LESS THAN 400 REMAIN
Deforestation, the black market and illegal hunting are extinguishing the world’s smallest tiger subspecies. An estimated 40 tigers are killed each year due to demand in Asian countries for their body parts, their skin, their fangs, and their bones. Furthermore, the one million hectares logged each year (equivalent to 2 million soccer fields) are pushing the cat to its disappearance. Even so, the actions to save him are maintained by organizations, people and you, can be one of them. This is their story.
They are distinguished by their marked and thick black stripes. It is estimated that in 1978, 1,000 lived, now only less than 400 remain on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. Their critically endangered status led the government to establish penalties such as jail and significant fines for attempting to hunt them down. But still, the Sumatran tiger is waging a stubborn fight to survive against a ruthless illegal hunt. They cling to their last remaining home, to their increasingly shrinking isolated forests which are threatened by deforestation, illegal logging and the creation of agricultural fields. They escape and take refuge while their habitat disappears, while their prey falls in number with them. This is the Sumatran tiger, the one that still lives in the Kerinci Seblatel National Park and the one that is getting closer to accompanying its cousins from Java and Bali in extinction.
When we described the story of the Malayan tiger it was difficult to imagine what he suffered in the 2 days he was trapped in the snare, bleeding, without food or water, doing everything possible to free himself. We never thought of encountering something worse, but we did encounter it. This is the story of a Sumatran tiger, who, if he had survived, today would be a great tiger of only 8 years old, the king of the jungle.
In the forests of Sumatra, one of the largest islands in the Indonesian archipelago, a tiger walked for the last time. It was the moment when the feline found a wire trap set by poachers which would extinguish his life very slowly; It would be 6 days of intense pain until finally he was aided by conservationists. But what happened during all of this time? A scene from the video, which we share below, summarizes what happened.
If you did not see it we will tell you, the tiger sought freedom for 144 hours, with all his strength he pulled again and again to try to free his leg from the wires. But these were so pressed and tucked into his skin that the struggle only caused more damage. Eventually his entire leg fell apart until the bone was exposed, his leg was hanging from the wires. The tiger remained trapped without understanding why he couldn’t move, why he felt dehydrated, hungry, helpless, and why he couldn’t get up and move on. The tiger did not know why he had such great discomfort, infection, disease. And it was finally when forest conservationists found him and sedated him. But it was too late, the tiger died from the serious infection of his wounds. The tiger died because someone wanted to kill him, and they did.
He was only 18 months old. How much can you do at 18 months of age? It is estimated that at this time they are just getting ready to hunt alone, but normally they remain with their mother until they are 2 and a half years old. This tiger, and others, were deprived of the rest of their lives and the possibility of reproducing and saving their species.
Sumatra Island, the last home of the Sumatran tiger, is a special place for several reasons. One in particular is because it is the only place where tigers, rhinos, elephants and orangutans live together. Furthermore, the survival of the feline is an indicator of a biodiverse ecosystem, protecting them benefits other species, including humans. Read here the 4 reasons why tiger survival is so important for the world. 140 species of mammals live in Indonesia and their habitat is being destroyed for the production of paper products. This, together with illegal hunting, has already caused the extinction of two tiger subspecies: that of Bali and that of Java in the 20th century.
Today, Indonesia is located 3rd in the ranking of countries in the world that release more CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, partly due to the production of paper. Watch this video, WWF points to the “PASEO” brand of toilet paper as being largely responsible for habitat destruction and invites you to choose brands that do use recycled content and are certified.
Now, there are many projects and efforts to protect them. The WWF has been doing it for several years. They successfully lobbied corporate partners and the Indonesian state government to declare the Tesso Nile Tropical Forest a protected area in 2004. Unfortunately, illegal logging and fires remain to this day for the purpose of opening fields for livestock. Even so, WWF continues its actions to mitigate their impact, as well as the impact of the pulp and palm oil industry (read here palm oil, deforestation and what you did not know about its production). Additionally, the organization has patrols that monitor the areas to combat poachers and to find and destroy the traps set by them.
WHY ARE THEY IN DANGER OF EXTINCTION?
Threats to this cat are shared with thousands of other species and we explain them in a general way in this article. But in the specific case of the Sumatran tiger, the most significant are:
The Sumatran tigers, and all other tigers, are killed for their skins, for being a status symbol in society, for decoration (rugs), and for hunters to display as trophies on their walls. Also, in several Asian countries like China, traditional medicine suggests that parts of the tiger’s body (such as its bones) can heal some disease. Their practices have managed to turn the feline into a highly valued “product” on the black market in that country. Besides, there is a trend in the production of tiger wine.
Deforestation is a direct impact of livestock and its own food source (soy, grass). This is how it works: thousands of trees are cut down to create spaces for cattle to graze. Additionally, thousands of more trees are cut down for crops and production of other food for cows, chickens and pigs. This means that greater consumption of meat generates a demand to deforest even bigger areas for more livestock. On top of all this habitat destruction causes reductions in the population of prey of the Sumatran Tiger, which additionally, gives life to a confrontation between humans and tigers, where the felines are poisoned and killed when they hunt cattle. Additionally, the production of toilet paper has become a terrible business with a devastating impact on forests.
