We have great news for conservationists: according the the most recent census, “the tiger population had risen from 1,706 in 2011 to 2,226 in 2014.” The tiger population is beginning to make a steady recovery!
The heavily poached felis tigris, which has been classified as Endangered since 1970, has long experienced a decline in wild population; numbering 100,000 in the beginning of the 20th century, and now only around 4,000 exist in the wild, which means that within the last century, the majestic cat’s numbers have dwindled 96%. Three out of the nine subspecies of tigers are currently extinct in the wild.
A large amount of this population loss has been attributed to deforestation and destruction of habitat, which ran rampant throughout the world after the second industrial revolution and continued unimpeded until the influence of Theodore Roosevelt's progressive revolution slowly trickled down to the rest of the world, as American policy reform tends to do. While deforestation still remains a large issue, recent studies have found that the largest threat to wild tigers today is poaching, where the bones and body parts of dead tigers find an incredibly lucrative market in the field of “traditional Chinese medicine” (where “traditional” is a nice way of saying “not in any way grounded in science or logic”). More Chinese-supplying poachers have recently turned their sights to India after they effectively drained their own country’s tiger reserves to aid the noble cause of middle-aged businessmen wanting to feel like strong, virile young men again. This (very harmful) idea of “consuming the animal to gain its strength” is quite intriguing at its core; if that were true, one would think I would have acquired the strength of a Greek god after eating all those ants when I seven. So much damage has been done to the tiger population by superstition-fueled poaching and the collateral habitat destruction of increased industrialization that there are more tigers living as pets in America than there are in the wild.
Have these people heard of dogs? (Source)