Tigers are notable for more things than their striking appearance. Being the largest of the big cats, they can weigh close to 700 pounds. These carnivorous cats are mostly nocturnal, and can live up to 15 years in the wild. They are skillful swimmers, and usually live in solitary with the exception of mating season. During mating season, a tigress usually gives birth to about 3 or 4 cubs, but it is unlikely large litters all survive. There are 9 subspecies of tigers. Of those subspecies, the Balinese, Caspian and Javan tigers have permanently gone extinct. The remaining six subspecies live in forests, swamps, savannas and rain-forests throughout Asia.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, over the previous century, tiger populations have decreased by 97%. This heartbreaking decline is primarily due to habitat loss and poaching. Many cultures believe tiger parts have healing powers that can be used in medicine or herbal remedies. Tiger pelts also retain high value on the black market. Fewer than 4,000 wild tigers continue to live alongside us. These magnificent beings are victim to the practices we allow to happen. We have destroyed their homes and have killed so many for unjustifiable reasons. Do not stand idly by as their numbers continue to dwindle until it is too late.