While we wouldn’t think of tigers as needing protection under any other circumstances, with them being apex predators and all, the fact is that they do need saving – from us. The majestic creatures, although responsible for a small number of deaths every year, are still dying off at an alarming rate.
However, as researchers recently and surprisingly discovered, they are dying off slower than previously believed. This is owed to a new strategy, as even you can help double the tiger population by 2022 via the internet. The data comes from a new paper published in the Science Advances Journal on Friday.
Losing tiger numbers
Currently, there are only 3,500 tigers left in the wild in their natural habitats, in some 76 tiger conservation landscapes. There are multiple reasons as to why the animals keep dying off, with poaching, lack of prey, lack of forest cover, and retribution killings topping the list.
With the huge amounts of deforestations taking place in the animals’ natural environment, many animals find themselves starving to death, or even attacking natives in order to survive. While the animals are only responsible for some 85 deaths a year worldwide, many more tigers are killed in revenge over the deaths they caused.
Preserving the animals
Still, despite constantly declining numbers and against the beliefs of International Tiger Conservation Forum, far fewer tigers are dying than ever before. Of course, the officials who are committed to trying to save the tiger populations were dumbstruck, as they weren’t sure exactly what caused the number of tiger die-offs to drop.
The 2010 International Tiger Conservation Forum ended with the determination to save the animals. The first idea was to monitor the 76 tiger conservation landscapes at least once every two years in order to make sure that their environment is not destroyed and that poachers aren’t making kills in the areas. But with the wide spread of these conservation areas, nobody knew exactly how to go about it.
Global Forest Watch
And then they realized the best way to go about this – satellite tracking. Ever since conservation movements and country officials started using satellite data in order to track the animals, their deaths have significantly decreasing. So they decided to take it even further.
This is how the Global Forest Watch was born. Combining satellite data and Google Earth’s processing power, the initiative allows you to receive constant updates about the state of the animals in whichever conservation area you’re interested. The system has become more and more interactive, allowing people to report and receive information about forest covers and their status, as well as about the status of several endangered animals.
Image source: Flickr