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North Frisian as an Endangered Language

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North Frisian as an Endangered Language Despite the North Frisian language being classified as an endangered minority language confined to a small region in Northern Germany and having fewer speakers annually, as newer generations are born and learn more established Germanic dialects, there is a strong movement dedicated to preserving the language from the German government as well as international organizations through the implementation of academic programs, transcription of manuscripts, dictionaries, and literature, and extensive assistance from existing native speakers, which intends to maintain an active interest in and use of the language. A language becomes endangered when its speakers no longer pass it onto the next generation. If there are no more native speakers, the language then becomes known as a “dead language.” A language only becomes extinct when there are no existing speakers of it. Although there are no established guidelines on how to identify whether or not a language is endangered, there are several indicators that are examined to determine if one is endangered: the number of living speakers, the mean age of native and fluent speakers, and the percentage of the youngest generation acquiring fluency with the language in question. These three criteria each influence how a language is evaluated, and one indicator does not always necessitate the other two. Endangered languages are not always languages with few speakers. Even though small communities are more vulnerable to external threats, the size of a group not always matters. The viability of a language is determined first and foremost by the general attitude of its speakers towards their heritage culture, of which their language may be considered the most important component (Brenzinger and Graaf 3). For instance, a language with only several hundred speakers might not be considered endangered if it is the primary language of a community, and is the first or only language of all children in that community. Conversely, some languages might have thousands of speakers but may be considered endangered because children are no longer learning them, and native speakers are beginning to use a more established language over the local dialect. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has defined an endangered language as a point when its speakers cease to use it, use it in an increasingly reduced number of communicative domains, and cease to pass it on from one generation to the next leading to no new speakers (UNESCO 2). UNESCO also distinguishes four levels of endangerment, with a fifth level being extinction. These levels of endangerment begin by classifying a language as “vulnerable,” where most children speak the language, but it may be restricted to certain domains, then onto “definitely endangered,” where children no longer learn the language as mother tongue in the home, eventually “severely endangered,” where the language is spoken by grandparents and older generations; while the parent generation may understand it, they do not speak it to children or among themselves, and lastly “critically endangered,” where the youngest speakers are grandparents and older, and they speak the language partially and infrequently (Moseley). Many speech communities of minority languages are shrinking and their languages will ultimately vanish, if these developments are not reversed, or preservation attempts not conducted. There are notable trends that have been established as reasons why a language might become endangered. Language endangerment may be caused primarily by external forces such as military, economic, religious, cultural, or educational subjugation. It may also be caused by internal forces, such as a community’s negative attitude towards its own language or by a general decline of group identity. Internal pressures always derive from external factors (Brenzinger and Graaf 3). One other factor that aids in endangering languages is globalization, in that nations implement more established languages that are viewed as universal, in order to communicate with other nations for the sake of domestic and foreign interests. There are many languages around the world that feel threatened by the encroachment of other larger languages. As English and other official languages gain more dominance in the world of trade and technology, other more established languages like Dutch and Danish begin to feel threatened (Tiersma 8). Due to globalization, parents are making their children speak a more established language that would increase their potential for a future job and education instead of a language that has been part of their heritage. This process leads to the loss of entire cultures when a language becomes endangered and eventually extinct, as there are stories, songs, histories, and documents that are no longer being passed on to future generations. The Frisian dialects are members of the Germanic family of languages, and are the closest living languages related to English (“Frisian and Free”). There is evidence of the existence of the Frisians that dates as far back as 200 B.C. The first written record of the Frisians was made by the Roman historian Pliny in 12 A.D. (Mahmood 17). Pliny described the Frisians as being located near the mouth of the Rhine river and although the exact extent of their territory is uncertain, it is known that Frisian was spoken along the North Sea coast between what is now Ijsselmeer in the Netherlands and the Weser river in Germany. At the peak of their power, the Frisians dominated the entire North seashore, as evidenced by its former name the Mare Frisicum, or the Frisian Sea (Jellema). They lived on land that was reclaimed from the sea, and built up mounds of dirt to keep their houses above sea level. The fact that they lived on the margin of the land and the sea suggests that they were refugees (Mahmood 18). Textual reference is also made to the Frisians in the seventh century Old English poem Widsith and in the epic Beowulf (Mahmood 17). The Frisians were a powerful and independent people. They were unique in Europe in that they did not adopt the feudal system. The Frisians have many legends associated with them, and they gained a reputation for their resistance to authority. The period known as Old Frisian, which dated from A.D. 1200-1550, consists of the oldest known complete texts in the Frisian language. These texts, known as the Lex Frisionum, are legal documents detailing Frisian Freedoms. The Lex Frisonum, of Charlemagne expressed in written form, the oral Frisian folk law, and also protected certain rights (Mahmood 18). It was in the Lex Frisonum that the phrase “the free Frisian” appeared for the first time. The Frisian was to be free to defend himself against the sea and the attack of the “wild Viking” (Mahmood 2). The period of Middle Frisian began around 1550 and lasted up until the 1800s. Even before the period known as Middle Frisian began, Frisian ceased to be the official language in the region. Dutch became the official language for legal documents and government affairs. Through this period the Frisian were able to maintain their language and folk history. The poet of Gysbert Japix, helped Frisian maintain a literary tradition as well. The New Frisian period which began in the early 1800s brought with it more writers and poets. The efforts of these writers, and the establishment of the Fryske Beweging, or Frisian Movement, allowed Frisian to be seen as an official language. Frisian is increasingly being seen as a valid medium for government, school, church, and literature (Tiersma 4). Today, there are an estimated eight-to-ten thousand speakers of the North Frisian language, with five thousand speakers living inside the region (“Die Friesen”). There are a total of ten dialects of North Frisian divided between mainland and insular groups (Århammar). The insular dialects are Sylt Frisian (Söl'ring), Föhr-Amrum Frisian (Fering/Öömrang), and Heligolandic Frisian (Halunder). The mainland dialects are Wiedingharde Frisian, Bökingharde Frisian (Mooring), Karrharde Frisian, Northern Goesharde Frisian, Central Goesharde Frisian, Southern Goesharde Frisian, which has been considered extinct since 1981, and Halligen Frisian. The mainland and insular dialects differ from one other because they were shaped by Frisian immigrants during several different centuries. There are also various influences of neighboring languages on the dialects. On Sylt, Föhr and Amrum as well as in parts of the northern mainland there is a strong South Jutlandic influence, whereas on Heligoland and the rest of mainland North Frisia the Low German influence is predominant. There has historically only been a limited exchange between the dialects so that a bridge language could develop and there was no cultural center in North Frisia whose dialect would have been able to take a leading role. North Frisian became classified as endangered when there were no children learning it either in the home or through their education, and is listed by UNESCO as “severely endangered” (Salminen). There are exceptions to the classification, and these are a few villages on the islands of Föhr and Amrum and the Risum-Lindholm area. In the western parts of Föhr, the language community is still established and active among its members, where there are as many as three thousand speakers (Århammar). One contributing factor to the language becoming severely endangered is that all speakers of North Frisian are at least bilingual, with Standard German being the second fluent language, as well as the more common language taking over. Many speakers are also trilingual, having learned Low German as well. There are also instances along the Danish border where some speakers are even quadrilingual, learning South Jutlandic in addition to the prior three dialects. North Frisian dialects on the Eiderstedt peninsula were abandoned in favor of Low German during the 17th century. Eiderstedt was economically strong and wealthy and was oriented towards the southern, Low German parts of Schleswig-Holstein, which influenced it towards Low German. In another situation, the island of Strand, was destroyed though during the Burchardi flood of October 1634. The population of the eastern, remaining part of Strand, the modern Nordstrand, did not succeed in rebuilding the dikes on their own. Due to this many Frisian speaking people were forced to leave their homeland on Strand or were not able to maintain their native language against the numbers