2010 has officially been declared the year of the tiger by the World Wildlife Fund and the Russian government and yet that still hasn’t seemed to help the precarious position of Sumatran tigers and their kin in areas such as India, Russia, Nepal, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia…at least not yet. Sporting an exotic coat has pretty much made them an instant target for poaching, but add an increased demand for their body parts to the mix (in the form of ancient Chinese medicinal remedies obtained from their flesh, bones, claws, skin and teeth) as well as habitat encroachment/human development and it’s no surprise why their numbers have plummeted in recent years.
Current estimates suggest that there are fewer tigers remaining in the wild today than in captivity – roughly 3,200 at best (down from 100,000 at the beginning of the 20th century) – with one cat killed daily according to the Environmental Investigation Agency. Remarkably, the president of the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine says that the decimation of their population revolves around “an old tradition” that “is not medicine” based but rather just “an old belief” with little to no science to back it up.
The WWF is taking a new approach to spreading awareness about preserving the dwindling cat population with their new Texting For Tigers campaign which enables supporters to donate $10 to conservation efforts when they text ‘TIGERS’ to 20222. Their latest educational video features Ethan Suplee (of My Name is Earl fame) explaining why it’s imperative for us to “step up and earn our stripes for tigers”. Of course, what would really aid their campaign is offering proof that consuming tiger penis soup is actually NOT going to enhance virility by employing mass scale educational programs targeting particularly prone regions in Asia that currently think that the felines are far more desirable dead than alive.