INTRODUCTION TO ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
IMPORTANCE OF TIGER CONSERVATION
Environmental scienceis the interdisciplinaryacademic
fieldwhich systematically studieshuman interactionwith
theenvironmentin the interests of solving complex problems. It
is a broad field of study that includes also the natural
environment,built environment, and the sets of relationships
between them. The field encompasses study in basic principles
of ecology and environmental science, as well as associated
controland natural resource management.
Why study environmental science ?
You live here. There's only one planet so far that can support
You need to know how to protect your environment.
You need to know what has already been done to harm the
environment so that you can work to repair the damage.
We humans are currently undergoing a population explosion,
numbering over 6.5 billion people and growing. Most scientists
are convinced that this is an unsustainable population size and that
we must reduce our growth rate. While many developed countries
have reduced their population growth rates, most developing
countries have high birth rates.
The prodigious increase in the human population has had and is
still having devastating effects on the environment. This is
especially true of non-renewable resources, such as fossil fuels,
and the output of excessive carbon dioxide and other greenhouse
gases as a consequence.
The study of Environmental Science promotes the development of
problem-solving skills. Working in the field of environmental
science provides a wide variety of subjects and problems to
challenge and expand your skills, as well as the satisfaction of
knowing you are helping to improve the quality of our lives and
that of the planet.
Why Is Environmental Education Important?
Our nation’s future relies on a well-educated public to be
wise stewards of the very environment that sustains us, our
families and communities, and future generations. It is
environmental education which can best help us as individuals
make the complex, conceptual connections between economic
prosperity, benefits to society, environmental health, and our
own well being. Ultimately, the collective wisdom of our
citizens, gained through education, will be the most compelling
and most successful strategy for environmental management.
Yet studies consistently reveal that the public suffers from
a tremendous environmental literacy gap that appears to be
increasing rather than decreasing. For example, two-thirds of the
public fail even a basic environmental quiz and a whopping 88
percent of the public fail a basic energy quiz. These same studies
found that many people think the ocean is a source of fresh
water and some believe that hydropower is world's top energy
source.Environmental education also increases student
engagement in science.
The tiger is the largest member of the cat species. Tigers
have muscular bodies with particularly powerful forelimbs and
large heads.Its most recognizable feature is a pattern of dark
vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with a lighter underside.
This gives it a royal look. The pattern of stripes is unique to each
animal, and these unique markings can be used by researchers to
identify individuals (both in the wild and captivity), in much the
same way as fingerprints are used to identify humans. Tigers
have exceptionally stout teeth, and the canines are the longest
among living felids with a crown height of as much as 74.5 mm
(2.93 in) or even 90 mm (3.5 in).Tigers are among the most
recognizable and popular of the world's charismatic megafauna.
Tigers are native to much of Asia, from some of the coldest
regions to the steamy rainforests of the Indonesian Islands. They
are the top predator in every ecosystem they inhabit.Tigers
ranged widely across Asia, from Turkey in the west to the
eastern coast of Russia. The Bengal tiger is the national animal
of both India and Bangladesh.
There are 9 subspecies of tiger:
PantheraTigrisTigris (Bengal or Indian tiger)
PantheraTigriscorbetti (Indochinese tiger)
PantheraTigrisjacksoni (Malayan Tiger)
PantheraTigrissumatrae (Sumatran tiger)
PantheraTigrisaltaica (Siberian tiger)
PantheraTigrisamoyensis (South China tigers)
Panthera Tigrisvirgate (Caspian tigers)
PantheraTigrisbalica (Balinese tiger)
PantheraTigrissondaica (Javan tiger)
The last three subspecies are extinct. The remaining six tiger
subspecies have been classified as endangered by IUCN.
Until the 20th Century there were nine tiger subspecies that
probably numbered over 100,000 animals. They included the
giant 660-poundSiberian tigers, the relatively small 200-pound
Balinese tiger, the royal Bengal tiger, Indochinese tiger, South
China tigers, Sumatran tiger, Javan tiger,Caspian tigers and the
Three of the tiger species,
Caspian tigers, Balinese tiger and
Javan tigers are definitely extinct and
depending on whether there are any
remaining South China tigers
(nobody has seen one in years) there
are either 5 or 6 tiger subspecies
remaining in existence, all of which
endangered. All the tiger subspecies
put together currently amount to
around 3,200 endangered tigers
remaining in the wild.
The main reasons tigers are endangered and in most cases,
critically endangeredare illegal hunting for their pelts, meat and
body parts (used in folk medicines) as well as habitat loss that
results from logging and other forms of forest destruction.
