How much is a tiger’s life worth…to you?

There are only 3200 tigers left in the wild today. 3200 and counting down. You may think that this is a lot, but what if I told you that there has been a 97% decline in tigers in the last 100 years? Today they can only be found in 13 countries in Asia. But who cares about the tigers?

Answer: A lot of people.

Vladimir Putin and Leonardo DiCaprio

As a result of this devastating decline the first ever tiger summit The International Tiger Forum was held by Vladimir Putin and World Bank chief this week in St Petersburg, in an effort to secure the future of the tigers. It was the highest level of political meeting ever to discuss one single species in the world. Amongst the people attending you could find Leonardo DiCaprio, who has pledged $1m to help save them.

On the agenda was a campaign to double the numbers of tigers in the wild by 2022 and to secure £220m for tiger conservation.

But this isn’t only about saving one species. As James Adams, the vice president of the World Bank says: “The loss of a species at the top of the food chain endangers all the creatures below.

“Past failures have proven that piecemeal approaches don’t work. Action must be comprehensive.”

At the end of the four-day summit the leaders were expected to adopt a global tiger recovery programme. The program includes, amongst other things, doubling the number of tigers by 2022, increasing public awareness and most importantly cracking down on the illegal hunting and smuggling of tigers.

This bears to be repeated: The illegal hunting, killing and smuggling of tigers.

In a report published by Traffic and WWF not so long ago, it was revealed that Burma’s border markets especially are every tigers worst nightmare. They play a vital role in the distribution of whole tiger skins, bones, penis, paws, teeth and more. The market owners can earn anything between $25,000 and $50,000 for only the carcass, penis and bones.

It is safe to say that there is a lot of money to be made in the illegal tiger business.

But at what cost? Scientists have predicted that if we continue at this rate the tiger could be extinct in 2022.

All of this makes me wonder why the world waited so long to react. Why do people not react as much when it comes to animals?

I can’t help but think that we would never allow the human figures to decrease in such rapid speed and to such a low number. I know a lot of people at this moment are thinking ‘Oh but you can’t compare an animal to a human!’ and my respond to you are why not? What makes YOU possibly more worth than a tiger held in a cage, getting killed and having its body parts sold?

I think it’s important to ask ourselves these questions.

Anyone that knows me knows that I love animals and most people think it’s just me thinking animals are cute. But it’s not all about YouTube clips of cute puppies falling asleep, or the fact that I constantly go on about my adopted little darling panda Zhu Xiong (she’s the cutest little thing my bamboo eater!).

It’s the fact I do not make a difference in what a life is worth, it being an animals or mine. We both live, we both breathe, we both feel pain. We are both alive.

The difference is that I am considered more “valuable” in our society because I happen to be born a human.

The difference is that I have a voice. It is harder to throw me into a cage and put a price on my life and freedom. But who will be the voice of the tigers?

And the real question is: How much is a tiger’s life worth… to you?

To me it is priceless.

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One Comment

  1. Good article Naz! 🙂 Agreed… we as humans are all part of the same ecosystem and when we don’t take care of it, everything and everyone suffers, and things go out of whack… like snow in November.

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