South China Tiger/ Panthera Tigris Amoyensis

The Panthera Tigris Amoyensis is one of the most critically endangered animals in the world right now, they are functionally extinct where it has not been seen in the wild for over 25 years,  about 30 of them are held in captivity right now in hopes of being reintroduced into the wild.

The Amoy Tiger is a tiger subspecies which the population has drastically fell, where in a short period of 32 years (1950-1982) its population has fallen from about 4000 to 30. There are 2 main reasons for the decline of the Amoy Tigers: Illegal Poaching and Habitat Fragmentation. Tigers are illegally killed all over the world, and habitat are lost every year, but in this specific example, the Amoy Tiger is unable to continue its species independently because of us humans, next I will explain the 2 problems.

First, poaching is widely known around the world. Let me ask you a question here “when was the last time you had an intent to want to kill something so you can put it around your neck?”. Unless you’re a criminal, professional hunter or a fashion product producer, probably never had that thought. Well, all around the world animals are being killed for their body parts, the tiger has been killed for a lot of things: the skin for decors, the limbs for God knows what and the penis for “love potions”(in China this is an actual thing). Other reasons for killing animals is more justifiable, like trespassing farmers land or in self-defense (don’t act like this doesn’t happen, a traveler was mauled to death by a tiger). For the Amoy Tiger, poaching is the primary reason why their population declined, because of how much tigers were killed, which brings me to the second reason: Habitat Fragmentation.

The second reason is of habitat fragmentation. Habitat Fragmentation is when the habitat range of an animal is divided so they cannot mate, hunt or other means to survive and reproduce. This is caused by government building roads across forests, villages being made and factories being planted in the middle of a habitat. Amoy Tigers lived in the southwest part of China in areas fragmented around a small area, each fragmented land are less than 200sq feet which are not sufficient to sustain a tiger population. Amoy Tigers live in evergreen and rainforests which have been degraded or fragmented in the past few years, and next I will talk about changes that are being made and changes that should be made.

Solutions are being made for both of the problems right now. Let’s start with poaching, for illegal poaching solutions are as such: laws passed to stop illegal killings, safe zones in which animals may not be hunted, captive breeding (this isn’t strictly to protect animals from being killed, but it does add to the solution in a way). And For Habitat Fragmentation: forests are being grown back, bridges are being built between fragmented habitats to ensure a route from one area to another and protected in numerous ways that include but does not limit to laws being passed to stop deforestation, generally protected safe zones and others.

I will talk about captive breeding here as another section because of its importance, especially for the Amoy Tiger. Since there is only about 30 Amoy Tigers left, they cannot survive on their own, so all of the Tigers are being held in captive breeding. Captive breeding is when you put animals in monitored ground so that they will be sure to reproduce and continue to survive. This is the idea that I will not talk about in the next section about how solutions should be changed because as of right now it is working well in terms of the survival of the Amoy Tiger with mating and reproducing. The downsides are that in worst captive breeding programs the tigers are kept in close proximity and that is not a good thing because tigers are naturally solitary animals, plus tigers have killed each other in close proximities lessening the effects of captive breeding. Still, the better programs will give them large areas to roam and hunt with artificial/natural forests for them to live in. If the programs produce sufficient tigers and are capable of living independently, they will be reintroduced into the wild for more natural survival.

Even though these solutions are helping the situation a lot, there are specific areas that should be changed and mostly just make it more specific. Punishment for illegal killing are not enforced well, often there would be people who still attempts to hunt under safe zones or illegally kill protected animals. Laws can be enforced in numerous ways, more efficient ones would include security guards/cameras to monitor areas that endangered animals are being kept, obviously, this has downsides and flaws but it is a more specific solution. More serious consequences and repercussions like death, jailing and amongst others. Habitat Fragmentation is harder to manage and change as the only solutions have already been brought out and are already being worked on, the only ways this would be more efficient would be if it was better enforced, if we can signal animals to show them what is on the other side of the bridge and if we can grow back the forests.

In conclusion, endangered animals are being helped a lot compared to how the topic was treated before, for most animals it has helped them to the point where they are no longer vulnerable i.e. the bison. For the Amoy Tiger, it has kept them alive, but no tigers have been officially reintroduced yet. Still, it has been making tremendous progress with 5 new cubs. We can only hope for the best as in what happens next, but it’s no longer an uphill battle, with all the new technology we have, there is a large chance that we can finally restore numerous critically endangered animals.

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