The biggest risk to the survival of the tiger as a species (or if you prefer, a group of sub-species) is not, as is commonly claimed, the destruction of wild habitat.
That\’s the biggest threat to the survival of the species in the wild.
No, the biggest threat to the survival of the species as a whole is actually American wild animal regulations:
Bears, lions, tigers, wolves and monkeys ran amok when owner Terry Thompson, 62, flung open the enclosures at his Muskingum County animal farm near the town of Zanesville on Tuesday evening and then shot himself.
Police following shoot-to-kill orders, some of them armed only with handguns, said they had no choice but to exterminate the animals to protect local residents – and in some cases, themselves – as darkness fell.
There had been at least three dozen complaints since 2004 about Thompson\’s exotic menagerie – including a giraffe grazing by a highway and a monkey in a tree – and he had faced more serious charges of animal mistreatment.
Conservationists have for years demanded strict US wildlife ownership laws, especially in Alabama, Idaho, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wisconsin, where no such laws exist.
There are more tigers in captivity (some say as many as 25,000) in the United States than there are in the wild. The biggest risk to the continued survival is regulation of keeping such wild animals: take the regulations too far and no one will do it any more, will they?
It\’s quiote possible that more regulation is needed, even that more regulation would be a good idea: but don\’t ever forget that regulation always also has costs.