The Extinction of Sumatran Tigers in Asia – by Yoshie Samosir Tigers are the largest cat species with sharp claws and teeth. They are excellent swimmers and climbers. The ones that live in colder regions are paler, larger, thicker fur. Though for those who live in warmer climates are smaller and more colourful. But both are targeted for illegal poaching of body parts. Good day fellow classmates, allow me to share what I know and have learnt about Sumatran tigers. This is where you live. You have everything that you ever needed and it’s as peaceful as you want it to be. Ssssssshhhhhh, it’s this quite. But then, you hear footsteps.
They’re like normal footsteps but these ones make you sweat and heart beat run away. Next thing you know, you felt something sharp stabbed your back and you see your own blood dripping a painful drip. Drip drip drip. The End. That ladies and gentlemen, is the story of your life if you were a Sumatran tiger. Extinction is the process of coming to an end. Sumatran tigers are classified as ‘survivors’. Although they are critically endangered; they are the only sub specie surviving. Other species like the Caspian, Balinese, Javan tigers are now considered extinct. In the wild their live capacity can vary from 10-15 years, and 20 years captivity.
Right at this moment there are approximately 400 tigers in the wild. The tigers live exclusively in the island of Sumatra, Indonesia; just like its’ name suggests. They can be found in hot jungles and sometimes in icy cold forests. Since WWII, Sumatra had undergone plenty of agricultural development, causing a major loss to the tigers’ habitat. As I mentioned before, ALL Sumatran tigers are at risk. The numbers of tigers alive are decreasing at a fair speed. They are targeted by not only by humans, but by buffaloes, elephants, bears and many more. However, the main reason they are endangered is because they are threatened by illegal hunters, poachers and illegal loggers. Poachers hunt tigers for their skin and fur for clothing, and bones for medicine. Paper companies also cut down trees illegally and by doing this; 1.2 million acres of tiger habitat has been cut down since 1998.
If one day the last member of the Sumatran tiger dies out, there are plenty of impacts it could affect on the ecosystem. It mainly affects the food chain. If the tigers are no longer with us, the population of deer, wild pig, antelope and gaur will increase. Then the plants will be eaten at a very quick speed and without any plants, smaller animals and insects wouldn’t survive. The insects then will move to crops in farmlands for food. If this is the case, vital food sources are lost and will impact on the human population. Other consequences are listed in the table right here. Negative impacts for human welfare and economic development is an example. Asian communities depend on clean water, clean air, flood controls and forest resources. Without the protection from tigers, ecological services are at risk. Another example is that another specie may be threatened.
For example, the Bali & Javan tigers are extinct, and poachers had turned attention to Sumatran tigers. Lastly the climate can also be a consequence. If the tigers are gone, forests are not protected from illegal loggers. The more trees that are chopped down, the greater carbon dioxide emissions and the climate will change, creating much more serious damage to this world. This is a picture of the Sumatran tiger skin that investigators found at a dealer in the Sumatran town, Kerinci. Tigers are usually fooled with a snare like this one, using wire and rods. For those of you out there who is dying to let me finish this presentation and get off your seats and help save tigers, good news, there is still hope. Yes, that’s right; the tigers can still have a happy ever after.
One way could be to stop illegal logging and poaching. Here is a little picture of a tiger that was injured by illegal poachers and later then kept in a Sumatran zoo. There are also companies around the globe who are working hard on saving tigers. WWF is an example. Their goal is to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2020 – which coincidentally is the Chinese Year of the Tiger. Global Tiger Forum of Range States is another hero to the rescue. They are a combination of representatives from 14 remaining tiger range countries to develop strategies to save tigers since 1993. They hire officers and park guards to protect tigers from illegal hunters. They also build an on-the-ground protection to protect tigers from poachers. Everyone should hear my opinion right now.
The tigers are critically endangered. And by endangered, you know what I mean; my kids and grandchildren won’t even know they existed. Sitting in this air conditioned room, I can’t even imagine what these magnificent animals are facing. It is tough to imagine that today these animals are poisoned, trapped, shot and killed for monetary gains. Miserable or not, why should they have to die. Sometimes, I like to substitute human beings in the statistics and imagine how it would feel if there were just 400 of them left. In my opinion, it is high time that all these animals are collected and clubbed together in a high security facility, away from human beings. There is no need to keep them in zoos and sanctuaries. They will be better off away from human sight. It’s high time that some extreme steps are taken and these animals are protected and bred to increase their numbers.
People need to come together and fight for this species. Normally, we are concerned but we shrug off saying, wildlife activists will take care of that. But what we don’t understand is that this animal now needs the help of each and every human being. We as the co-earthlings of this animal, we need to start a revolution so that this king of the jungle roams around freely and once again has no predators. It’s time that we start talking and doing something about this. Write about it, donate to the organizations working for this animal, make groups and promote a campaign in support of these animals and most importantly, volunteer to save tigers from extinction. The organizations need dedicated hands. Tigers need us!