Despite the fact that the population numbers of tigers continue to dwindle at an alarming rate, the illegal hunting of these creatures persists. In just one century, the numbers of tigers have been depleted exponentially; from hundreds of thousands, to scarcely 2 500 specimens earth wide.
There are only six remaining subspecies of the previous nine, all of which are protected as endangered species. These are 1) The South China Tiger, 2) The Siberian Tiger, 3) The Sumatran Tiger, 4) The Bengal Tiger, 5) The Malayan Tiger and 6) The Indochinese Tiger.
Tigers are hunted for several reasons. These include:
In many rural areas in which villages have been established within the natural habitat of the tiger, these animals are considered to be man-eating dangers to the human population. In fact, some people have died as a result of tiger attacks. Due to these rare occurrences, the locals often deem it necessary to kill any tiger in the area.
Certain parts of the Chinese culture maintain that body parts of the tiger are medicinally beneficial. In addition, those who buy medicines with tiger parts in them almost all prefer the goods cultivated from wild tigers as opposed to farmed animals. This is an enormous part of the reason that tigers today face the threat of extinction. These medicines are being exported and used all over the world, regardless of the imminent extinction of the cats.
Tigers are elusive, private creatures that conceal themselves within dense foliage or tall grasses. They are also particularly large and powerful. This combination makes them a coveted trophy for hunters. Their hides are used as testimony to their slaughter, and illegal hunters are paid handsomely for tiger products. Having a tiger skin lends these heartless hunters a sense of prestige and courage amongst their peers.
In times past, tigers were hunted on foot, on horseback or even from the elevated safety of an elephant back.
Today, hunters use the following methods, many of them extremely painful or traumatic to the animal, to hunt tigers:
Baiting hunters will search for an animal that has already been killed by a tiger, knowing that the tiger will return to it for another meal. The hunter must wait in the safety of a tree or another secluded spot until the tigers return. Some Chinese hunters would put a small bomb in the carcass, which would then explode once inside the tigers digestive tract.
Hunquah this methodology involves setting fire to the grass around a jungle in which tigers live. They could then corner the tiger within a much smaller area and catch it easily.
Hunting has led the tigers to enter territories that are not necessarily natural to them. There may be a distinct shortage of their natural prey or a lack of space in such areas. This further threatens their numbers and their future existence on our planet.