Tiger Populations on the Rise!

Let’s see those numbers, India!

Courtesy of The Hindu

Last week the new tiger census was released and wow, was it wonderful news! India has reported that it now has a Bengal tiger population of…..wait for it……

2,226 Bengal tigers!!!!  

This is up 30% from the census of 2011, reporting only 1,706 Bengal tigers.

Here is the article that has tiger fans and conservationists smiling:

2014 Tiger Census article

This is indeed excellent news. As a conservationist and tiger fan, it is sometimes difficult to digest the amount of poaching and destruction that our species has caused not only the tiger, but other animals as well. It can be hard to rally and maintain an optimistic view in the face of such disturbing acts but with the 30% increase in the Bengal population, this brings new hope to the complicated existence of the tiger. This shows that if people truly wish for the tiger to not go extinct in the wild, IT WILL NOT. We have the ability to save that which we have so gravely wronged and can not lose sight of that ability. I am feeling empowered by this new census and my wish is that the Indian forest officials, government, villagers and rangers continue to fight the good fight for the tiger. That they and we continue to protect this magnificent species, for we should not see the tigers burning light get extinguished.

Burn bright, sweet tiger, burn bright…Do not give up on us, for we have not given up on you.

Courtesy of WWF

White Bengal tiger = Controversial or Natural?

Photo by Gary Hamburgh

Photo by Gary Hamburgh

All my career I have heard and listened to both sides of the white Bengal tiger controversy. There is one thing that I feel everyone should know, and this is typically not revealed or shared on a lot of animal rights websites. Why, you may ask? Well, simply put, it is so people will donate to their cause. It is a marketing strategy and one that is used often.

So, here you go:

White tigers exist IN THE WILD. They are the result of a recessive gene, just as blue eyes and red hair are in human beings. They have existed in the wild for centuries, if not longer. They can camouflage just fine since most of their prey do not see in color. It is their stripes that help them blend into their environment. They occur naturally in nature. Otherwise, how would we have them in captivity?

Controversy?

Simply put, yes. The reason being is that when zoologists brought a WILD white Bengal tiger into captivity in the 1950’s, (his name was Mohan), we bred him back to his offspring so we could maintain the recessive gene in captivity. Yes, there was inbreeding 60 years ago BUT since then, zoologists have bred tigers back out, allowing the lineage to be so far removed from one another that it is difficult to prove genetic relationship. With that said, there are other people out there who breed only for monetary gain. These practices can lead to unethical breedings and inbreeding, which can cause deformities in the tigers. I am whole-heartedly against unethical and irresponsible breeding practices of any kind. With that said, there are also many people who do ethical and responsible breeding of white tigers. Use your own judgement to decipher the good from the bad out there. But please, know that not ALL zoos have inbred white tigers and white tigers should not be seen as useless or generic. It is not the tigers fault that there are people out there who do unethical breeding. White tigers are important and serve as Ambassadors for their wild relatives, invoking thoughts of beauty and hope in those who engage and interact with them.

Scientific results on the white tiger 

This is a great article published last year about the white tiger gene. Lots of incredible science and hard work done for these results.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/save-the-white-tigers/

Where do we go from here?

Well, now you know that white Bengal tigers are naturally occurring in the wild. We have not seen a white tiger in the wild for decades, most likely due to the intense poaching of tigers. The white tiger is NOT a separate species, it is simply a recessive gene of the Bengal tiger subspecies. I hope you take this information and share it with others who may not know as much as you know now about white tigers. Keep an open mind when visiting zoos that have white tigers and use YOUR judgement on if these tigers should be classified as “useless” or if we should let them die off and no longer have this color represented in captivity. It is, after all, simply a difference in fur color. Similar to human beings with red hair or blonde hair. That is the reality of it.

As always, if you would like to discuss the white tiger gene further or any tiger information, please feel free to email me at Robyn@Talesofthetiger.com.

Thank you for supporting and saving the tiger! Save the tiger, save the world! 

 

WILD release in Russia!

This video is of a young female Amur (aka Siberian) tiger who was found in the wild, rehabed then released back into the wild. Her mother was most likely poached :(

The great news is that this female is back in the wild and is healthy.

The video gave me chills as I watched this amazing female launch back into the woods and race toward cover. Her life has already been a difficult one, and for tigers, it will not be easy until we can give them the protection they need and deserve.

Remember, you can do something to help the tigers. Just talk about them and you are helping! :) 

Slo-mo Taj!!

Happy video post!! This video was taken years ago but is still a lot of fun to watch. It features Taj, a golden Bengal tiger, enjoying a toy and some bamboo enrichment. Almos, a white Bengal tiger, also makes a few appearances in the video.

Special shout out to RockFowl Studios for creating such a wonderful piece to watch! 

Hope it puts a smile on your face like it does mine.

I’m back from playing :)

Sorry for the lack of posts and cricket noises of late. I have been crazy busy getting my zoo and wildlife consulting work organized. My sincere apologies for being quiet for so long…..

But now, I am back!

Let us commence with what is new in the world of wild tigers. ROAR!

I recently came across a few interesting articles regarding tigers and their status in the wild.
The one below is a great account of all tiger subspecies and their populations, but also how important it is for India to protect the Bengal tiger.

http://www.mydigitalfc.com/leisure-writing/why-tiger-conservation-necessary-752

Another great piece, although disheartening, comes from the Take Part Post regarding the Malayan tiger subspecies. Unfortunately, their numbers in the wild are much lower than previously thought. You want to know why??? POACHERS! Yes, it is a difficult battle, but as Dr. John Goodrich of Panthera.org states “It’s going to take a lot of work to get a handle on this problem.” You can read the full article here:

http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/09/19/poachers-have-taken-deadly-toll-malaysias-tigers

Here is another article on the critical state of the Malayan tiger:

http://www.therakyatpost.com/news/2014/09/15/malayan-tigers-face-bleak-future/

And here is a picture of the beautiful Malayan tiger subspecies:

Malayan_Tigeress_Walking_In_The_Forest_600

This just in…..

An Amur tiger released into the wild by Vladimir Putin has traveled from Russia into China. Putin has asked China to protect the tiger and they have responded by saying they are tracking the tiger and will do what they can to prevent it from being poached. They are also placing cattle in the preserve that the tiger is now occupying, to make sure it has plenty of food resources. I guess it is good to be Putin’s tiger :) I hope this tiger makes it. Living in a country that is wrought with poachers and heavily maintains the belief in Traditional Asian Medicinal practices makes this situation dicey, at best.

http://news.sky.com/story/1350225/putins-rare-tiger-in-danger-after-defecting

Remember to not lose hope. As long as people want tigers to exist in the wild, they will :)

Sleep well, beasties, and until next time…..