International Tiger Day - Tiger prowls through the woods

International Tiger Day

Every year on July 29, the International Day of the Tiger is celebrated. To find out more about the world's largest wild cats and why they require our protection, read on.

4 Facts about tigers for International Tiger Day:

1. International Tiger Day was created in 2010

International Tiger Day was created to increase awareness of the challenges tigers face in the wild and encourage conservation efforts.

2. Tigers have unique voices

Tigers can identify each other by their roars, which can be heard over 3 kilometres away.

3. Tigers enjoy the water

Tigers are strong swimmers. They can swim several kilometres at a time and are happy to hunt in the water.

4. Tiger stripes are unique like fingerprints

Each tiger has a unique pattern of stripes that can be used to identify them, just like human fingerprints. In fact, researchers have set up cameras and used 3D modelling to identify different tigers based on their stripe patterns.

 

Why tigers need protection:

Tigers are regularly poached for tourism

Tiger ‘experiences’ are big business in many areas where tigers are still found. Tourists will often pay for selfies with tiger cubs or to watch adult tigers ‘perform’. All of these are exploitative and harmful to the animals involved.

Tigers are in demand for traditional medicine

Tigers are also commonly poached or farmed for their body parts to be used in traditional medicine. As the largest big cat, an adult tiger has many large bones that are sought after to be ground up for ‘remedies’.

There is no evidence that tiger bones have any healing properties, and the animals bred for this purpose are kept in brutal conditions. South Africa is one of the few remaining countries that permits legal farming of big cats, but illegal farming is also common.

Tigers are still seen as trophies

A tiger’s distinctive striped coat is important for camouflage but can also attract the wrong kind of attention. Pelts are seen as trophies and sell for high prices, despite this trade being illegal. Tiger cubs are also prized as status symbols among some extremely wealthy individuals.

How you can celebrate International Day of the Tiger:

Here are a few ways you can celebrate International Tiger Day and help protect tigers in the wild.

Only view tigers in the wild from a respectful and safe distance

A selfie with a tiger might seem like an incredible souvenir of your trip, but these experiences are often deeply harmful to the animals involved.

Tiger cubs are especially popular, but they are also especially vulnerable. Cubs used for selfies are usually removed from their mothers at 2-3 weeks old when they would normally stay with her for their first 2 years of life.

Never take pictures with wild animals being held, restrained, or baited with food. Instead, look for opportunities to view animals at a safe distance where they have the freedom to behave naturally.

Be a responsible traveller

Travel companies respond to feedback from their customers and react even faster when they lose customers due to unethical practices. Book your travel with companies who take their responsibilities to animal protection seriously.

Check out our guide to know which companies are making a real effort.

Support our work for animal sentience recognition

Animals like tigers don’t exist for our use and pleasure. They are sentient creatures with their own needs and desires. Join our campaign to improve our understanding of animal sentience.

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International Tiger Day FAQS

Are tigers endangered?

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species designated tigers as ‘Endangered’ in 1986. In the last 100 years, tiger numbers have dropped from 100,000 to just 3,500.

Where tigers are found?

Today tigers are found in just 13 countries, including India, China, and parts of Russia. This represents just 7% of the territory they used to inhabit just a century ago.

Can tigers be domesticated?

Tigers are not domestic animals and can’t be trained or domesticated. They are wild animals with instincts to hunt and kill. They are also solitary animals and do not enjoy social connections.