of Dutch speaking immigrants. On Pellworm, the western remainder of Strand, the repairing of the dikes was accomplished and so the Frisian language was spoken into the 18th century until it also vanished due to changes in population structure. The Wyk Frisian dialect used to be spoken in Wyk auf Föhr until the town completely shifted to Low German. The Wyk dialect developed from the dialects of immigrants from the Halligen and Strand island. The most recent dialect to become extinct is Southern Goesharde Frisian which became extinct with the death of its last speaker in 1981 (Århammar). The North Frisian language is now extinct north of the German-Danish border but it is estimated that Frisian dialects were once spoken there as well. One major historical factor that influenced the rise and fall of North Frisian as a language begins when the Frisians lost their independence to the Counts of Holland in 1498. Dutch then became the official language for legal documents and government affairs. Only in recent times has Frisian has received some recognition as an official language. Five centuries have passed where Frisian has been a minority language surrounded by Dutch. Due to this, there is a large amount of Dutch influence on the language. During the Napoleonic occupation of Friesland, the French created a mandate for permanent last names. Until this time it had been customary for the family to reverse the first and second name of each generation. For example, a man named Jan Kirk would name his son Kirk Jan. When it became necessary to choose a last name, many Frisians simply kept the one they had, adding a suffix “-stra” or “-sma.” Others created last names for themselves based on their place of birth or occupation. Some Frisians, possibly with the intent of mocking the French rule and owing to their history of being stubborn, gave themselves joking names like “little cheese” (Mahmood 27). This lead to French having a noticeable influence on the North Frisian language. There are three main steps to stabilize or rescue a language when it is determined to be endangered. The first step is language documentation, the second is language revitalization and the third is language maintenance (Fernando, Valijarvi, and Goldstein). Language documentation is the process documented from a documentary linguistics perspective, and forms the base from which the other two steps are performed, where the brunt of information is collected to create as thorough a record as possible. There are many tasks to documenting a language which range from recording, transcription with help from the International Phonetic Alphabet and a practical orthography for the dialect, annotation and analysis, translation into a language of wider communication, as well as archiving and dissemination. The purpose of these tasks is to create a set of records that help to describe the language, which involves examining its structures and rules in order to form a grammar and lexicon (Chang). Language documentation also involves the positive promotion of attitudes toward endangered languages both outside and inside the community, which can be done by introducing and enforcing linguistic practices (Fernando, Valijarvi, and Goldstein). Language revitalization is the attempt by individuals, cultural or community groups, governments, or political authorities, to reverse the decline of a language if it is endangered. The point to language revival is to recover the spoken use of the language and although the goals of language revitalization vary by community and situation, a goal of many communities is to return a language that is extinct or endangered to daily use. There are eight-steps that serve as general guidelines on how to revive an endangered language (Fishman). These were created by the linguist, Joshua Fishman, with emphasis on the concentration of the earlier stages of restoration until they have been consolidated before proceeding to the later stages. The eight stages begin with the acquisition of the language by adults, who act as “language apprentices,” then motions to create a socially integrated population of active speakers of the language where it is best to concentrate on spoken language over written language, then in localities where there are a reasonable number of people habitually using the language, encourage the informal use of the language among people of all age groups and within families and bolster its daily use through the establishment of local neighborhood institutions in which the language is encouraged, protected and used exclusively, then in areas where oral competence in the language has been achieved in all age groups encourage literacy in the language but in a way that does not depend upon assistance from the state education system, and where the state permits it, and where numbers warrant, encourage the use of the language in compulsory state education, where the above stages have been achieved and consolidated, encourage the use of the language in the workplace, then encourage the use of the language in local government services and mass media, and lastly to in encourage the use of the language in higher education and government (Fishman). This model of language revival by Fishman is intended to direct efforts to where they are most effective and to avoid wasting energy trying to achieve the later stages of recovery when the earlier stages have not been achieved. Language maintenance is the support given to languages that are still vital to the world, but need to be protected and encouraged by outsiders, who affect the number of speakers of a language (Fernando, Valijarvi, and Goldstein). All of this applies to the North Frisian language in that it must undergo the processes listed above to see documentation of the language, which is already extensive with many prominent literary works protected as well as a phonological comparisons among the dialects of North Frisian as well as to the Standard German and Dutch languages. It must see language revitalization, where it is spoken more commonly in higher education and government, as well as in the home. Children must be learning it to help further its importance in society. There needs to be maintenance on the language that is existing, with increased promotion to outsiders as a language of culture significance. These are all options that the North Frisian language are presented with in order to be revived, and the fortunate part is that with nearly ten thousand speakers, each is very feasible if effort and care is placed into preserving the foundation and structure of the language and remaining dialects. North Frisian has received some recognition as an official language, but only recently in its long history. Notable efforts to preserve the entire Frisian Language began in the twentieth century, when Douwe Kalma created the Young Frisian Fellowship in 191, and made the language take steps into a political, religious, and cultural setting (Mahmood 84). In 1925, the Christian Frisian Association stated that the Frisian language must be a national movement, one that preserves the language, and makes it the official language of the government and the church of Friesland (Mahmood 84). The significance of this statement by the Christian Frisian Association was that Dutch had been viewed as the official language of the church. By declaring that Frisian was to take the place of Dutch in the church as well as government establishments, it acted as the catalyst to the revitalization and preservation of language and its dialects. Throughout the remainder of the century, people began to build Frisian libraries, schools, theaters and other organizations. The Frisian Academy was founded in 1938 in order to serve as a research center for issues dealing with the language. Another important day in the Frisian revitalization movement was on November 16, 1951, where a poet, and popular leader named Fredde Schurer, criticized a judge for refusing to allow a Frisian defendant to use his native language in court. Shurer was nearly imprisoned, causing a mass demonstration outside the courtroom. The Dutch police were authorized to use clubs against the demonstrators. For this reason the day is known as Kneppel-Freed or “Club Friday”. Then, in 1955, a law was passed allowing Frisian to be used in the courts (Mahmood 85). This was only the beginning to the revitalization of the Frisian and more specifically North Frisian language. Today there is an overwhelming support by the German government to establish and preserve North Frisian as an official language, and to encourage its use in education and everyday life. The elementary and grammar school on Amrum is called Öömrang Skuul and among other subjects focuses on teaching the local dialect. Fering is also taught in schools on Föhr and the Risum Skole/Risem Schölj in Risum-Lindholm on the mainland is a combined Danish-Frisian elementary school. These are but a couple schools that have enacted education policies that include North Frisian as an official language to be instructed upon. In Schleswig-Holstein, the North Frisian language is protected by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages as a minority language. On December 24, 2004 a state law became effective in Schleswig-Holstein that recognises the North Frisian language for official use in the Nordfriesland district and on Heligoland (“Friesisch-Gesetz”). This was a major step towards the revitalization of North Frisian as well, in that it allowed the language to be spoken freely by all citizens and encouraged its use. There is also a large level of support from UNESCO to preserve the language, through the help of linguists and other researchers who are implementing the three steps to rejuvenating a language. Should North Frisian and its ten dialects become extinct, there would a significant loss to not only the local communities who speak the language, but to the international community as there would be a complete culture of oral and written history that has been lost to external and internal factors like globalization. A rich tradition would be forgone in light of more established dialects of German and Dutch. The laws that have been passed and the steps that have been taken to ensure that North Frisian, and furthermore the entire Frisian language, to remain active and stable are a tremendous start to preserving it in time. Rejuvenation of the North Frisian language has only left its infancy from the last century, there is still time left to keep it relevant to communities, and knowing the stubborn past of the Frisian people, it won’t disappear without an earnest chance at staying alive.

