OVER the past five decades Siberian tigers have turned out to be less fortunate in that they were hunted illegally on a massive scale; faced forest degradation, and increased poaching. These illegal activities brought the majestic species almost closer to extinction. But thanks to the conservation societies that have managed to render tigers on the rebound in the Russian Far East although the population still hangs by the thread. We will be discussing as to why are Siberian tigers endangered in their native habitat.
Why are Siberian Tigers Endangered? – Top Four Reasons for Endangerment
Illegal Poaching, Hunting and Logging
Amur tigers had once roamed all over the Korean Peninsula however, Japanese hunted large numbers of tigers during the Japanese occupation. The last Amur tiger was reported to have been killed in 1922 in South Korea. As of now, scientists haven’t witnessed any tiger’s sightings in Korea albeit they installed heat sensing cameras but sadly no tiger showed up.
Poaching (illegal and legal both) has also threatened Siberian tiger population. The most recent and probably the worst poaching year was 2006 – 2007 one that is marked by scientists as heavy poaching. The poachers haven’t spared tiger’s prey either.
According to American scientist Dale Miquelle ‘Mothers are more likely to be susceptible to poaching than other tigers for they’ll try to stand their ground—a mother doesn’t want to abandon her cubs, and she might not have time to get them together to escape. So she ends up getting shot.”
Habitat Degradation and Mining
Habitat loss is turning out to be the global issue for nearly all wild animals. Siberian tigers aren’t exception to this. Logging has rendered amur tigers critically endangered in its native habitat. Building of new roads, mining, gas and oil pipelines, and new rail lines have further worsened the overall scenario. Tigers that were living deep in the forest are now forced to reside near roadways. It has brought them rather closer to humans. The tiger-human interaction isn’t desirable for either of them.
Native people inhabiting near forests are involved in cutting down woods which they sell in the market to gain profits. Most furniture is built of tree wood but the problem is that humans cut trees more than they allowed to.
Lack of Tiger’s Prey
The primary diet of amur tiger consists of deer and rabbits. However, in the past couple of decades humans have hunted European rabbits so much so that tigers can barely eat one. The population of rabbits and deer is declining. The lack of food is adversely affecting the overall health of the tiger. The lesser it eats, the shorter it lives.
Canine Distemper Disease
Canine Distemper (CDV) was first discovered in the year 2001 when scientists observed some Russian tigers getting weak, underweight and were not able to hunt in a way they should. They were demonstrating some real signs of distress. It had led scientists to believe that tigers were suffering from a life-threatening viral disease.