Fewer than 500 endangered Siberian tigers remain in the
wild and all of them are restricted to a small area of coastal FarEastern Russia. Although the population has appeared stable
until recently, these tigers are threatened by poaching, habitat
loss due to logging, road-building and development, as well as
by the problem of inbreeding that has resulted from the fact that,
before conservation measures were implemented in the 1930′s,
the entire population had collapsed to around 40 individuals.
The Bengal tiger is the most numerous of the endangered
tiger subspecies, with probably fewer than 2,000 remaining at
large in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan.There are fewer
than 500 each of the endangered Malayan tiger native to the
Malay Peninsula and Sumatran tiger which is found only on the
Indonesian Island of Sumatra.The Indochinese tiger of Vietnam,
Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar (Burma) probably
numbers fewer than 500.None of the critically endangered South
China tigerhas been sighted for a number of yearsand it is feared
that the species may be extinct.Along with the Balinese tiger,
formerly found on the Indonesian Island of Bali and known to
be extinct since the 1930′s, the Javan tiger, another Indonesian
Island species, was also hunted to extinction, with the last one
spotted in 1979.The Caspian tiger, a huge, cold-climate species
similar to the Siberian tiger, which once roamed the vast
mountains of western Asia, has been extinct since the
1950′s.Populations of all endangered tiger species continue to
Illegal Hunting for Medicinal Trade
Poaching for tiger skins has a long history; the magnificent
striped pelt has been in demand for rugs, wall hangings, and fur
coats. These are less important now as the market is restricted
by trade bans. The poacher's targets today are bones and other
parts to meet the demand for pseudo-medicinal use in eastern
Asia, primarily China, Taiwan, and South Korea, but also in
China's Growing Demand
It can be assumed that within China itself the killing of at least
3,000 tigers as pests in the 1950s and 1960s provided large
stocks of bones for medicine factories. In the late 1980s reports
emerged from Nepal and India of poaching for bones and
smuggling to China. The statistics show that over six tons of
tiger bones were imported between 1975 and 1992, which could
represent the equivalent of 500 to 1,000 tigers (using dry bone
weights of 10-12kg per tiger). There was a marked increase in
imports in 1988, boosting the annual average through 1992 to
577kg (52-96 tigers a year).
Weak Law Enforcement
Taiwan prohibited tiger bone imports in 1985 and internal sale
and possession in 1989. However, tiger products continued to
be openly available. Under mounting international pressure,
especially from the USA, China (1993), Taiwan (1994), and
South Korea (1994) have all announced bans on trade in tiger
bones, and their use in traditional medicines. However,
undercover investigators reported that they had obtained tiger
products in various places in China after imposition of the ban.
New evidence shows that tigers are being breed in China now to
quench the Chinese market for tiger parts.
Poaching and Habitat Loss
Assessing the impact of poaching is difficult. Unlike carcasses
of elephants and rhinos, the remains of tigers quickly disappear,
particularly when the skeleton has been taken. Skins are easily
identified, but few people can distinguish tiger bones from
those of domestic animals. Where forest guards regularly patrol,
they may note that a familiar tiger is no longer to be seen, but it
may be difficult to decide whether it was poached or died
naturally. In many forests there are too few guards, if any.The
impact of poaching isn’t just limited to the loss of the actual
animal killed. If it is a female, she is likely to have cubs, which
may be unable to fend for themselves, in which case the real
loss may be three or four tigers, without counting the loss of the
tigress's breeding potential. When a male is killed, the result
may be an intensive struggle among other males to take over the
territory during which cubs get killed and breeding is disrupted
for a lengthy period, possibly for several years.
Like other big cats, the tiger probably has little future outside
protected areas because of the danger to livestock and human
life. Tigers which stray out of reserves and attack livestock are
often poisoned by local people.
The Genetic Threat
Most tiger populations today consist of fewer than 100
individuals and only about 40 per cent of them constitute the
breeding population. Inbreeding is inevitable and fatherdaughter and mother-son matinghas been recorded. The balance
of the sexes may be distorted by an excess of males or females
surviving to maturity, thus increasing the impact of inbreeding.
A loss of variability and genetic deterioration follow, with
lowered cub production and survival, which may not be
apparent until they have reached a level that, threatens the
Impact of Catastrophes
Small isolated populations are especially vulnerable to
catastrophic events and natural disasters, such as forest fires,
floods, hurricanes, and epidemicsand human-induced events,
such as deforestation and conversion of habitat. Extensive fires
in the forests of northeastern China in 1987 may have killed
Siberian tigersand reduced prey numbers. Monsoon floods and
hurricanes regularly kill some tigers in the Indian subcontinent.
