Why the tiger is endangered according to Dr Desmond Morris

In 1996 Dr Desmond Morris's book Cat World was published. Okay, that is 16 years ago and the stresses on tiger conservation since then have mounted because the four reasons for the fall in tiger populations listed below are still present and getting worse.

Bengal tiger cooling off in water
Bengal tiger cooling off in water. Photo: Pixabay. Tigers are great swimmers.

In 1996 the human population of Asia had more than doubled since 1950 to 3,000 million. It will be double that in another 30 years. The 'living space for the tigers is vanishing year by year'. Yes, it is a simple matter of space. Tigers need lots of it: hundreds of square miles (male: up to 300 square kilometres).

Secondly he writes that sport hunting still exists. I disagree with this because nowadays when tigers are shot they are not shot for the entertainment factor, they are shot dead for their body parts which are very valuable in Chinese medicine. Yes, there is still some illegal trophy hunting of the tiger but sport hunting is scarce compared to the lion in Africa which is far more prevalent and is a genuine threat to the lion's existence going forward, I'd argue. The trophy hunters say that they are improving conservation.

Thirdly he says that the destruction of the forests continues, robbing the tiger of its habitat. Correct, only it is often not just for wood. Sometimes it is and the wood is used to make toilet paper! Imagine. But mining and other commercial enterprises demand that forests are cleared. In their place are plantations for soya and so on.

And then fourthly I must repeat the threat of Chinese traditional medicine. A medicine based on ancient superstitions. I have a full page on the ailments that tiger body parts are meant to cure. Please click here to read it. It will surprise you. Almost none of the remedies work. It is all in the mind. I mention one which worked out of hundreds.

On this path the tiger is doomed to extinction in the wild within 50 years at the latest. The unthinkable has to be thought about: human birth control on a mass scale. A taboo subject.


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