Tigers help keep ecosystems balanced, which is an advantage; however, they occasionally eat humans or livestock, which is a disadvantage. While these disadvantages are serious, such occurrences are rare. When tigers are provided with enough habitat and natural prey, they do not cause many problems for humans. On the balance, tigers are important and beneficial components of the natural world that deserve the protection they are afforded.
Tigers are apex predators, which means that they have no natural predators as adults. Apex predators are very important to the habitats in which they live, as they keep prey species from growing into huge populations. Tigers primarily consume large herbivores, such as deer and pigs. When tigers are not around to keep the deer and pig populations in check, the herbivores will reach very high densities. When this happens, many of them starve or turn to human sources of food.
Tigers are disappearing in the wild because their habitat is being destroyed at an alarming rate. Tigers require primary forest habitat to survive, but humans have cut down much of their historic habitat to build towns and villages. Additionally, poachers, who seek to sell their parts for folk medicines, kill many tigers.