Relentless poaching and clearing of habitat for agriculture have been the primary drivers of this decline, though demand for tiger skins and parts for "medicinal" purposes has become an increasingly important threat in recent years.
However, the news is not all bad. Research published last year showed that if protected and given sufficient access to abundant prey, tiger populations can quickly stabilize. With India's large network of protected areas and continued funding from conservation groups like the Wildlife Conservation Society, the findings provide hope that tigers can avoid extinction in the wild.
The biggest threat to tigers in India is depletion of their chief prey like deer, wild pigs and wild cattle by local people. As a result, although about 300,000 square kilometers of tiger habitat still remains, much of it is empty of tigers because there is not enough food for them to survive and breed successfully.
Here are some ways to deal with this crisis:
- learn as much about tigers as you can, and teach others about the threats they face.
- Raise money for a tiger conservation organization – on your own, or as a school or scout-group project.
- don`t buy tiger products like tiger fur or teeth because people kill tigers to sell these products.
- Protect forests
- Stop poaching and don't encourage poachers
- Force governments to enact severe punishment for poachers
- Reduce pressure on natural resources
One more thing to help saving tiger population is to travel tiger reserves that are large plots of the tigers’ native land that has been specifically designated for the tigers. Of course, visiting a tiger reserve means flying to places like India or Nepal. If you have the ability to do so, then while you are there you should join a tour operated by the park service of the country. They rely on the income from tourism to help pay for part of their expenses. Tourism also brings money to the area where the reserve is located, which in turn inspires support for the reserve from the local community.
Do some research on the tour company before you fly off to visit the tiger reserve or national park.