While you spend the winter piling on boots, mittens and the dreaded snow pants, all that big cats need to stay warm is what’s on their back – FUR! Those fuzzy coverings aren’t just for show, they help cats manage their body temperature and protect them from the rain and snow.
Animals like tigers, servals and leopards can’t survive without their fur. But every year, thousands of them are killed to make fancy coats and rugs.
After habitat destruction, animal trade is the second biggest threat to wildlife around the world.
Of all the big cats, tigers are the most in demand. One hundred years ago about 100,000 of these majestic beasts roamed across Asia. Now, there are only about 4,000 of them left in the wild. They are on the verge of being literally wiped off the face of the earth.
Other wild cats aren’t exactly safe, either. African Servals, like Sammy, are killed for ceremonies and traditional medicine (some cultures believe cats like tigers and servals have healing properties).
- Did You Know: It takes about 13 servals to make just one coat?
With more than enough coats to go around, the world could do with a few more tigers and leopards and servals instead. Then every time they turned a corner they wouldn’t have to stress about running into a hunter or trap.
All these cats play really important roles in their ecosystems. Taking them out would be like removing a Jenga piece – there would be a gaping hole, and everything else could fall apart without them.
Here’s what you can do to help make sure that cats like Sammy roam wild and free in the savannah, not some museum display:
- When you travel with your family, make sure no one brings home any furs or souvenirs made of ivory, skin or other animal parts
- Learn more and let people know that fur free is always in style