Tiger Poaching will Backfire

The affects of Tiger poaching on the ecosystem

Picture yourself in an exotic market. Spices fill the air with swirls of perfume, and hand carved furniture lays on a fine carpet. People rush by with baskets of red silk wind. Off to the side, a man with an eru plays- a raspy sound that melts into the air. You turn around, in a daydream, and see this....
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IS THIS PART OF YOUR DAYDREAM?

Tigers Diet

TIgers are one of the most powerful big cats of the world. Growing up to 10 feet in length, and over 600 lbs, tigers can eat animals as big as elephants or as small as termites. However, there main staple is hoved animals. These are mamals that are around 45 lbs and are typically herbavores. Tigers feast on buffalo, horses, goats, deer, gazelle, and rhinocerous calves. However, due to poaching, many tigers are being driven away from the game and relying on lizards, wild dogs, and small rodents.

Tigers Lifespan

Tigers have what is considered a "lone wolf status." This means that they hunt and live as individuals, not in a pack. Mothers can produce about a cub per year and raise them on their own. However, a tiger cub stays with it's mother for about two years. This means that a mother can sucessfully produce and raise a cub every three years. While certain species of tiger can produce litters at a time, more and more incresingly mothers are only producing one cub at a time due to malnutrition and lack of habitat. In the wild, tigers can live up to 26 years. If a tiger reaches maturity at a little over four years, said tiger could produce about 7 cubs. This is a perfect senario, though. In reality, about fifty percent of cubs die between one and three years. So, at best this tiger could produce four cubs in it's lifetime.

Tiger trade

Over the last century, 97% of wild tigers have disappeared from the enviorment. They only have seven percent of the original land to occupy. Today there are only 3,200 tigers of all species left in Asia. About one of these majestic creatures dies every day due to poaching. Thats 365 tigers in a day, and 1825 in five years! Over of the population we have now, poached for useless purpose. The number one reason tigers are poached is for the use in chinese medicine. The bones, eyes, teeth, and whiskers of tigers are believed to treat various aliements like malaria, meningites, and insomnia. While tigers are believed to have magical properties, science says otherwise. Many symptoms that were "cured" with tiger medicine could have been cured with an asprin.

Some Animals the Tiger Affects...

The Red Deer

The Tiger is at the top of the food chain- consuming large mammals like red deer. As the tigers start disappearing from the forests- the deer population is expanding rapidly. Many species of deer are coming back from the brink of extinction. In Laos, a new herd of a deer subspecies thought to be extinct made a huge comeback with over 50 animals spotted. While this burst may be beneficial in the short term, it can be detremental in the long term. The vegetation is consumed-including bamboo. As the vegetation in the area is at the mercy of the red deer, animals like the panda can run into food shortage. The panda is an already endangered animal that could become extinct as it loses resources. As more and moe vegetation is consumed by the population of red deer- the enviorment starts to wear out. Eventually there will be a huge plunge in the vegetation and deer population as the carraying capacity is hit. In class we explored a situation similar to this. In Yellowstone park, the reintroduction of wolves tamed the elk population, raised the vegetaiton population, and created a much stabler park. As the tigers disapper we will see the opposite effect, one that was originally seen when the wolves were first taken away. As the red deer population rapidly expands because of the lack of predators the enviorment will crash, creating a barren landscape. I understand that this paragraph was a bit of a tangent, but I wanted to fully explain.
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The Lepord

The Lepord is another one of Asia's majestic big cats. They are smaller than tigers- in fact they are considered the smallest of all big cats. The lepord numbers have been dropping over time, but they are not in the same immediate danger that the tigers are. If tigers go extinct then the leopords inherit the top of the food chain. As poachers no longer have tiger parts to sell on the black market- they start to hunt down the lepords. This could put another large cat out of existance. And keep in mind that this could be applied over and over (ie as soon as the lepords are extinct, humans hunt wild boars etc, etc). That cycle is never ending and can be repeted and applied to any enviorment The tiger population drops, studies are showing that the lepord population is also dropping. The two populations are corralated. There are a few theories about this. One is that both big cats need essentially the same resources to survive, and these resources are becoming harder to find due to deforstation, logging, hunting, pollution, and human interference. Also, as more tiger parts are sold on the market, this encourages poachers to try and expand their buisnesses by hunting other big cats. This ties into my earlier point. Overall, the big cats are in a delicate balance that must be sustained.
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The Human

1) Of course, (no offense) but as people, typically we must relate it back to ourselves for us to care. I should start out by saying this- the tiger products on the market are not at all reliable as they are illegal. As there are no regulation, poachers have been known to fake tiger bone powered with harmful substances. Some have even tried to replicate tiger bones with the bones of other animals. Also, the tiger products on sale may not have been cleaned properly. All of these factors could potentially sicken a person who buys the tiger products.

2) Tiger is a big business, even without the poaching. Tiger protection habitats and study centers are a huge part of tourism. In 2010, over 55 million overseas tourists visited China alone. Internationally ecotourism is predicted to make up 7% of all tourism, which means that in 2010 3,850,000 tourist in china participated in some form of ecotourism. That's a big business!

3) The tiger fight is our fight. We as people need the same fundamentals that tigers do. A clean enviorment, food, water, a safe shelter. If we let species like the Tiger become extinct and it's home a set of condo's- we eliminate our resources. Just like the red deer- eventually humans are going to reach our carrying capacity- and when that day come we as a species are in trouble. Thus, it is very important to sustain a biodiversity. Having different species will maintain a balance in our enviorment.

4) Tigers are being forced to coexist with people as they are being forced out of their natural habitats- and that doesn't come naturally. In China, a 17 year old boy was killed by a hungry tiger walking home at night. After their habitat was destroyed and a set of one story homes quickly set up, the tigers started wandering into this makeshift village looking for food. The teen and the tiger clashed, and neither had a pleasent experience.

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Sustainable Developement Ideas

China already has banned the poaching of tigers, but the demand is so great that the poaching continues. The Chinese Goverment needs to start a campaign pointing out the dangers of tiger medicine and the effect it could have on the enviorment. Many people in rural China do not understand the toll the tiger medicine can take on the population. The Chinese goverment needs to make the message clear: Tiger medicine is a harmful and useless form of medicine. This will hopefully lower the demand for the medicine. One way that the Chinese goverment can start spreading the word is through the schools. Each scinece class should have a day where they learn about poaching and other ecological issues. This way a new generation will grow up learning about the harm of poaching and slowly the demand for poaching will trickle out. Everyone can help out by donating to the World Wildlife Fund. This organization even has an "Adopt a Tiger Program," which lets the funds funnel into an individual tiger. You can recieve updates on said tiger and learn about their past. Tigers are such an important part of the world. They tie so many species together and are a vital part of our world.

This is what the World Wildlife Fund has to say...

Also courtesy of the WWF, this shocking footage...

Bibliography

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Thank you so much for your time!