There are obviously many different things that need to be improved in order to save the Bengal Tigers. And there is a current recovery plan being implemented to try and double the number of all Tiger species by 2022. However, there were aspects to this program not fully covered that I feel would greatly benefit Tiger conservation efforts. So I want to take the chance to explain some additional efforts I think should be made in order to save these animals.
One of the easiest and potentially most efficient ways of helping these Tigers is to educate the public in order to raise awareness and gain support. Richard Cowling said, "Conservation is 10% science and 90% negotiation." I believe this applies to the current situation with Bengal Tigers. There needs to be more of a political influence in the form of financing and policies for these Tigers to be saved. However, without pressure from the public the government will not feel the need to step up. In addition, this public education can help to suppress the demand for poached Tigers. Not to mention, this can also help humans to see the damage they do by living on protected Tiger land and interfering with these Tigers’ daily routines. It should also be expressed how the rest of the ecosystem will be negatively affected should the Tigers go extinct due to their top-down control on those below them in the food chain.
Increasing public awareness would lead to more pressure on the government
to conserve these Tigers
If the government feels the pressure to make more of an effort protecting these animals, then the first step for them should be enforcing their no-poaching laws better. Currently, poachers often go unpunished and the risk to this business is very little compared to the cost. If the laws against poaching became heftier and the consequences were enforced more, this could decrease the amount of poachers because the risk of being caught would not make the poaching worth it. In addition, there should be more repercussions for buyers of Tiger parts. If a Tiger hide is found in someone’s possession, there should be severe consequences for these individuals as well. By punishing the poachers and buyers more strictly, I believe this could drastically decrease the amount of Tigers killed.
There are currently many Bengal Tigers in captivity and some of these are being bred. However, there needs to be more of an effort to breed these animals with the purpose of reintroducing them into the wild. These Tigers should have little human intervention and should learn basic skills they would need to know for the wild, such as hunting. By breeding in captivity, we could ensure the cubs make it to an age where they can survive on their own in the wild, and then we can release them. There have already been experiments done with Tigers similar to the Bengal Tiger and these successfully showed how Tigers are able to go from captive environments into the wild and survive on their own (Morell, 2007). Therefore, there should be a greater effort made to work on this for Bengal Tigers. This would result in a greater number of individuals in the wild and would introduce new genes into these wild populations to combat the risk of inbreeding depression throughout the mating metapopulations.
Breeding in captivity for the purpose of reintroduction to the wild could help
increase the numbers of Bengal Tigers in the wild while introducing
more genetic variability to these metapopulations