Today is World Wildlife Day, celebrated every March 3rd since its creation in 2013. This year it is centred around elephants, with the theme “The future of elephants is in our hands.”
Elephants are fantastic creatures, who have made sacrifices for our sake. Throughout history they played important roles in shaping the human race, but now the tables have turned and they need our help. Find out
about 4 iconic individuals who played huge roles in human history here.
World Wildlife Day is a day to celebrate wildlife and raise awareness for the world’s flora and fauna. My favourite animal is the Tiger, Panthera tigris, so here are a few facts to help you celebrate this majestic big cat with me.
There were once 9 subspecies of tiger: Bengal, Siberian, Indochinese, South Chinese, Sumatran, Malayan, Caspian, Javan and Bali. The last 3 are now extinct and the South Chinese has not been seen in the wild for 25 years. Tigers currently range South and Southeast Asia, China and the Russian Far East, but they have lost 93% of their historic range.
Tigers are the largest members of the cat (felid) family. The Bengal and Siberian subspecies are the largest, growing up to 120 cm in height and 3.5m long, weighing anything from 65-300kg.
Tigers are solitary animals, except during the mating season (November to April in tropical climates, winter months in temperate regions). Cubs becomes independent at around 18 months, but will stay with their mothers for up
to 2 1/2 years. Tigers maintain strict territories, within larger home ranges which may overlap. A male’s range is larger and usually overlaps with several females’.
Estimates suggest there are less than 2500 tigers left in the wild, a huge decrease from the 100,000 estimated at the beginning of the 20th century. The Bengal tiger has the largest population size of the remaining subspecies. Poaching for fur and body parts for trade and medicine alongside habitat loss have led to the depletion of the tiger’s population.
Tx2: With so few tigers remaining, efforts are aiming at bringing tigers back from the brink. An ambitious goal has been set: double the tiger population by 2022 (the next year of the tiger). Combating poaching and reducing habitat loss are vital components in the fight for the tiger’s survival. Protecting one tiger protects around 25,000 acres of forest and all wildlife within it
Tiger Reserves: The Satpuda forests of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra in India contain a network of 7 tiger reserves, connected by forest corridors. The Satpuda Landscape Tiger Programme (SLTP) was set up by the Born Free Foundation, and WildCRU at the University of Oxford. They aim to protect tiger habitat, reduce human-tiger conflict, monitor tiger populations, raise awareness and improve the livelihoods of people living alongside tigers.
IUCN: Launched in 2014, the Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme was set up as a result of funding from KfW and the German Government. With aims similar to the tiger reserves in India, the programme offers grants of €700.000 to €2 million for individual projects run by NGOs, governments and local communities.
Celebrate and raise awareness for your favourite animal too.