Sad fact: Most of the 100+ tigers lost in 2009, were poached under mysterious circumstances. We need more than statements from the two nations to save this endangered beauty.
Sixty years ago, the tiger count was more than 11,000 in the Indian subcontinent. This has dropped to 1,000 as we enter the year of the tiger. Since the last "tiger year" was celebrated in 1998, the wildcat's population has halved. We need to collectively turn around and eliminate this half life period of the Bengal tiger. Folks in India, South Korea, North Korea, Japan, China and all over the Asian continent, are after the carnivore for religious/superstitious reasons. From its skin, nostrils, penis to the bones, this beautiful beast is mercilessly cornered and killed. Chinese medicine made out of tiger skin does not help the situation either. The Chinese government has long denied direct or indirect links to tiger poaching in India. Their plan to legalize poaching is no answer to protect India's national animal. Wild tigers struggle immensely from rapidly shrinking habitat and food sources. Humans have hunted the tiger's primary prey, such as deer and wild pigs, almost to extinction. Lifting China's ban on the tiger part trade and legalizing it would only increase the threat from profit-driven poachers by placing an irresistible bounty on the head of wild tigers.
Global weather pattern changes and rising sea levels have a direct effect on the decline of the tiger population whether Siberian, Royal Bengal or otherwise. Malaysia has an ambitious goal to double its population of wild tigers to 1,000. Wonder why China, India cannot follow suit. India's tiger economy may survive the financial and socio-political crisis. The question that we need to answer is can India save the tiger.
At times like these, the superstitious may believe ~Vyagrho rakshati rakshitaha~ to turn around this shameless act of modern day man.
"Vyaghra rakshati rakshitaha" translates to "Saving the tiger will save you in return". Wonder what the right words in Cantonese or Mandorin are? For now, I'd say "Gong Xi Fa Cai!" May the Year of the White Tiger be prosperous and lucky for you, your family and the Tiger.