Why should tigers be protected and saved?

Tigers are becoming extinct in the wild year-on-year. This is despite the best efforts of conservationists. Their efforts aren't enough in the face of exploitation by big business such as the traditional Chinese medicine marketplace which results in poaching Bengal tigers in India for example. The carcasses are shipped over via Thailand. It's horrible. There are other reasons such as habitat destruction which gets worse as human population grows. So, tigers are going extinct in the wild.

Bengal tiger in Nepal
Bengal tiger in Nepal. Image: Nepalese government.

Why protect them? Well, I can think of two main reasons (1) tigers are an iconic species with which we share the planet. They were here before us. And (2) top predators have a very important place in the ecosystem.

Iconic species

Do we, humans, have a right to eradicate such a beautiful, iconic species from the planet with whom we are meant to share nature? I don't think we have the right to kill them off. We think we do but that's because of our arrogance. We have a duty to take care of the planet, its flora and fauna; nature. We are the guardians of the planet. It is our moral duty to protect the planet. We are failing in our duty in a very bad way. 

Humans are greedy. They are superstitious. Poaching of tigers to eat their body parts is based on superstition. It is ignorance. It is not supported by science. When you kill tigers for that reason it is highly immoral. That is one good reason why it should stop and why we should protect the tiger.

The tiger entertains our children. The tiger is iconic and it is adopted by many sporting teams. They name their teams after the tiger. So, for commercial reasons we should retain the tiger and not lead them down to extinction.

The tiger is beautiful. Their beauty earns them the right to live on this planet. And the only way that can be achieved is if humans protect them and save them from extinction. Their beauty alone is enough to demand that they are protected rather than exploited and persecuted.

Tigers are adored and respected across the planet by billions of people. Think what it would be like if they entirely disappeared. Or the only tigers remaining were is ghastly zoos in cages and on concrete floors.


Perhaps it is better to focus on the commercialisation of the tiger but not in a negative way but in a positive way. The negative commercialisation of the tiger is killing it and eating it but that leads to one conclusion: no more tigers. That business must stop one day if it remains on this path.

A positive version of commercialising the tiger is tourism. But this must be done very gently and respectfully. Too many tourists within tiger reserves in India, for example, damages the tiger because it affects their natural behaviour. But it is possible to commercialise the tiger and their reserves without putting them into zoos and that alone should be enough in combination with the other reasons to protect them and save them.

Top predator

When you remove the top predator the prey animals upon which they live are able to thrive and boom in population size. There is no longer a top predator to regulate their numbers. And therefore, the ecosystem is broken. The herbivores upon which the tiger depends put a great deal of pressure on the existing habitat i.e. the vegetation that they require for food. This will have a knock-on effect on other animals.

When a top predator is removed it has a knock-on effect throughout the ecosystem and it affects all levels in a food web (food chain). This is because at each level of a food chain the adjacent higher level affects the lower level. This is known as trophic cascade. It is a trickle-down effect upsetting the ecological balance. At the bottom is vegetation which as mentioned is dramatically affected.

And removal of a top predator affects the behaviour of the prey animals upon which it predates. This change in behaviour helps to protect the habitat. Top predators help to maintain biodiversity and a balance in an ecosystem.

And therefore, protecting tiger helps to protect nature in general. And if we protect nature in general humans protect themselves as we depend upon nature.

Indivisible and interdependent

There is a biodiversity crisis on the planet and it poses a threat to human survival. This biodiversity crisis is not just killing the plants and animals it is killing people as well. This is because nature is indivisible and interdependent. Nature provides us with all the things upon which we depend.

The arrogant human thinks that they can abuse and exploit nature but in doing that they are harming their chances of survival as a species of animal. Arguably humankind is heading towards an irreversible climate breakdown.

The global population of humans is poised to reach 8 billion in the next four months. And India is poised to overtake China as the most populous nation in 2023 according to the United Nations.

India is the home of the Bengal tiger. The Bengal tiger is being pushed off the planet by the rapid increase in human population in that country. Nothing will stop this happening. It is a foregone conclusion. Many will argue that the tiger's future is preordained because of the entrenched nature of human behaviour which is destructive to wildlife in general and that the tiger will become extinct in the wild whatever fancy arguments we use.

Human population

There is one glimmer of hope: two thirds of the world's population already live in a country where the reproduction rate has slipped beneath 2.1. This is the rate required to sustain the current human population level. And overall global population growth is at its slowest rate since 1950. Northern Europe is the place where population growth is slowing more dramatically. In Russia, a country which is difficult to live in because of Putin's management, they have quite a rapidly reducing human population.

People simply don't want to reproduce in Russia. It is the developing countries where you will see large families because they feel that the offspring will support the parents but this concept is entirely shunned in northern Europe. Protecting the tiger needs a rethink about economic growth and sustainability and above now a committed approach to global warming.

It has been said that if tigers are to continue to survive in the wild, future management strategies will have to devise methods under which humans can share the same space with them because there is less and less space and you can't just stuff tigers into a smaller and smaller space because they need hundreds of square kilometres for their home ranges. For example, adult male tigers in Chitwan, India, require territories up to 15 times larger than those of females and females require territories of around 20 km².

You can see the problem, can't you? Can you see humans sharing the same space as tigers? No, I can't. And what is happening in the Sundarbans which straddles India and Bangladesh tells us that it appears to be impractical because there are quite a high number of tiger attacks on humans in the Sundarbans. Although they have developed methods to protect themselves such as wearing masks on the back of their head to allow the tiger to believe that a human is facing them rather than turning away from them.


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