Monday, November 22, 2010

The Bengal Tiger

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The Bengal tiger is one of the most beautiful creatures on this earth and seeing it in person in the wild is an extraordinary experience. However the chances of future generations being able to see these majestic animals in the wild are rapidly dwindling as the human race drives them to extinction. According to the World Wildlife Fund, “A burgeoning human population and its own needs are pushing the tiger out of its natural habitat. Increasing human-tiger conflicts often lead to retributive killings. The tiger also faces a serious threat from poachers. In the past 100 years, wild tiger numbers have declined 95 percent. There may be as few as 3,200 wild tigers left in existence, the lowest number ever recorded.” Today world leaders are meeting in Russia for the first ever world summit to save the tigers. The black market for endangered species in Asia is over 30 billion dollars and the tiger is one of the most lucrative animals. The tiger is worth much more dead than alive as it is chopped up like a car and sold piece by piece for eastern medicinal practices. Tigers are also clashing with poor rural villages in India and the villagers are retaliating by slaughtering the tigers. With help from the WWF the villages can be successfully relocated to safer areas with new incentives like electricity and clean water for the benefit of both the villagers and the tigers.
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While in South Africa I worked with tigers and studied the controversial work being done there by ecologist John Varty. Because tiger breeding has been difficult in India because of poaching he has started work with tigers in Kroonstad, South Africa. To read more about his work and my time with the tigers in SA click here.
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To read more about how you can help the endangered tiger check out Save Tigers Now. You can also make a donation by clicking here. For any donation of $250 or over I will send you a signed 8x12 inch archival quality print of the picture of your choice (tiger or otherwise) that has appeared on this blog. Because today is the summit and I believe it is vital we show our support, for anyone who donated $1000 or more I will send a framed 20x30 inch print of the picture of your choosing. And because I believe every bit counts if you make a donation of $10 or more I will send you a 5x7 postcard print of the first photograph of this post signed with a thank you on the back from me. Just take a screenshot of your donation confirmation receipt and email it to me at Rebecca@rebeccayale.com along with the file name from flickr of the image you would like. Traveling the world for five-months learning about endangered species has made me feel very helpless as I look at all the problems facing us, but every solution starts with a first step so take yours with me and pledge to help the tiger today!

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