July 29th is Global Tiger Day. Did you know there is a direct connection between tiger conservation and the furniture and flooring you buy for your home? Companies like IKEA, Home Depot and WalMart sell wooden furniture and flooring that are often obtained through illegal logging in protected tiger habitats. Much of the global timber trade is now managed by organized crime. Sources, including George Mason University and The Washington Post are reporting that the global timber trade is the new heroin industry for organized crime. Tiger habitats are being rapidly and systematically destroyed in Russia, China, Malaysia and elsewhere to provide the cheap, imported wooden furniture and flooring that’s sold in America’s big box stores.
As a result, some scientists predict that the last remaining 3200 wild tigers (down from 100,000 just a century ago) will be entirely extinct in 5 years.
Tigers are running out of space and time with only 7% of their habitat remaining but your decisions about buying furniture flooring and even paper, coffee and other forest products can help save them. It’s not too late! Please like our Tiger conservation initiative on Facebook and share this post with your friends. Thanks!
Yesterday I received a gift from my old pal, Sally Blakely. It was a tiger that she had symbolically adopted in my name from the World Wildlife Fund WWF. Thanks Sally, you couldn't have picked a more appreciated gift!
If anyone else out there loves tigers, I'm here to tell you that they're not going to be around for long unless we join WWF and other Tiger Conservation projects. It's urgent.
My adopted tiger from Sally
Check out this 2 minute WWF video. You can help save the tiger just by knowing these facts:
in 2009, people in North America consumed about 80 mllion tons of paper
The fastest growing brands of toilet paper in the United States today, Paseo, APP and Livi have a direct link to rainforest destruction
Over the past 25 years, Paseo, APP and Livi have clear-cut 5 million acres of Sumatran forest wood
Much of that land was once tiger, orangutan and elephant habitat
Since 1985 more than half of Sumatra’s natural forests—some 30 million acres (an area the size of Virginia!)—have been lost
Sumatra is the only place on earth where elephants, tigers and orangutans coexist
Indonesia (including Sumatra) is ranked 3rd in the world in terms of total carbon emission due to the slash and burn destruction of its rainforests
Do you see a world with wild tigers, orangutans and elephants in our future? Do you care? Here is your chance to change the world. It's not hard. Don't buy Paseo, APP or Livi products. Ask your grocer not to buy them. Ask your friends, schools and hotels not to buy them. Buy recycled or FSC certified paper products instead. Post this on your facebook.
Rainforest conservation is one of the main missions of our business at Vermont Woods Studios. We extend our gratitude to Leonardo DiCaprio who has been an outspoken champion of the tiger and WWF's Save Tigers Now campaign. The goal of Save Tigers Now is to double the number of wild tigers by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger but that can't happen unless we change our buying habits. Tiger numbers have declined 97% in the past 100 years. There may be as few as 3,200 wild tigers left in existence, the lowest number ever recorded.
Today the World Wildlife Fund reports that after losing nearly 70 per cent of its forest habitat and half its population in one generation, the Sumatran elephant is heading for imminent extinction due to deforestation and habitat loss.
These elephants are not alone. According to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, 3-5 species become extinct every hour of every day. That’s up to 45,000 species every year!
What we’re doing at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture is trying to raise awareness about the how your choices as a consumer directly affect the extinction of endangered species like the Sumatran elephant. If you can avoid buying imported forest products, especially wood furniture and flooring (if it’s not clearly labelled Made in America–pretty much any furniture you’ll find at Home Depot, Walmart, Bob’s, Lowe’s or other big box stores is imported) you’ll be doing your part to lessen global deforestation and destruction of the habitat these elephants live in.
What else are we doing?
We support a number of projects to save endangered species. Here’s one I was pretty excited about last week: when I was on the Vernon Selectboard a few years back, our town partnered with the Vermont Division of Fish and Wildlife DFW to protect habitat and save the critically endangered spotted turtle from extinction. Last week we were able to celebrate our work. It’s 6 or 7 years later, but finally through a long process, the turtle habitat is being cared for and hopefully we’ll start to see their population come back.
Tigers are my favorite animals. We've done a few promotions trying to raise awareness about the fact that they are critically endangered due to habitat loss. Tiger conservation is linked to the wood furniture industry: much of the wood that is being used in imported furniture is clear cut from the rapidly disappearing habitats of Siberian, Bengal and other species of tiger.
Anyway I was really upset to see the massacre of tigers, lions, bears, monkeys and other exotic animals in Zanesville OH yesterday. ABC News featured a story about the importance of states passing laws prohibiting the purchase and sale of exotic animals, citing Born Free USA as a good place to learn more about the issue and take action.
Here's another way you can help protect exotic wildlife, right now and it only takes one minute and doesn't cost a penny. Go to Big Cat Rescue and click over to the US Government comment form regarding pending legislation from the US Fish and Wildlife Service about illegal trade in tiger parts. Enter your contact information on the form, then copy this phrase into the comment form: End the Trade in Generic Tigers! Please Rescind the Generic Tiger Exemption. So often we see these tragic stories in the news but we feel helpless to do anything about it. Here's a way you can make a difference.
I’ve been trying to draw attention to the link between tiger conservation and furniture buying for years. But somehow it seems such a stretch to explain the connection that it gets lost in the ether. No one has noticed my efforts.
It’s hard to believe but there are only about 3200 tigers left in the wild. This tiger subspecies, the Siberian Tiger– the world’s largest cat is literally on the brink of extinction with only about 400 individuals remaining in their natural habitat. If you can’t stand the idea of letting these magnificient creatures disappear forever on our watch, help us spread the word. Follow us on twitter, fan us on facebook. There IS something you can do about keeping tigers on this planet for your children and grandchildren to marvel at.