An epidemic could wipe out a small tiger population, especially
if inbreeding has reduced genetic variability and, therefore,
resistance to the spread of disease.
The conservation on international Trade in Endangered Species
(CITES) has played a crucial role in improving international
efforts for tiger conservation. CITES is an international
governance network employing tools and measures which adapt
and become more efficient with time.
Tiger is in danger and only excessive awareness programs can
save the species. Everybody can help if they did their part. You
could help as well, all you have to do is make posters or fliers
illustrating about the significance of tigers on the planet earth.
Educating the people
The people who do the most harm to the forests are those living
nearby them. They need to be educated about the significance of
tigers to if they wish to see the Ecosystem balanced. If there will
be no tigers then we will not find any grass on our planet
because there will be nobody to stop the grass eating animals
from eating all the grass.
Hunting of tigers is banned because selling tiger skin or any
other body parts is the biggest reason why indian tigers are
going extinct. If you know somebody who is involved in indian
tiger hunting then it is your duty to report the officials.
Support a cause
If you see a program running to save the indian tiger, you should
take part in it and support their cause. You could also start your
own blog on how to save the indian tiger, it will really educate
Take an eco tour
If you really want to save the indian tigers then an eco tour is
must for you. Eco tour really helps the people in understanding
the significance of tigers.
These are some of the simplest ways you can adopt to save the
Indian tiger from becoming extinct.
In 1972 Project Tiger was initiated to bring
certain tiger conservation plans into action.
The main aim behind Project Tiger was to
protect the Bengal Tigers living in several
regions of India. To achieve the mission of
tiger conservation they set up several tiger
reserves. The tiger reserves had the
responsibility of maintaining natural environment of the
regions where tigers dwelled the most.
For several years The Tiger Reserves representatives covered
the area of nearly 37,761 km² and were able to bring the
population of tigers from 1,200 in 1970s to 3500 in 1990s.
However, when the Government of India did a survey in 2008
the tiger population was estimated to be only 1,411. This was
announced as a major setback, to rectify the loopholes in the
activities of Project Tiger regarding their overall tiger
conservation activities the Government requested for a donation
of US$153 million.
Some of the areas where the fund will be used extensively to
further strengthen tiger conservation activities include:
A high tech information network is needed by the wildlife
protection and crime risk management team of Project Tiger to
deliver maximum protection to the fields where tigers live. The
huge portion of the fund will be allocated to develop several
technologies which would help the representatives to gather,
maintain and make proper use of the data and also to watch over
the tiger conservation areas through Mapping and GIS
The activities of some of the units such as Sunderbans Tiger
Conservation Unit, Central Indian Tiger Conservation Unit and
Western Ghat Tiger Conservation Unit will be strictly monitored
as these are the areas where tiger population has reduced
rapidly. A satellite data will be set which will keep an eye on the
Further activities for tiger conservation will include education
the villagers on tiger conservation so they also help in saving the
almost extinct species.
The Project Tiger is hopeful that with proper use of the fund and
more international help they will be able to save the tigers in the
IMPORTANCE OF TIGER
Tigers are the top predator in the food chain that keeps the ecosystem going in tropical jungles. When they vanish due to
poaching and lack of habitat, they take away with them an
important link in the food chain. Tigers help keep the population
of herbivores in the jungle. Nature is finely balanced with the
right proportion of predators for prey. By taking away one
important predator, prey will increase at the cost of habitat
which finally impacts mankind
By conserving and saving tigers the entire wilderness ecosystem
is conserved. In nature, barring human beings and their
domesticates, rest of the ecosystem is wild. Hence conserving
wilderness is important and crucial to maintain the life support
system. So saving tiger amounts to saving the ecosystem which
is crucial for man's own survival.
Tigers play a pivotal role in the health of the ecosystem. Tigers
constitute the top carnivores in the ecosystem and are placed at
the apex of the food chain. The removal of a top carnivore from
an ecosystem can have an impact on the relative abundance of
herbivore species. Along with other major carnivores as leopard
it acts as a control mechanism for herbivores or consumers.
Top carnivores, tigers, have an important role to play in the
structuring of communities and ultimately of ecosystems. Thus,
the preservation of tigers becomes an important consideration.
Dickson, B. (2002). International conservation treaties,
poverty and development: The case of CITES. ODI Natural
Resource Perspectives, January 1974
Tigers of the World Ronald L. Tilson.
Threat to The Tiger by John Vaillant
The Way of the Tiger by Orient Longman