Threats To Tigers

One hundred years ago, there were about 100,000 tigers living in the wild. Today that number hovers a little over 3,000.

Tigers once roamed throughout Asia but currently occupy only about 7% of their historical range due to deforestation for human development. The largest tiger population lives in India, but they are also found in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Russia, and Thailand. With their habitat shrinking, tigers find themselves living close to humans which leads to more tiger attacks on domestic livestock and humans, increasing human conflict. Because of the fragmented small areas of habitat left, their prey base is shrinking, they face breeding problems and they become easier targets for poachers.

tiger in snowPoaching is the most serious threat to tigers. Every part of the tiger is traded in illegal wildlife markets. Parts of just one tiger can fetch up to $50,000 on the black markets. Body parts are often used in traditional Asian medicine and their pelts are viewed as status symbols. It’s a vicious cycle: as more tigers are poached, more parts end up on the black market, which creates and increases demand, which in turn increases poaching. According to the wildlife trade network, TRAFFIC, about 1,000 tigers have been killed in the past 10 years for illegal trade to meet consumer demand in Asia.

Rising sea levels from global climate change threaten to wipe out forests on the Indian Ocean coast in India and Bangladesh that are home to one of the largest tiger populations. According to a study done by the WWF, without mitigation efforts, this tiger habitat could be destroyed by rising sea levels of one foot by 2070.