Works Cited
Århammar, Nils (2007). "Das Nordfriesische, eine bedrohte Minderheitensprache in zehn Dialekten: eine Bestandsaufnahme". In Munske, Horst H. (in German). Sterben die Dialekte aus? Vorträge am Interdisziplinären Zentrum für Dialektforschung an der Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.
Brenzinger, Matthias, and Tjeerd De Graaf. "Documenting Endangered Languages and Language Maintenance." UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (2003): 3. Print.
Chang, Debbie. 2011. TAPS: Checklist for Responsible Archiving of Digital Language Resources. MA thesis: Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics. .
"Die Friesen Und Ihr Friesisch." Schleswig-Holstein ⓠFriesisch. Schleswig-Holstein. Web. 19 Apr. 2012. .
Fernando, C., Valijarvi, R. L.., Goldstein, R. A. (Feb 2012). "A Model of the Mechanisms of Language Extinction and Revitalization Strategies to Save Endangered Languages". Human Biology.
Fishman, J. A. (1991). Reversing language Shift: Theory and Practice of Assistance to Threatened Languages. Clevedon : Multilingual Matters.
"Friesisch-Gesetz." ⓠWikisource. Wikisource, Dec. 2004. Web. 19 Apr. 2012. .
Jellema, Roderick. The Sound that Remains: A Collection of Frisian Poetry. bilingual ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989.
Mahmood, Cynthia Keppley. Frisian and Free: Study of an ethnic minority in The Netherlands. Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc. 1989.
Minola. "Frisian and Free: The History and Survival of the Frisian Language." Language. Quipo, 15 Aug. 2001. Web. 14 Apr. 2012. .
Moseley, Christopher, ed. (2010). Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, 3rd edition.. Paris: UNESCO Publishing.
Salminen, Tapani (1993–1999). "Northern Frisian". UNESCO Red Book of endangered Languages: Europe. University of Helsinki.
Tiersma, Pieter Meijas. Frisian Reference Grammar. Dordrecht: Floris Publications, 1985.
UNESCO ad Hoc Expert Group on Endangered Languages (2003). "Language Vitality and Endangerment."…...

