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North America’s tiger population endangered due to improper regulation

The World Wildlife Fund is taking advantage of the fact that it’s the Year of the Tiger in many Asian countries, and is spreading awareness about the threats posed to this endangered species.

Siberian tiger cubs are seen at the Dalian Forest Zoo in Dalian, Liaoning province Feb. 7, 2010. China has an estimated 50 or fewer tigers left living in the wild.  (Jacky Chen/Reuters)

It’s attempting to educate people about the changes occurring around the world that are affecting the wellbeing of tigers. The environmental degradation is evident, but it is what has been taking place on North American turf that more people will find shocking.

There are more tigers in captivity than there are remaining in the wild worldwide, and there’s no regulation to protect them. Some might argue that these tigers are saved from the building and deforestation happening internationally. It is a valid point, except that the conditions in captivity of these beautiful creatures isn’t regulated or protected.

Believe it or not, there’s no definite figure put on how many tigers are held in captivity in the U.S. It’s been estimated that there are more than 5,000, and since this information isn’t tracked many of these tigers are at risk of being killed and/or sold on the black market. Without appropriate legislation, there are no laws to protect them.

The World Wildlife Fund is pushing for legislation that requires exotic pet owners and small organizations to register their animals. Beyond that, it’s also necessary for the government or an appointed agency to follow up and ensure that the tigers aren’t being illegally killed and sold on the black market.

Did you know that we had a problem with tiger endangerment here at home that poses as great a risk to the species as the environmental repercussions internationally?