A century ago 100,000 tigers roamed across Asia from Turkey to the Russian Far East, and south to the islands of Indonesia, across the borders of 30 nations. Since then the big cats have vanished from almost 95 percent of their former range, and just 3,000 or so survive in fragmented pockets of tiger territory scattered across 13 countries.
Habitat loss driven by agricultural clearing of forests and grasslands, urban and suburban sprawl, logging, roads, and other infrastructure development is one of the core issues addressed in this gallery of tiger-inspired images by activist artist Asher Jay. “We have one planet, one world,” she says. “It's not just about tigers; it's about saving ourselves.”
Asia's economic growth and development will continue, but they needn't spell the end of wild tigers. Smart conservation strategies can leave the cats room to roam. But embracing them requires understanding that the fate of tigers and their homes is bound to our own, because our human well-being also depends on healthy natural ecosystems like those that support the cats.
A 2010 study identified the wild tiger's remaining strongholds, just 42 “source sites” defined as having the potential to promote tiger recovery by maintaining more than 25 breeding females in a protected landscape. About 70 percent of all wild tigers already live in these crucial areas, which are primarily clustered in India (18), Sumatra (8), and the Russian Far East (6). (Related: Three Thousand Wild Tigers.)
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Tiger Conservation Gallery - Asher Jay
Activist Asher Jay can't sit by while tigers are slaughtered to extinction. She tells their story in her art.