Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger, dying out - a majestic animal on its knees

Sunday 27 July 2014

Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger, dying out - a majestic animal on its knees

To mark International Tiger Day, The Independent and the World Wildlife Fund are working together to highlight the dangers these iconic animals face

Smoke rose in the distance, above a homestead deep in the Siberian forest. The nearest neighbours lived miles away, so isolated is this barely populated spot five hours by car from Vladivostok. By the time they got close, the blaze had caught hold. The house was burning.

The property belongs to Vladimir Aramilev, whose work protects some of the world’s last surviving tigers. The cause of the fire was animal poachers who had doused it in petrol and lit it with a match. The objective: to force him out, so they can keep on killing.

Black scorch marks can still be seen today along the outside of the window frames. Inside, where the fire raged, the damage was near total. Wooden facings on the house’s walls and ceiling were burnt to ash while belongings simply melted in the heat. “I was shocked,” Mr Aramilev admits of the attack on his property. “Definitely I’m scared. I have a four-year-old daughter. My work is to protect animals. But now I know the risk to me is part of that job, too.”

Tigers once covered a vast stretch of Asia. They could be found in the tip of India, all the way across to Bali and even into eastern Turkey. Now they survive in a few pockets, primarily in India, South-east Asia, and here in Russia’s eastern Primorsky region. Worldwide numbers are estimated at little more than 3,000. In every one of these locations, they are under mortal threat.

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