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(CNN) -- Tigers could become extinct in the wild in less than a generation, the World Wildlife Fund warned Wednesday as it launched a campaign to save them. The number of tigers in the wild has dwindled to 3,200 -- less than the number held in captivity in the United States alone, the campaigners said. “There is a real threat of losing this magnificent animal

forever in our lifetime,” said Sybille Klenzendorf, director of the WWF-US species conservation program. “This would be like losing the stars in the sky. “Three tiger subspecies have gone extinct, and another, the South China tiger, has not been seen in the wild in 25 years,” she told reporters. “Unless we really crack down on illegal trade and poachers, tigers in the wild have very little chance,” said a World Bank official involved in the campaign to save the big cats.

“If [tigers] survive, it shows we are doing our job right. If they disappear, it shows we are just talking.”

Keshav S. Varma, program director of the World Bank’s Global Tiger Initiative, said the fate of tigers would show how serious people were about protecting wildlife. “If the tigers disappear, it is an indication of a comprehensive failure,” he said. “It’s not just about tigers. If you save the tiger, you are going to save other species. It provides an excellent indicator of commitment to biodiversity.”If they survive, it shows we are doing our job right. If they disappear, it shows we are just talking,” he said. Tigers are threatened by many factors, including “poaching, habitat loss,

*Bengal Tiger running

poorly planned development and illegal trafficking,” the WWF said in a statement. “And there are few regulations to keep those tigers from ending up on the black market.” Demand for tiger parts in areas of Asia is a key factor, campaigners said. “The demand for bones and skin, meat, and even claws and teeth ... is driving a major crime campaign to wipe tigers out in the wild,” said Crawford Allan, director of

TRAFFIC-North America, which monitors the trade in wildlife. He warned that in some parts of the world, tigers were valued more for their body parts than as living creatures. The WWF is working with the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine to fight the use of traditional remedies such as tiger bones.

is an old tradition, an old belief that tiger wine can make their bones stronger. That is not medicine, that is from old tradition,” she said, adding that the group was spearheading a campaign to educate people about the threat to tigers.

“The number of tigers in the wild has dwindled to 3,200”

“Traditional Chinese medicine does not need tiger bones to save lives,” said Lixin Huang, president of the ACTCM. “What we are dealing with

The campaign launch is linked to the Year of the Tiger, which begins on Sunday in the traditional Chinese calendar, said WWF spokesman Lee Poston.

The World Wildlife Fund hopes to find ways to double the current population of wild tigers by the next Year of the Tiger in 2022, “so the next new year is a time for

celebration and hope, as a new year should be,” said Mike Baltzer, the leader of the group’s Tiger Initiative. To do that, the group needs the help of governments, and at least $13 million a year just for its highest priority sites, Klenzendorf said. She said there was cause for hope. “Tigers are a cat and can breed faster than prey and recover ... if we can protect them,” she said.

Nepal, Russia, the United States, Vietnam, and the Greater Mekong region, which stretches across Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. There were about 100,000 tigers roaming wild at the start of the 20th century, the WWF said.*

Do What You Can

On Wednesday, the WWF published an interactive map that shows 10 tiger trouble spots around the world, highlighting areas where development or legal loopholes have endangered tigers or destroyed their habitat. Those areas are in Bangladesh, China, Europe, India, Indonesia,

*Tiger in deep gaze


igers are on the brink of extinction. There are only between 5,000 and 7,400 tigers left in the wild and the number keeps shrinking. Of the 8 species of tigers, only 5 are still in existence today. Once they are gone, they will be gone forever. What would life be like if we couldn’t show our chil-

dren and our grandchildren the beauty if these animals? It would be a great tragedy. That is why something must be done now before they become extinct. The biggest threats to the tiger’s survival are poachers and loss of habitat. Poachers illegally hunt and kill the tigers for their fur, bones and other parts. The poachers get money for them on the black market. The other problem is that as the human population moves into the tiger’s habitat. As the tigers move on, some of the groups of tigers get separated from others. Human populations prevent these groups from ever finding each other. As a result, these segregated groups begin inbreeding within their groups to the point where over time, the tigers give birth to unhealthy

cubs with life threatening birth defects. This is known as “population fragmentation� The ways that we can help prevent the extinction of these beautiful animals is to support politicians who push for tougher laws on the sale of animal parts overseas. Preservation of tiger reserves needs to be enforced with stiffer penalties for those who break the law. Educate yourself and others on tigers. Learn everything you can about these how to save these animals. Knowledge truly is a powerful tool. Start writing campaigns and petitions to send to the politicians in India. The more

support the better. Financial support to tiger preservation groups will help. They are doing great things for these animals and they need support. Most zoos have information available for organizations in your region. Check with them for more information.*

Credit for article 1: Author: Published: February 10, 2010 Credit For article 2: Author: Published: N/A


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