Dwindling tiger population has activist warning about grizzlies
Martin van den Hemel, Staff Reporter
With Asiaís tiger population on the brink of extinction, conservationist
Anthony Marr made a dire prediction that the same could happen to B.C.ís
grizzly bears if action isnít taken soon.
Marr, founding director of HOPE-GEO (Heal Our Planet EarthóGlobal
Environmental Organization), gave an in-depth 90-minute slide show
presentation to about 70 students at London Secondary school Tuesday,
during which he drew a parallel between the dwindling habitat of the
magnificent striped tiger in Asia and the encroachment of man on B.C.ís
In 1900, the range of the Asian tiger stretched through southeast Asia,
from India eastward. At the time there were an estimated 300,000 tigers in
the wild and eight subspecies, including the Caspian Tiger, the Bengal
Tiger, the Javan Tiger and the Bali Tiger.
But in the early part of the century, tiger hunting, deforestation and
development severely shrank the tigerís range and numbers down to just
100,000 tigers and seven subspecies by 1940.
By 1970, another subspecies of tiger, the Caspian tiger, had disappeared
and the numbers further dwindled to just 15,000. The estimated population
in 1997 was just 4,500 tigers living in remarkably tiny ranges.
Marr told London Secondary students that the hunting of bears in B.C. is
putting a serious dent in the population. And if people wait until the
numbers drop to the level of the Asian tiger, that may be too late.
In southeast B.C., the grizzly bear habitat has been severely been
impacted and encroached upon by logging roads.
Although the province estimates the Grizzly bear population at between 10
and 14 thousand, some biologists feel that number could be as low as
In India, deforestation has left huge scars on the once lush and verdant
countryside. With a population of one billion people, 400 million cows and
millions of goats, the land has become overgrazed and may result in an
immense famine in the coming years.
For the tiger, the future is looking bleak, with conservationists like
Marr hoping to make a difference before it is too late. Indiaís population
is being taught alternatives to chopping down trees and using alternatives
like solar devices for cooking.
Students were told that they too can make a difference by writing letters
to political leaders and the leaders of other countries about their
Marr will be making other presentations to Lower Mainland students in the
coming weeks, including Hugh Boyd on Jan. 25 and Cambie Secondary on Feb.
Educational Outreach: Secondary (High) Schools and Universities