Stop Hunting Bengal Tigers

Stop Hunting Bengal Tigers

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Steven Lam started this petition to Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi

The Bengal tiger population is in decline and they have been “endangered” over the last few decades. According to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, a worldwide organization focused on protecting life on the planet, approximately 2,500 Bengal tigers are left in the wild. With the population of tigers low, their ecosystem is at risk of losing its top predator. Human interactions, either directly or indirectly, interfere with the lives of the tigers, depleting their numbers in the wild. We need to cease actions contributing to this decline which include poaching, hunting of other animals, and industrialization. A solution to this is that the Prime Minister and Union Council of Ministers can employ enforcers to inspect pharmacies for tiger remnants. Rangers and scouts can also be employed and set on regular patrol throughout the jungle and other known tiger habitats to prevent suspicious persons from committing heinous acts.

            The foremost reason of Bengal tiger endangerment is the illegal killing of the species. These killings extend from poaching to people attempting to protect themselves or their livestock. Over centuries, tigers have been seen as a dangerous animal, top of its food chain and a fearsome creature. This makes them prized targets for hunters who kill for sport to make a name for themselves. In Ecology and Conservation of the Bengal Tiger in the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest of Bangladesh, Dr. Mohammad Monirul Hasan Khan, a researcher at Center for Development Research in University of Bonn Germany, states “By the middle of the 20th century, many wild creatures in China, including the tiger, had been declared pests. Hunters were encouraged to kill tigers and were paid a bounty for each one.” As previously mentioned, hunters were allowed to slaughter tigers uncontested which led to the decline of the tiger population. However, the darker side to this is the tiger’s place within the black market. There are many people who place high prices for a tiger pelt. They see the acquisition of such material as a measure of prestige and do not honor the loss of a life. Sometimes pelts are acquired inhumanely, skinning and leaving the tiger to rot. Tiger parts also have a place in traditional Chinese medicine. In a NatGeo article, writer Sharon Guynup shares that “Nearly every part of this car, from nose to tail, has been used to treat a lengthy list of maladies.” To practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, tiger body parts are used to treat ailments, diseases, and improve human qualities. However, the use of these materials is impractical and scarce. Rather than relying on a sparse resource, people in need of remedies could look into western medicine over traditional eastern medicine.

Tigers have also been shot down by farmers in order to protect their property and livestock. With human settlement pushing deeper into the wild, the appearance of tigers has increased, causing people to be more wary. Farmers have resorted to shooting tigers when they stray close to crops and livestock. Contrary to the fears of farmers, John R. Platt, an award-winning environmental journalist, states that

Livestock also fared well, but in a different way. The domesticated animals raised by pastoralists in Bhutan tend to range relatively unattended and often graze in the forest surrounding villages. Tigers prey on livestock in the forests, but there aren’t that many tigers left in the area ... As a result, total livestock losses go down when tigers are on the landscape.

Platt exhibits how the appearance of wild tigers in actuality reduce the number of livestock losses. The presence of Bengal tigers force other would be predators from their territory, reducing the casualties suffered by livestock. Bengal tigers also prey upon herbivores in the area, protecting a farmer’s crops from pests. Farmers cultivating crops should be aware of this and allow the tigers to roam as they do not necessarily mean any harm. For farmers tending livestock, fencing may be difficult around forested areas. However, smaller scale barriers of wire can deter tigers.

            Reduction in potential prey has also contributed to the decline of the Bengal tiger population. Dr. Khan suggests that “abundance of tigers and other similar predators are largely mediated by densities of different-sized ungulate prey …  the decline of the large ungulates, which finally leads to the decline of the tiger population.” The statement depicts how the decrease in a species’ population produces a chain reaction affecting other species in the environment. As animals, such as the spotted deer, are over-hunted or poached, the food supply of tigers depletes, resulting in more competition and starvation. This can also lead tigers to move closer to human populations in their search for food, in turn causing potential harm to both parties. This consequence can be avoided by placing a restraint on hunters, reducing the number of animals allowed to be hunted during open season.

            Human industrialization also poses a threat to the Bengal tiger population. As a society continues to develop, more land is needed to supply housing, used as farmland to cultivate produce, or to be stripped for lumber. In order to achieve this, people attempt to stretch further out into the wild, destroying the surrounding wildlife’s habitat and displacing animals. Without a steady food source or suitable land to call their territory, tigers may begin to traverse into another’s domain, increasing competition and possible disputes.

            There are many unnecessary human actions that interfere with the already endangered Bengal tigers. The effects of poaching, the over hunting of other animals, and human industrialization have caused a rapid decline in population of the Bengal tiger. We need to put an end to this and allow the tigers to recover before the decline becomes irreversible.

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At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!