The summit to save tigers started today in Russia. In case you haven’t heard, the number of tigers in the world has plummeted from 100,000 down to fewer than 3,200 over the past century. Mankind has surely left his footprint in contributing to the tiger species’ demise as result of his irresponsible activities involving deforestation and illegal poaching.
In the last decade alone, over 1,000 tigers have been “reduced to skin and bones” as “they are used by a variety of cultures for decoration, in traditional medicines and even as good luck charms.”
Will it be the world’s “last chance” to save the tiger species? According to World Bank President Robert Zoellick, it might just be.
Criminal syndicates sell valuable skins, bones, claws and even tiger meat on a flourishing global black market, and demand for tiger parts for amulets, showy private collections, and, in particular, traditional medicine, remains strong.
Politicians and wildlife conservationists aren’t the only ones concerned about saving tigers as several celebrities have become involved. Leonardo DiCaprio has issued his own personal appeal to save tigers, while Jackie Chan “has starred in several public service announcements warning against the purchase of any products purported to contain tiger parts.”
The next time it will be year of the tiger is 2022. Let’s hope that we are celebrating the tiger’s increasing numbers in nature, not mourning its extinction.