- Being the national animal of India and also one of the species that is near extinct worldwide, tiger are also depicted elaborately in Chinese zodiac sign and Buddhist viewpoints. Tigers are enshrined and venerated throughout the world often with awe. They are iconic representation of power and strength, and also a protector of people and nature, a stark combination of natural imbalance fairly at its feet for ground of coordinated existence of our ecosystem.
The four powerful animals, the tiger, snow lion, mythical eagle and thunder dragon are believed to embody the mind, strength, wisdom and voice of great renown. These quartets also recognized as ta-sing-chung-druk, which are significantly, noticeable on the walls of traditional houses, dzongs, lhakhang and schools, symbolizing four qualities of compassionate spiritual heroes. Perhaps the tiger symbolizes the dignity that derives from meekness: although it can be ferocious the big cat makes its way through the jungle with quiet confidence and unlimited potential energy.
According to the legend related to Taktsang, one of the most holy sites in Bhutan, which literally means “tiger’s lair” or “tiger’s nest”, it is believed that Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) flew to this location, from Tibet on the back of a tiger from Khenpajong, in the 8th century. He then meditated for three months where the monastery was constructed later. The cave is said to be the origin of Buddhism in Bhutan.
Since then, the tradition of Buddhist respect for life and that all things are connected, that all life is to be revered, the Bhutanese people have not hunted wildlife. So today Bhutan’s forest shelter most of the endangered species from most of the Himalayas. Their presence here shows the abundant well being of Bhutan’s environment.
The account of the tiger conservation remains one of the big concerns throughout the world today. In the view of speedy development of the world, providing adequate protection to the wild life, biodiversity is an immense challenge to all of us. With the rise in threat to disappearing tiger many countries in the world have been putting effort to safeguard it from extinction. Of the nine subspecies of modern tiger, three are extinct and remaining six are classified as endangered. While all surviving species are under formal protection, poaching, habitat destruction and fragmentation continue to threaten the species. In the past, the tiger range was spread in Asia, but today’s tiger range is only 7% of what it used to be.
Habitat loss and fragmentation occurs when land is modified for agriculture purposes and land conversion for grazing domestic animals. On the other hand, rapidly growing human population has reduced the number of viable tiger habitats. Prime tiger habitats such as forest and grassland are being converted for agriculture. The adaptation of the land for agriculture purposes create open land, on which may isolate tiger population from one another. In addition to the reduced genetic variability, fragmentation also leads to more aggressive encounter between tigers due to the increased competition for resources and mates.
Poaching is the illegal killing of an animal. Tiger are poached for two main reasons, their threat or perceived threat to wild life and people, and monetary gain. Historically they are poached for fur. Tigers may prey upon agriculture animals and have illegally shot at. However tigers are poached for their bones and other body parts which are in great demand for trade.
The loss of biodiversity at global, regional, and national level contributes to concern threat. The most important direct driver of forest biodiversity loss continues to be agricultural expansion, forest fragmentation, pollution, and climate change while the most important underlying drivers are population growth.
To conserve wild species that are globally threatened, we need to put our effort together and help the world to identify emerging threats and identify strategies like launching projects basically designed to save tiger habitat, regulating the international trades of tiger, and their parts and international union for conserving the tiger. In addition, educating local people on the need and benefits of conservation are important steps in saving tiger and their habitat. Besides that, research on the tiger in the wild and captivity enables regulatory to make informed, rational decision regarding species conservation and management.
The tigers are important biologically to maintain the overall health of an ecosystem. As a top predator of food chain, tiger helps keep prey population in check. Tiger also have cultural importance. They symbolize beauty and power.
So, the loss of this symbolic cat could lead to a decline of support in maintaining their ecosystem and consequently all other plant and animals species that share it. In order to conserve and bring back the tiger from the brink of extinction, we need a commitment to save tiger, environmental conservation, protect tiger zone and reduce the current rate of biodiversity loss and most outstandingly various endowment, be given strong political supports and strong conservation ethic.
Paro College of Education