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...Endangered Animals in the Philippines Philippine Eagle The Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) also referred to as monkey-eating eagle, is an eagle subspecies that belong to the family of Accipitridae and is native to Philippine. These eagle display white-colored plumage together with the shaggy crest, averaging 86 – 102 cm (2 ft 10 in to 3 ft 4 in) in length. The weight of these species measure around 4.7 – 8 kg (10 – 18 lb). As far as the eagle’s length is concerned, Philippine eagle is the largest, harpy eagle and the stellar’s sea eagle being the other contenders. They are also regarded as the rarest and the most powerful birds in the world. Philippine eagle is also the national bird of Philippine. One of the foremost causes of the population decline is habitat loss or deforestation Philippine Spotted Deer Philippine spotted deer (Rusa alfredi) also known as Visayan spotted deer, is an endangered species of deer that inhabits all along the islands of Panay and Negros. These are nocturnal animals and are known to reside all throughout the islands of Leyte, Samar, Cebu, Masbate and Guimaras. According to a survey conducted by the IUCN in 1996, there were around 2,500 species in the world. Scientists aren’t sure about how many species are exactly left now. These deer primarily feeds on leaves, buds, and grasses. Philippine Freshwater Crocodile The Philippine freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis), also called Mindoro crocodile is a subspecies of crocodile......

