February 16, 2010
The Lunar New Year was on Sunday, welcoming in the year of the Tiger. The World Wildlife Fund has taken that as a sign to launch their own tiger campaign “Tx2: Double or Nothing” with the aim of doubling the wild tiger population by 2022, the next year of the Tiger.
Like many large predator species around the world, the tiger (Panthera tigris) isn’t doing very well. There are only around 3,200 left in the wild in Asia. In the past 70 years, three subspecies of tiger have gone extinct and a fourth hasn’t been seen in wild for the past 25 years. WWF notes a list of threats that includes: paper, palm oil and rubber plantations that are replacing forests in Indonesia and Malaysia; dams along the Mekong River that fragment tiger habitat; trafficking in tiger bones, skins and meat; and climate change.
WWF has the support of the 13 nations where tigers still roam, but it remains to be seen if their campaign will see any success. With the human population growing, will there still be room for these cute but deadly kitties? Or will they become the second mythical creature–after the dragon–on the lunar calendar?
Sign up for our free email newsletter and receive the best stories from Smithsonian.com each week.
No Comments »
No comments yet.