The tiger’s habitat has been reduced by 95% since 1900. Also, poachers continue to kill them for their skin and bones. It’s estimated there were over 100,000 tigers in 1900 compared to the 4600-7700 estimated today.
Tigers have a long history of being poached for their fur, body parts, and just for sport. For centuries they have been regarded as a status symbol, with hunters using their “prize” for decorations and souvenirs. In the decades between 1940 and the late 1980’s, another danger came into play to threaten the tiger population: loss of habitat. Human growth meant that development began to enter tiger territory, and businesses such as logging also decreased vital habitat. Additionally, when humans live closer to wild animals, there is a greater chance that their paths will cross; despite being on their “turf”, many humans will kill wild tigers out of fear. Beginning in the 1990’s, the illegal tiger trading market became another threat. Many tigers are killed and their parts traded (claws, teeth, whiskers, pelt) for use in traditional Chinese medicines, as good luck charms, and for other various uses. These threats have all contributed to the declining tiger population worldwide, and another factor is the inability for humans to do much about them. Unfortunately, many countries do not have the power or resources to monitor existing tiger populations or to enforce existing protective policies already in place.
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