Lesson 14.3: Real-World Connection

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Protecting the Tiger


Tigers are one of the most endangered species on Earth. To help save the tiger and other endangered animals, one organization asked the United Nations to declare an International Decade of Endangered Species. The organization, called the International Year of the Tiger Foundation, wants the tiger to be the symbol of all the species that are in danger of dying out in the wild.

Counting Tigers

Wildlife expert Deborah Fahrenbruck told Weekly Reader that only between 2,500 and 5,000 tigers live in the wild. She said tigers may become extinct in the wild in five to 20 years. Tigers were not always so rare. Wildlife experts estimate that 100,000 tigers lived in the wild about 100 years ago. As many as 40,000 tigers lived in India alone. The number of tigers declined rapidly during the 1900s. The tigers died out because of habitat loss and hunting.

People moved into the tigers' habitat. They planted crops, and built roads and buildings on the land. That left tigers and the animals the tigers preyed on with less land on which to live. People also hunted the tigers' prey, including wild cattle, deer, and boar. Tigers are carnivores, or meateaters, and each tiger needs to eat about 6,600 pounds of meat a year. Without large wild animals to prey on, many tigers died. Hunters have killed tigers for their skins and to make medicines. Many people who live in Asia believe that powders made from tiger bones are a kind of medicine.

Protecting Tigers

Even though tigers may die out in the wild, there will still be tigers in captivity, says Fahrenbruck, who works for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus. “About 6,000 tigers live in zoos and circuses,” she said. A number of zoos and circuses protect tigers. “Tigers breed so well in captivity, they will not be lost altogether,” she said.

Word Wise

In danger of dying out: Scientists fight to save the endangered animals.

No longer existing: If all of the tigers in the world are gone, they will be extinct.

The place in nature where a plant or animal lives: The sharks' habitat is the ocean.

A substance used to treat disease: The doctor gave her patient medicine to get better.

Held under control of another: Animals in the zoo are held in captivity.

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Make a word web. Write the word HABITAT in the center circle. Use words from the article that are related to this word. Think of some other words that are related, and write them in the remaining circles. You may use a thesaurus to complete your word web.

Data Hunt

A Siberian tiger is 9 feet long.

  1. How many inches long is the tiger?
  2. How many yards long is it?
  3. About how many meters long is it?