This year is the Year of the Tiger. Sadly for the species, and for all of us, this species remains seriously endangered, with a handful of survivors clinging on in China and Siberia. Worldwide population is estimated at a little higher than 3,000.
So, it's startling to hear today that a scientist at Dalhousie University thinks that the tiger population potentially outnumbers the worldwide great white shark population.
It's a classic case of previous lack of information about these animals and some double counting. Recent tracking and tagging efforts of great whites have shown us that these animals are much more mobile than previously thought. Great whites were believed to be coastal and resident. Now we learn that they make surprisingly long trips out into open ocean waters and this may have mislead us into thinking that there are really more animals then there truly are.
At this time, however, great white sharks are classified as "vulnerable to extinction" on the red list of endangered species of the World Conservation Union. Whereas tigers ranks as either endangered, or critically endangered.
With great white sharks (and all shark species) being long lived, late to reach sexual maturity and bearing few offspring, they are equally susceptible as mammals to threats in their environment.
We can only hope that yet-to-be published data will make this clear to all, and great whites' status can be upgraded. Though it is sad to say that being listed as endangered has not been the great white hope for other species in similar circumstances. Time for a sea change.