I came across an article on World Wildlife Fund’s website talking about how their population has increased worldwide. They have gone from an estimated 3,200 in 2010 to 3,890 in 2016. However, WWF fears that linear infrastructure will threaten this progress. This is how they explain why it will soon become a problem for the tigers and other wildlife:
“The development of linear infrastructure—which includes roads, gas pipelines, railways, power and transmission lines and canals—is on the rise in Asia and often fragments wildlife habitats, which could be the biggest threat to low-density species such as tigers. As a result, tigers are unable to breed, hunt, find cover, and establish their own territories. Fragmented areas become too small to sustain minimum tiger populations. These fragmented tiger habitats also increase human-tiger conflict from poaching and vehicle collisions and make it difficult to ensure genetically diverse tiger populations. It is estimated that tiger range countries will need to spend approximately $8 trillion on infrastructure between 2012 and 2020 to meet the demand of its growing human populations. Almost 7,000 miles of roads and railways are already planned for construction through tiger landscapes” (WWF).
We as humans tend to act like we own the whole world, doing whatever we want, but animals have a place here on Earth too. This is, of course, not the first time things such roads for transportation have caused issues. You can take a look at Australia for instance, where they’ve had to accommodate for many species by creating specially built bridges so they can cross roads safely. I found a interesting post on Daily Mail talking about this, showing one example of a bridge on Christmas Island made for millions of red crabs so they can reach near the Pacific Ocean to breed.
So why are bengal tigers important to protect? The first thing we think about is how they have a large part in the natural food chain since tigers are big predators, but there is more than that we have to keep in mind.
“Maintaining tiger landscapes is important to sustaining healthy tiger populations but also vital to the millions of people who rely on these areas for economic purposes like tourism, as well as environmental benefits through water management, protection from natural hazards, sediment and nutrient retention, agriculture, and carbon sequestration. Tigers also hold important cultural value among indigenous people that co-exist with them, signifying strength and power” (WWF).
There was a sad story reported on by National Geographic yesterday about how a bengal tiger was seemingly killed by large machinery in India and the case is currently under investigation. It is causing a lot of outrage online, as it should considering how most of them live in India as one of their native habitats. “Nearly 70 percent of tigers in the wild can be find in India alone” (National Geographic). We’ve taken a lot of land that was once theirs, so conflict is bound to happen sadly unless something is done about it.
This is all I’ve been able to find about bengal tigers as of today. Thank you for reading and be sure to like and share this post. Also, check out my update on giant pandas by clicking here. Have a nice day!