International Tiger Day
July 29, 2019
Today is International Tiger Day! Today is a day we focus on the plight of tigers around the world. To celebrate this important day, Turpentine Creek asked our supporters to help us crown the Tiger King and Queen of the Refuge! Our supporters have voted and we are happy to announce that this year’s Tiger King is Snowball and Tiger Queen is Khaleesi! Thank you to everyone who voted! Thanks to your support we raised $4,233 for our new well!
What is International Tiger Day?
International Tiger Day is a special day dedicated to celebrating the world’s largest cat species, and to raises awareness about their struggles in the wild. 47 tigers currently live at Turpentine Creek in their forever home, away from entertainment facilities and private ownership. Unfortunately, there are still around 7,000 more privately-owned tigers across the United States. We are constantly fighting at TCWR to ban private ownership and stop abuse and neglect of these magnificent creatures. Not only are they heavily exploited in captivity, but their wild counterparts are fighting for survival across Asia, with only 3,800 left in the wild.
As an apex predator, tigers have evolved to use their keen senses to catch their prey. Sight and sound are two of the most important senses for hunting. Tigers are not able to see different colors as vividly as people, but they can detect the slightest twitch of an ear or tail from their prey. They are ambush predators, quietly sneaking as close as possible to their prey without making a single sound. They do not chase their prey, rather they pounce with full force, grasping their catch with their claws and biting it in the neck for a fatal attack. They are only successful 20-30% of the time they try and hunt.
Tigers use their sense of smell to communicate with one another and protect their vast territory. They use scent glands all over their bodies, rubbing against or scratching trees to claim their domain, and are constantly spraying urine everywhere in their home. If they smell anything different than their scent they know what competition has been in their area, whether a potential mate or a rival.
In the 1900’s there were over 100,000 tigers in Asia, inhabiting a large natural range throughout the wild. As the human population grows and agriculture expands, they have already lost 93% of their natural habitat and their numbers have decreased to 3,800. Palm oil production is a major contributor to habitat loss for the Sumatran tigers. Losing this amount of area pushes them closer and closer to people leaving them little space to find the necessary space and food for survival, and causes human-wildlife conflict.
Tigers are sought after for their parts as many cultures believe they hold medicinal properties. Poachers kill tigers for their body parts and to sell their furs, and use their bones for a popular tiger bone wine drink in Asian medicine. They are worth more dead than they are alive. Instead of being able to roam freely, they are kept in tiger farms to supply the demand of trade. All 5 subspecies of tigers are endangered, with about 10 years left before they go extinct if we do not protect them.
With more tigers living in private ownership in the U.S. than in the wild, it is time to take action! This Tiger Day, let your state representative know you are supporting the Big Cat Public Safety Act, aiming to prohibit the private ownership of big cats and ask them to support it as well. You can also support conservationist efforts across the world that are attempting to save tiger habitats but also patrolling the habitat for traps poachers have set up. You can be the voice for the tigers who are lost every day!
For more information on ways to help wild tigers visit:
- The Corbett Foundation (tiger wells)
- Bhutan Foundation (tiger collars, anti-poaching)
- David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (rangers)
- Freeland Foundation (anti-poaching, trade)
- Satpuda Landscape Tiger Programme (anti-snare)
- The Thin Green Line Foundation (rangers)
- Wildlife Trust of India (anti-snare)
- PRNCO Tiger Center in Russia