Since 2010, July 29 has been observed as International Tiger Day. It is a day to call attention to the plight of wild tigers, which may be my favorite big cat species*. In the past hundred years the planet has lost 97% of the tiger population, going down to just over three thousand of these cats today. In fact, there are more tigers in captivity in the United States than in the wild (though only a small percentage are in AZA accredited zoos).
Why have we lost so many tigers? A number of reasons. Climate change and habitat lose are key factors. The cats have lost 97% of their habitat over the last century. Tigers are finding fewer and fewer places to live. Poaching is another factor. The parts of the tiger are used as trophies, as well as in “traditional” medicine.
I encourage you to support conservation efforts for these wonderful cats! The world would be much worse off without them.
*Snow leopards have characteristics of both small and big cats, so it makes that murky.