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Endangered Species in Cambodia

...Endangered Species in Cambodia Source: http://cambodia.panda.org/wwf_in_cambodia/endangered_species Special thanks to: Samnang SAN Student of Faculty of Forestry, Royal University of Agriculture for providing Khmer names to some of the wildlife below. Just 50 years ago, large herbivores like Banteng, Asian Elephant, and Eld’s Deer as well as predators like Indochinese tiger and leopard were so abundant in the Dry Forests of North and Northeast Cambodia that scientists compared this ecoregion to the savannas of East Africa. In the troubled decades that followed, however, habitat destruction and hunting greatly reduced animal numbers and diversity. Today, the largest intact dry forests in Indochina remain in north-eastern Cambodia in an area known as the Eastern Plains Landscape (EPL). Cambodia large variety of habitats both on land and in water are home to a significant diversity of threatened wildlife species. Among mammals, wild cattle and deer species as well as predators like tiger and leopard still roam the remote forests of the Eastern Plains Landscape, while a small population of Irrawaddy Dolphin inhabits the Cambodian section of the Mekong River. Birds are equally plentiful - especially Cambodia's populations of large waterbirds in both forests and wetlands stand out as globally significant. The Mekong River is also home to several endangered and iconic fish and reptile species, and critically endangered Siamese crocodile have been......

