Today, July 29th, marks Global Tiger Day. It is a day to celebrate this unique apex predator, but also to remember that tigers around the globe are under threat. The IUCN Red List includes several subspecies of tiger as endangered or vulnerable, and tiger numbers have declined from an estimated 100,000 in 1990 to under 4,000 today.
The three primary causes of the decline in wild tiger populations are poaching, trafficking, and habitat loss. Tiger products, which are falsely considered by some to have medicinal benefits, and are also seen as a status symbol, are in high demand on the black market. This demand continues to drive poaching and trafficking. At the same time, tiger habitats are being destroyed due to forest clearing of forests and fragmentation of habitats from human development.