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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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RE: All the money in the world won't save them
By porkpie on 2/11/2010 6:08:24 PM , Rating: 5
Take your ignorant, poisonous, misanthropic philosophy elsewhere. Oh, and let's add hypocritical...because your complaint was typed and transmitted through a whole series of "shiny gadgets". If you really believed your tripe, you'd be living naked your "lush paradise". That is, until one of these tigers found you and ate you.

Humanity has progressed so far we've forgotten one very important thing. Nature is not our friend. It's our enemy. It freezes us in the winter, scorches us in the summer. It kills us with disease, animal attacks, hunger, starvation, rain, flood, lightning strike, earthquake, and a million other ways.

Science and technology has allowed us to alter nature so much that idiots like you think "nature" is the view you get from watching documentaries on TV. Without mankind's changing of nature, it is a harsh, brutal environment that kills 75% of all people before they even reach it did throughout most of recorded history.

Which -- if you ever abandoned all the shiny gadgets you pretend to despide so much -- you'd find out very quickly.

RE: All the money in the world won't save them
By whiskerwill on 2/11/2010 6:18:57 PM , Rating: 4
Nature is not our friend. It's our enemy. It freezes us in the winter, scorches us in the summer. It kills us with disease, animal attacks, hunger, starvation, rain, flood, lightning strike, earthquake, and a million other ways.
If we dumped his dumb ass out naked out in the middle of a tiger preserve, I wonder how long it would be before he was begging to come back to civilization?

By Seemonkeyscanfly on 2/11/2010 6:29:51 PM , Rating: 3
Who knows, we would have dumped him out and flew out by guessing helicopter. He'd have no radio. I'll give him one option; compass, shorts, or a bowie type knife (with hostler).
Now I bet begging to come back to civilization inside 1 hour, if dropped off in deep jungle area, just no one to hear him.

By grenableu on 2/11/2010 9:48:21 PM , Rating: 3
I'm smelling a hot new reality show: "Greens vs. Nature". Put a bunch of environuts in the jungle without any camping gear, and see which of them drives the SUV back to the city first.

By mxnerd on 2/15/2010 7:39:30 AM , Rating: 2
This is funny. If that's your logic, maybe we should burn down all the trees and grasses in the world, since nature is our enemy.

Human and nature must exist in a balanced way.

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