It’s pretty apparent as of 2019 that big cats are in a rough spot. And if we have any hope of seeing arguably the most majestic of these creatures in the wild, we’ll all have to chip in to save the tiger.
Yes, we all have a part to play in this fight to help our favorite exotic felines. Why are tigers endangered? It’s variety of reasons, including habitat loss, the exotic wildlife trade (and parts) and the poaching linked to them. Break it down though and any way you look at it, tigers are endangered because of human activity.
So here’s the bigger issue: How do we save the tiger, and what can YOU do for your part in keeping tigers alive and well in the deepest corners of our planet’s green places? Pull up a chair and let’s chat about it…
1 – Buy FSC-Certified and/or Recycled Toilet Paper and Tissue
The Issue: Save the tiger with toilet paper? Sounds a little weird, but hear me out on this. Habitat loss is one of the leading problems facing tigers in 2019. In fact, estimates suggest there are just 400 Sumatran Tigers left in the wild.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) established a link between deforestation in Sumatra and toilet paper – yes, toilet paper – in schools, homes, supermarkets and restaurants in the United States.
Your Move: You can help save the tiger with Forest Stewardship Certified (FSC) or 100% recycled tissue paper. Yes, that really makes a difference for tigers. Look around – in the United States, you can buy FSC certified toilet paper at Safeway. Here’s a list of FSC approved toilet paper in Canada.
2 – Look For Products Made With RSPO-Certified and Sustainable Palm Oil
The Issue: Here’s another easy way to help save the tiger. Palm oil is one of the most widely consumed vegetable oils. Companies used it to make food products, cosmetics, bath products and even biofuel.
Normally, the latter is a good thing, because it’s not a fossil fuel. Also, palm oil yields 5-10 times more per acre than other vegetables oils. Sounds great right? Well, not really. Palm oil is high in LDL Cholesterol-causing saturated fats and doesn’t compare with Olive oil and Canola oil in the health benefits department.
So where to tigers fit in the grand scheme of palm oil considerations? Over 80% of palm oil production takes place in Malaysia and Sumatra. That’s a lot of habitat loss – and palm oil plantations aren’t all that tiger-friendly.
Your Move: Be a champ and look for products certified by the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The RSPO certifies palm oil makers on their impact on tigers, orang-utans and the surrounding ecosystem. You’re looking for sustainable palm oil with the RSPO’s stamp of approval.
Learn a little more about products made with palm oil while you’re at it – and some of the companies that are RSPO certified and actually give a flying fig about doing their part to save the tiger. Would it shock you to learn Nestle is one of them?
3 – Drink Coffee Certified By the Rainforest Alliance
The Issue: Your morning Cup of Java (AKA, the only reason I can get up in the morning) isn’t all that tiger-friendly. Not if it’s made near a national park in Sumatra, Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, where 20% of the land has been converted by illegal squatters to coffee bean production.
Tigers don’t drink coffee, agreed? But the 400 remaining Sumatran tigers live in the region, and they need that habitat – badly. That’s why the Rainforest Alliance is trying to stop coffee farmers in the park. It suggests companies buy only sustainably grown coffee beans from outside the park’s boundaries.
It’s also certifying coffee farmers who make compost naturally and intermix their coffee plants with ginger, elephant grass and fruit trees to reduce erosion. Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee farmers don’t use herbicides or farming chemicals either. The result? Their crops yields go up – and so do the prices they get.
Your Move: I consider it Cruel and Unusual punishment to go without coffee. But you can help save the tiger by choosing Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee beans. Here’s a list of sustainable coffee products they’ve certified. Look for the cute little green frog. He’s such a keeper!
4 – Learn About Panthera’s ‘Tigers Forever’ Fund
The Issue: With tigers dancing vicariously with extinction thanks to human activity, it’s reassuring to know there are folks out there risking life and well-being to save the tiger and other big cats that aren’t doing so hot. Panthera is one of them – it’s a charitable organization devoted to big cat preservation.
Its ‘Tigers Forever‘ fund seeks to increase tiger numbers by at least 50% in 6 tiger range countries: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, Malaysia, India and Thailand.
Your Move: Get the word out. Think about making a donation to Panthera and its efforts to help save the tiger. Tell people about Panthera, and learn more about wild tigers and the plight they face by reading about them. Think about EcoTourism tours in these countries as well – especially if they support tiger conservation. I’ll likely write a post about this in the next few months.
5 – Buy the Abenaki Tiger Shirt
The Issue: Tigers are exotic, yes? Well, they’ve been locked up and caged a little too long for many folks – myself included. The exotic animal trade is another threat to tigers. So is the Circus trade, which, while improving in North America, continues to cage wild tigers and treat them inhumanely.
I designed the Abenaki Tiger Shirt in September 2018 after watching Hoover’s story. It’s a tear-jerker; Hoover was a Circus tiger performing in Peru. He was rescued by Animal Defenders International and now spends his days in peace at a wildlife sanctuary in Florida.
Hoover’s home. But many tigers are not. And it’s a pretty sad fate they’re facing – unless folks like you and me step up and do something.
Your Move: 25% of the proceeds from the Abenaki Tiger Shirt go directly to big cat conservation. Buy the Abenaki Tiger Shirt to help save the tiger – cats like Hoover, and the tigers of Southeast Asia, who need a voice.
Together, we can empower folks and change minds about these beautiful creatures. Hoover had a happy ending. Let’s give the same to more tigers as well…