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Tigers Can Get Hungry and They Can Get Sick Too

Posted on 10/30/2015 at 12:00 AM by Blog Author

Welcome to the true big cat of the wild, the king of the jungle, the inspirational and largest feline in the wild, the tiger! While lions are known for being the big cat of the world, tigers, on average, are actually larger than lions. So, of the tigers, who is the largest of them all? The largest tiger is the Amur Tiger with the Sumatran Tiger being the smallest.


There once was a time, in the last 100 years in fact, that nine different subspecies of tigers existed and roamed Asia. There used to be over 100,000 of them, but that is no longer the case. Today, there is an estimated 3,200 left in the wild (five subspecies remaining), with one only one of them – the South China Tiger – that exists only in Chinese Zoos. 


While poaching and habitat loss are two of the biggest threats to tigers, they are also affected by loss of their prey, having Human-Tiger Conflict, and tigers - much like you and me – can become sick.


The prey of tigers aren’t disappearing into thin air. Rather humans can hunt their prey (tigers need about a whopping 50 wild pigs, deer, antelope, or other hoofed animals a year to survive, and that’s per animal!) and cause conflict (Human-Tiger Conflict). As humans come more onto their land or live nearby, the tigers can become hungry and may travel into where humans live. By coming closer to the humans, some get ensnared or caught in traps that are laid out for other animals such as the wild pigs that they hunt.


Only recently have researchers begun to look into the fact that tigers can get sick in the wild. There have been wide reaching, and fatal, epidemics of the canine distemper virus that has been affecting tigers (and other wild cats like the lion), but it has especially made a negative impact in the population of Amur tigers. Since the focus in the past was not explored, today, the Tiger Conservation Campaign is working on gathering resources, research, and information about the diseases that affect tigers and are trying to find way to prevent disease outbreak.


Not only is the Tiger Conservation Campaign doing that, but they are working on anti-poaching efforts, tiger-themed education and outreach, trying to combat wildlife crime – including habitat loss, and are working on reducing the human conflicts.


Blank Park Zoo is happy to support the campaign by financial means as well as helping with education efforts right here at the zoo so we can keep tigers around for many years to come.


And don’t forget, each time you visit Blank Park Zoo, a portion of your admission price goes to save animals in the wild!


Photo Credit: MN Zoo Tiger Conservation Campaign

Tiger walking through the tall grasses.

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