As one might expect, the tiger, like the whale, elephant, rhino, and many other magnificent animals are threatened to the point of extinction. Experts at the World Wildlife Fund and Global Tiger Initiative say that three of the nine tiger subspecies have become extinct in the past 70 years, and that the six other subspecies will likely disappear in about twelve years unless significant efforts are made to preserve the species. These experts say that only 3200 tigers remain in the wild, down from about 100,000 a century ago.
|Tigers face Extinction|
Leonardo DiCaprio attended the Tiger Summit in St. Petersberg and used his star power to attract attention and money to the plight of the tiger. DiCaprio also donated $1 million to the cause; a man who puts his money where his mouth is. Leo, I was never a really big fan because I just didn’t see you as the leading man type for the movie that made you famous: Titanic. Honestly, I thought of you as another over-hyped media moron, not unlike a few blonde bimbos that still manage to garner way more press than they deserve. You are a man now, and you have my respect. Today I became a really big fan. Good work. Well done. And thank you.
|DiCaprio and Putin|
James Leape, director general of the World Wildlife Fund, told the Tiger Summit in St. Petersburg, hosted by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, that if the proper protective measures aren't taken, tigers may disappear by 2022, the next Chinese calendar year of the tiger.
He believes that saving tigers has implications beyond the emotional and spiritual appeal of preserving a majestic animal, as you must find a way to make it work for the local communities that must be partners in tiger conservation and profit from it. I mean really, would you want a tiger in your backyard if your home backed up to the national forest?
"To save tigers,” Leape said, “you need to save the forests, grasslands and lots of other species". "At the same time you are also conserving the foundations of the societies who live there. Their economy depends very much on the food, water and materials they get from those forests."
Russia and China agreed to create a protected area for tigers alongside their border and pool resources to combat poaching as tiger parts are highly desired in Chinese herbal medicine and a tiger pelt will sell for as much as $16,000.
The Tiger Summit set the goal of doubling the world's tiger population in the wild by 2022. The goal was backed by the 13 governments of the countries that still have tiger populations: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam and Russia.
Not everyone can step up and contribute $1 million like Leonardo DiCaprio: a man to be emulated. But we can all hope, pray, and contribute, even in a small way, and together, make a big difference. Make a donation to the World Wildlife Fund. www.wwf.org/