We all grew up knowing tigers as the prototypical “King of the Jungle.” These overwhelming big cats enchanted us with their beautiful stripped coat, gorgeous eyes, and frighteningly beautiful teeth. Unhappily, despite our fascination and appreciation, we are rapidly losing these animals. It is projected that the world’s tiger populace has declined 95 percent in the past century alone. Like many other kinds, these animals are threatened by dwindling habitat and human growth, but tigers also face a host of other terrible problems. The illegal wildlife trade is the key driver of tiger extermination.
Tigers have gone from being observed as a grand and vital wild species to nothing more than a profitable commodity. We’ve observed the rise of “tiger cub” selfie attractions in the U.S. and across the world and the fact that there are presently more captive tigers in U.S. courtyards, kept as pets, than there are in the wild, speaks to how we’ve reduced these creatures. But it seems that this abuse of tigers is not even the worst form that exists.
This photograph from Paul Hilton shows a confined tiger at Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Mountain Village in China. At this facility, tiger are drugged and chained so visitors can take pictures “punching” the animals.