A CENTURY AGO there were 100,000 tigers roaming the forests, swamps and tundra of Asia. TODAY there are as few as 3,200 left in the wild. At this rate, tigers will be extinct in just a few decades.

Consumer demand for tiger parts poses the largest threat to tiger survival. Tigers are being hunted to extinction by poachers for their skins, bones, teeth and claws, which are highly valued for their use in traditional Asian medicine. Parts from a single tiger can fetch as much as $50,000 on the black market, making the poaching of these magnificent creatures very alluring to criminal networks. Claws, teeth and whiskers are believed to provide good luck and protective powers, while tiger skins and tiger bone wine are valued as status symbols.

Why should we care about tigers? When animals at the bottom and the top of the food chain start to decline, it’s a clear sign that the entire ecosystem is in trouble. Ecosystems provide both nature and people with fresh water, food and many other vital services. Large predators like tigers are considered an umbrella species. Protecting them benefits hundreds of species including other endangered animals that share tiger habitat and form biodiversity, a keystone to keeping our planet healthy. By saving tigers, we’re actually saving people too.

Alexander has donated his 7th birthday celebration to the World Wildlife Fund and is raising money to symbolically adopt a tiger, one of the most threatened species on Earth. In lieu of gifts, his birthday wish is for you to make a donation on his behalf, so the WWF can focus it’s activities on anti-poaching efforts in critical tiger sites. Please share this video and his mission with your children and make a contribution; The most priceless gift Alexander can receive on his birthday is the power to make a difference.

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Statistics Courtesy of World Wildlife Fund