tiger population is facing a huge crisis. Wild tiger populations in Southeast Asia have all but collapsed, only an estimated 350 remaining. Tigers are threatened by both illegal hunting due to demand for tiger parts in traditional Chinese medicine as well as habitat destruction and fragmentation (the artificial separation of habitats by deforestation and building). The next Year of the Tiger is in 2022, and it could very well be that there are no more wild tigers in Southeast Asia by that time. World tiger populations are also dropping, now numbering at about 3,200, down from an estimated 20,000 in the 1980s. Interestingly, Russian Prime Minister Vladimer Putin himself is going to be hosting a tiger conservation summit in Vladivostak this September.
Tigers, besides being amazing creatures, are a "flagship species." Flagship species are the major, headliner animals that live in particular habitats, and the health of their population gives an indication of the overall health of the ecosystem. Also, flagship species tend to be the large, flashy, popular animals that people are more interested in saving rather than the more "homely" creatures that count on the same ecosystem. By saving flagship species, you save many other species as well.
Whatever is decided upon, action must be taken quickly. This magnificent creature, and the other animals that live in this habitat, are highly endangered, and may be extinct in the wild within the not-so-distant future.