.  Crawford Allan, director of TRAFFIC-North America, which monitors the trade in wildlife, comments, "The demand for bones and skin, meat, and even claws and teeth ... is driving a major crime campaign to wipe tigers out in the wild."

Lixin Huang, president of the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine has teamed with the WWF to try to fight Chinese natives from using tiger parts in their traditional remedies.  States Huang, "Traditional Chinese medicine does not need tiger bones to save lives.  What we are dealing with is an old tradition, an old belief that tiger wine can make their bones stronger. That is not medicine, that is from old tradition."

The WWF's ambitious goal is to try to get the tiger population doubled to 6,400 tigers in the wild by 2022.  To do that, they say they will need $13M USD a year and cooperation from the governments of Bangladesh, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Russia, the United States, Vietnam, and the Greater Mekong region, which stretches across Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

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By therealnickdanger on 2/11/2010 4:23:06 PM , Rating: 5
Tigers have been my favorite animal since I can remember. It's a damned shame... but isn't this what "survival of the fittest" is all about? Maybe they should learn how to use guns.

That would be sweet.

RE: All the money in the world won't save them
By MrBlastman on 2/11/2010 4:41:15 PM , Rating: 5
Well, not all of them are having problems breeding. Supposedly, at least according to a study, that up until recently the "American Tiger" has been breeding quite frequently to almost a wreckless degree. ;) That is, up until recently. He was clubbed a few months ago by an angry lioness I heard.

RE: All the money in the world won't save them
By Alexvrb on 2/11/2010 10:51:22 PM , Rating: 4
Huh. Tiger you say? I heard it was a Cheatah.

By Omega215D on 2/12/2010 3:08:01 AM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't be surprised by their habits, snorting up cheetos dust and what not.

It ain't easy being cheesy.

By deeznuts on 2/12/2010 6:15:20 PM , Rating: 2
He was clubbed a few months ago by an angry lioness I heard.
Apparently, according to recent media reports, she's a cougar now.

By Seemonkeyscanfly on 2/11/2010 4:52:53 PM , Rating: 3
Hmmmm.... Tigers are about the fittest creature out there... It's the fact that they have no thumbs that is the real issue. Otherwise they'd be all over being the best snipers in the world... They have the fast and stealthy moves down.

hunted to extinction by poachers is not a fair example of survival of the fittest. True hunters will not hunt an animal to extinction... they want future generation to be able to hunt the same creatures. Poachers are just out for money.

RE: All the money in the world won't save them
By MrSmurf on 2/11/2010 6:32:10 PM , Rating: 5
I think as human beings, we have since evolved beyond the "survival of the fittest".

By therealnickdanger on 2/12/2010 8:27:46 AM , Rating: 2
Too bad no one told the rest of the universe.

RE: All the money in the world won't save them
By rcc on 2/12/2010 11:58:58 AM , Rating: 2
Which is a major ongoing problem. If you quit culling the stupid and weak, what do you end up with?

RE: All the money in the world won't save them
By TSS on 2/12/2010 5:16:10 PM , Rating: 1

(sorry, cheap shot. been having a rough day.)

By jimbojimbo on 2/15/2010 3:32:50 PM , Rating: 2
Actually it's the people the voted for Obama.

By AlmostExAMD on 2/12/2010 3:41:16 AM , Rating: 2
"Tigers have been my favorite animal since I can remember. It's a damned shame... but isn't this what "survival of the fittest" is all about? Maybe they should learn how to use guns."

With that logic, Then you better start preparing yourself as a cannibal,The way it's going there will only be people left!
The answer to most of the worlds problems is for people to stop breeding like rats, Pretty soon there won't be enough land,not taking into account land needed for livestock which will require another continent size area in next few decades,wars will break out once again millions die etc etc,then it's starts all over again,Comes in cycles.
Maybe nature will find a way to balance things out a little,Another plague perhaps?

By piroroadkill on 2/12/2010 4:16:45 AM , Rating: 2
Evolution is not, and never will be about "survival of the fittest". It's simply about "survival of the good enough". Get by, survive, spread your seed, and you've done okay in evolutionary terms

RE: All the money in the world won't save them
By Amiga500 on 2/12/2010 5:08:15 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe they should learn how to use guns.

Sharks are one step ahead of them.

Seen a documentary film recently where they had frickin' laser beams attached to their frickin' heads.

I think the documentary was called Austin Powers, but would need to check...

RE: All the money in the world won't save them
By albundy2 on 2/12/2010 6:14:22 AM , Rating: 2
ok we get it... "sharks".... "laser beams"... hahahahahaha... seriously it's been years now, find new material. it has been done to death, reincarnated and killed again. move on, pleeeeease.

RE: All the money in the world won't save them
By cdwilliams1 on 2/12/2010 10:08:36 AM , Rating: 2
Hmmm.... all your savhannah belong to us?

By Iketh on 2/12/2010 12:56:44 PM , Rating: 3
ARE belong to us... gah! you killed it

By albundy2 on 2/13/2010 7:12:32 AM , Rating: 3
better... how about... I Think POACHER Is Pretty Cool Guy, Eh kills Tigers And Doesen't Afraid Of anything.

By jimbojimbo on 2/15/2010 3:31:32 PM , Rating: 2
but isn't this what "survival of the fittest" is all about
So if someone killed you it's just fine since they're fitter than you? Open season! It's not that simple.

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