It’s a vegetable oil that we find in most homemade products and foods. The environmental impact it has and has had in places where it occurs is devastating. The tropical forests of Asia, Africa, North America and South America have suffered and continue to suffer enormous destruction and deforestation in order to make way for its production. Whenever you buy a product, look at the ingredients on its label and see if it has palm oil (it has other names as well). Surely you are consuming something in your daily life but you have not yet realized it, yet. Read more about palm oil, deforestation and what you didn’t know.
The tiger’s diet consists of: fish, monkeys, wild boars, tapirs and deer, among many others; prey that do not show an increase in their population due to deforestation and illegal hunting that many times are executed by unemployed people with families to feed. The lack of food for tigers prevents them from increasing their population significantly which can mean the salvation for its species.
Maybe you don’t hunt, you don’t live in Sumatra, Indonesia, you don’t cut down trees and you’re not a farmer, but still your habits may be jeopardizing the life of the Sumatran Tiger. If we manage to make some changes in our habits, the result would have a positive environmental impact on the world’s species and also on you, on your own survival.
HOW CAN YOU HELP THE SUMATRAN TIGER
You can help this cat, and many other species, in several ways. Many activities in your life can finally change the critical state of the Sumatran tiger, but maybe you don’t know them yet. Look here for a complete list of what else we can do for endangered animals. In this case, you can help them:
An estimated 27,000 trees a day are used for toilet paper alone. According to the WWF, brands like PASEO and LIVI are responsible for cutting down millions of trees in Asia and responsible for the disappearance of tiger habitat. That’s why WWF invites you to buy brands that are certified and use 100% recycled content.
Remember to see the ingredient label whenever you go to buy a product, see if it has palm oil (it has other names with which it hides). In this link you can find other palm oil names and also, what you did not know about its production.
The purchase and demand of products made with Sumatran tiger skins and fur generates poaching and brings them closer to extinction. If you buy any type of clothing made with skins then you are encouraging hunting and sentencing many species to their death and disappearance from Earth. If you have any such garment in your closet, then you are complicit in having taken a life. The reduction of its demand requires actions of people and brands.
Eating meat directly influences the decrease of the tiger’s prey’s population because their habitat is destroyed to give way to agriculture, livestock and meat production that ultimately attracts tigers to hunt cattle, which exposes them to being shot by farmers. Eating less meat means having more trees, more habitat for more prey resulting in more Sumatran tigers. It means they could no longer be surrounded by farms that now provide easy access for villagers to enter the area and hunt prey and tigers.
It doesn’t matter that Sumatran tigers don’t live in your country, eating meat is a habit that you take to any city or country you travel. In addition, eating less meat is healthy, it is a matter of discovering new options that may surprise you with its flavor. Here are some recipes that you can prepare at home.
There are several organizations that are dedicated, not only in protecting the Sumatran tiger but also, in educating the people of the region so they understand the importance and role of tigers in an environmental system and how the destruction of their habitat threatens their survival and how it also affects our own lives.
The contribution you make, whether small or large, is of immense help for these cats and all the species that need protection.
You can see it this way, once or twice a month, you can choose not to buy a cup of coffee, or not go out to eat at a restaurant or buy drinks, instead, you can use that money to donate and symbolically adopt a Sumatran tiger, you will receive a WWF certificate. In addition, you can buy a shirt with the photo of a tiger or other species to support causes. Many organizations allocate 100% of that money to conservation projects.
Remember, there are only less than 400 Malayan tigers left, let’s help them reach 500.
But, these actions you can take now are: reduce plastic use, avoid products that cause deforestation, eat less meat, eat less fish and seafood, bike to work, car pooling, take public transport, do not buy any type of skins or products made from exotic animals, avoid circuses (places like Sea World), do not pay or take photos with animals, get involved in what’s happening, make donations and report illegal markets.
WWF – WORLD WILDLIFE FUND
The world’s leading conservation organization, protecting Nature for 50 years. On their website you can symbolically adopt an Sumatran tiger, you will receive a certificate of your contribution and a stuffed animal. Think about adopting one with your friend or your family.
SAVE TIGERS NOW
A global campaign by WWF and Leonardo Di Caprio. The goal is to build financial and public political support to double the number of wild tigers by 2022. Donations start at $ 10.
FLORA AND FAUNA INTERNATIONAL
“Our goal is to send a clear message to gangs that threaten tigers and other wildlife: Don’t hunt or trade tigers from Kerinci Seblat National Park … we know who you are, you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted … and yes, you’re going to prison. “
We hope we have managed to inform you and convince you to get involved and contribute to the cause. We ask that you please share this blog and the video with friends and family. Remember that there is a list of 20 species in critical danger of extinction followed by dozens more that could soon join and increase that list. #LifeIsDying #DontLetIt