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- Added Thursday, 08 March 2012 11:33
- by Super User
Of all the cat species the tiger is the largest and also one of the most threatened.
Altogether there are thought to be as few as 3,200 tigers left in the wild. Numbers have fallen by about 95% over the past 100 years and three subspecies – the Bali, Caspian and Javan tiger – are already extinct. The Bengal tiger is the most numerous subspecies but the population is only 2,500 individuals – and declining. Living mainly in India but also in Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan, the Bengal tiger is officially classified as ‘endangered’.
Threats to the Bengal Tiger
The biggest single threat is the poaching of tigers for skins and body parts used in traditional Asian medicines. Growing prosperity in Asian economies has led to an increasing demand for tiger-based medicines.
The second major challenge is habitat loss. Deforestation, agriculture and rapid infrastructure development is forcing tigers into small, scattered islands of remaining habitat. As a result of this tigers are increasingly coming into conflict with humans as they stray close to villages, resulting in both tigers and people being killed.
To witness the Bengal tiger in the wild is one of the great wildlife experiences. They are elusive and sometimes hard to track, but with patience and expert help from our guides you are likely to be rewarded with sightings.
Our tiger safaris focus on the three greatest game parks in India – Ranthambore, Bandhavgarh and Kanha – where the tiger populations are strongest and sightings most likely.
Through our tiger safaris we support the national parks and contribute to the crucial funding of conservation projects. We also support TOFT – Tour Operators for Tigers – a travel industry body which ensures best practice during our tiger tracking safaris.
TRAVEL OPERATORS FOR TIGERS (TOFT)
Explore are active members of the Travel Operators for Tigers campaign (TOFT). This travel industry body works with local organisations in India's wildlife reserves to ensure that tigers are protected. TOFT directs a significant proportion of its funding to Global Tiger Patrol to support specific conservation and anti-poaching measures.
What you can do: TOFT is a travel industry body but you can lend your support to its partner, Global Tiger Patrol www.globaltigerpatrol.org.By behaving responsibly and following our guidelines on tour, you will also be doing your bit to protect the tiger.