By Katy Yocom
Today is Global Tiger Day! Here are five things you can do to help save wild tigers from extinction and protect tigers in captivity.
- Support organizations that help wild tigers. World Wildlife Fund, Panthera, and the Wildlife Conservation Society are three leading organizations doing terrific work to help the world’s remaining 3,900 wild tigers survive. Check out their websites to learn about the threats to tigers and the important initiatives now underway to save them.
- Never, ever take part in a “tiger petting” or selfie exhibit, and avoid roadside zoos. The cats in these exhibits are routinely maltreated and often put to death once they outgrow the “cute cub” stage. Learn how to spot a phony wildlife sanctuary—and then steer clear of them.
- Support the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which would ban the two biggest sources of abuse to captive tigers in the U.S.: private ownership, and public contact with cubs through shady exhibitors. Ending these practices will also help fight the illegal trade in tiger body parts. World Wildlife Fund has a letter you can automatically send to your senator or representative.
- Support legitimate tiger sanctuaries like the Exotic Feline Rescue Center that provide safe shelter and needed veterinary care to big cats rescued from abuse and neglect. Some sanctuaries have Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries accreditation. Remember, if the public is allowed to touch, pet, or interact the animals, it’s not legit.
- Enjoy their beauty! Tigers are the most charismatic animals on earth. The magnificent photos on Ranthambore National Park’s Instagram and Facebook are pure visual pleasure—you can see why those tigers and that landscape inspired me to write a novel.