This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post.
The tiger is one of the most iconic animal species on earth, but the largest of the 'big cats' is on the brink of extinction. A hundred years ago, as many as 100,000 wild tigers roamed across Asia. Today, there are only about 3,200 tigers left in the wild, occupying a mere 4% of their former range.
This catastrophic decline is driven by a range of threats, including poaching for the illegal wildlife trade, overhunting of prey species by local people, habitat loss, and conflict with people. As a result tigers are globally considered endangered with two subspecies (the Malayan and Sumatran) further classified as critically endangered.
These threats are also having a terrible impact on tiger welfare. For example cruel traps and poisons are left to snare and kill tigers just so that poachers can make a profit by selling their highly valuable skins, claws and bones. This can cause immense suffering for hours, if not days, before a tiger is discovered and eventually killed.