"If nature has made anything more beautiful than a tiger then I do not know what it might be."
- There are as few as 3,500 tigers left in the wild, we have to act now or this iconic animal could be extinct in less than 20 years.
- As apex predators, tigers shape the ecosystems in which they live.
- They prevent over-grazing by limiting herbivore numbers and maintain ecological integrity.
- Tigers are solitary and have large home ranges making them excellent ‘umbrella’ species providing space for a variety of other species to flourish.
- In India, more than 350 rivers originate from tiger reserves. These reserves also sequester carbon, provide oxygen and slowly release ground water to regulate floods. Protecting the tiger will in turn protect these vital habitats.
- Protecting existing tiger habitats and the reforestation of degraded habitat may help buffer the poorest communities in Asia against the impacts of river siltation and flooding, while providing global benefits.
- Saving the tiger will help communities and local populations benefit from habitat resources and tourism.
- Man is solely responsible for the slaughter of the tiger. In the natural world the tiger's only predator is man. It is our collective responsibility to stop the killing and save the tiger in the wild.
In the 2017 analysis, carried out by an Indo-Australian team of scientists titled ‘Making the hidden visible: Economic valuation of tiger reserves in India’ was published in the journal Ecosystem Services. The scientists looked at six tiger reserves and estimated that conserving them was equivalent of keeping a secure capital of USD 230 billion which they call ‘stock benefits’ of these tiger reserves.
In subsequent analysis by D. Balasubramanian writing in The Hindu the following reasons for the importance of tiger reserves were listed:
- employment generation
- agriculture (incidentally the famous IR-8 rice was discovered from the wild rice plants found in one such reserve)
- fuel wood
- fodder and grazing
- pollination of plants
- kendu leaves (one of the most important non-wood forest products)
- carbon storage and sequestration (vital for climate protection against global warming)
- water and its purification by filtering organic wastes
- soil conservation
- nutrient cycling
- moderation of extreme events such as cyclone storms, flash floods
Add to these cultural ones like tourism, education, research and development, and spiritual ones (like visiting temples within some of them).