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Today is international tiger day! But did you know that there are only about 3000 tigers left in the wild? And their numbers are declining as their homes are being destroyed by human development - from human settlements to industrial activities such as palm oil in Indonesia, coal in India and timber production in Sibeira.

In fact, the population numbers of wild tigers are so low that the largest populations of tigers are actually the ones living in captivity in the U.S. It's estimated that around 5000 tigers are in captivity in the U.S., a number which greatly exceeds the 3000 wild tigers around the world.

The majority of these captive tigers has private owners. WWF estimates that only six percent of the captive tiger population in the U.S. resides in zoos and other facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. This means that there is no regulation to make sure that the tigers are treated with the respect and care these majestic, but dangerous, animals deserves.


According to WWF, in some U.S. states it's sometimes easier to buy a tiger than to adopt a dog from a local animal shelter.

As one can imagine, the lack of regulation of captive tigers is a major threat to public safety, as well as the health and well-being of the tigers. But the lack of regulation could also fuel the black market which illegally sells body parts from tigers and many other endangered animals.

WWF says this: "When tiger ownership and breeding aren’t monitored, captive tigers become easy targets for black market sales, and those sales end up threatening wild populations too. The illegal trade in products derived from captive tigers stimulates demand, especially for tigers in the wild. The greater the demand, the more wild tigers will be poached."

TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, and WWF are therefore calling for a ban on private possession of big cats like tigers and lions. They are also demanding that those who currently require big cats be required to register these animals.

What do you think is the best way to protect the world's tiger population?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow, I never knew that there was an international tiger day. I would really hate for this beautiful creature to become extinct. I think they should be given a fenced off private sanctuary/park where they can live safely. I also think that an accelerated breeding scheme should be initiated to breed new tigers as a way of increasing the current population. 

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