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The Red Wolf: an Endangered Species

...The Red Wolf: An Endangered Species The Red Wolf (Canis rufus) is an animal currently listed as endangered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). As with many of the endangered species of the world, this species once inhabited an area much larger than it currently exists in. The USFWS as well as the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) are currently working to secure a future for the Red Wolf. Historically, the Red Wolf, numbering in the thousands, roamed a vast area ranging from south central Texas to Florida and northward as far as the Ohio River. There are, however, those who maintain that the species existed as far north as Pennsylvania and others believing this area included Maine (USFWS, 2007). Regardless of how large their domain was the Red Wolf eventually became extinct in the wild. Those left numbered only in the few hundreds and lived in captivity. Not until 1987 did the Red Wolf return to the wild where they today only number just over 100, and these only exist in a very small area of eastern North Carolina. Organizations such as the USFWS and NCWRC continue to monitor the Red Wolf population. They have solicited help from local citizens who inform these groups of interactions with the species. Installing passageways, both under and over existing roadways, has increased access to habitat that limits the species mortality. Examples such as these help to insure an increase of the Red Wolf population. ...

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Endangered Language

...recognize Laz Language as a minority language is because the government is concerned about that multi-language usage would lay a threat on the current Turkish authority. According to the radio, Turkish is the only official language and also the only language that allowed to be taught in schools. Since language, for the most of the time is largely associated with culture, not letting the younger generation to carry on the culture that is different from the standard nowadays’ Turkish culture, in the government’s believe, would help the stabilize the current political situation. Tangwang, which uses mostly Mandarin words and morphemes with Dongxiang grammar, is one of the endangered languages in China. Over the years, the local government has done a series of actions to protect this endangered language. Although the language used in school is Mandarin, the government still encourages that parents talk to their children in Tangwang language at home. Every year, the government will hold Tangwang Festival that not only attracts the tourists but also spread this endangered culture. In China, since the dominant culture is Han culture and the major/official language used is Mandarin, it is very hard for younger generations to get interested for their local ancient culture. In my opinion, the government should offer benefit to motivate younger generations, including lower college entrance exam grade required if choose to study endangered language or mixing the endangered language......

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Language Theories

...heories about how young children acquire and develop language Young children become amazingly proficient communicators during the first three years of life. As the Birth to Three Matters framework points out, they use 'the hundred languages of children' - body language (including facial expressions and dance); sign language (their own and family inventions as well as an officially recognised sign language); painting, drawing and mark-making; and oral expression. They have been acutely active listeners since their days in the womb, where they learned to recognise the speech patterns, tunes and tones of the languages used in their home contexts. Language theory research informs us that young children's language development is influenced by many factors, including having sensitive adults and older children around them who will listen and attend to their expressions and who will use and model appropriate language themselves. This has been called 'Motherese' by researchers led by Cathy Snow. Children's babbling during their first year includes the sounds of every world language and 'crib talk' demonstrates their intense interest in the sounds they hear around them. Although children with a hearing loss will stop babbling, if they grow up in a home with parents who can sign, they will follow the same patterns of development using their first language - signing - and will sign their first word at around the same age that hearing children speak theirs. Between two and three......

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Endangered Tigers

...Endangered Tigers Today wild tigers exist in Eastern Russia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bhutan, India and Nepal. In order to live in the wild, tigers need water to drink, animals to hunt, and vegetation in which to hide. As the mountains, jungles, forests, and long grasses that have long been home to tigers disappear, so too, do tigers. Agricultural expansion, timber cutting, new roads, human settlement, industrial expansion and hydroelectric dams push tigers into smaller and smaller areas of land. These small areas of forests are surrounded by rapidly growing and relatively poor human populations, including increasing numbers of illegal hunters. Tigers compete with an expanding human population and industry for land and food, many tigers are killed by poachers who sell the tiger’s body parts as ingredients for traditional Chinese medicines. If these trends continue, the wild tiger may evolve from being an endangered species and off the endangered species list to become an extinct species. Without wilderness, the wild tiger will not survive. If the world is not careful, one of the beautiful creatures on the planet will become extinct. Everyday more and more tigers are being slaughtered for their skin, bones, meat, and other organs to produce clothes, home décor, medicine, food and even alcohol. For example bones are soaked in alcohol to make wine, and ground up bone mixed with herbs is believed to relieve pain such as......

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