As climate change continues to warm the planet, tigers are feeling the heat. As we see ocean levels rise, tigers are losing habitat due to costal erosion in areas like India’s Sundarban islands. As rising sea levels claim more habitat and sea water moves up river, naturally fresh water is becoming more saline, or more highly concentrated with salt. These factors are forcing the tigers to move northward towards areas more heavily populated by humans and increasing the likelihood of animal/human conflicts.
Tigers are also facing many other threats. They are illegally killed or poached because their pelts are valuable in the black market trade, their body parts are used in traditional Asian medicines and they are seen as threats to human communities. There is also large scale habitat loss due to human population growth and expansion. Human encroachment into tiger habitat also decreases prey animals.
Reasons for Hope
Despite losing around 93% of their historical habitat and dwindling numbers, a recent study shows that tigers in the India sub-continent retain much of their genetic viability. These genes are critically important to the recovery and survival of tigers and this is giving the Indian government even more incentive to preserve this magnificent animal.