Uuhhhh...remember this thing? The snake enshrined in booze?
For starters, humans will eat anything - and on "They Actually Eat That," we mean anything. Homo sapiens is an omnivorous species of ape that, when not given the proper mixed diet, goes insane. There is a disorder called pica that develops whenever people are sorely missing a needed nutrient. Eating anything we can is no longer just an option; it is a way of life.
That said, being an omnivore is just part of what makes humans a "broken" species. Unlike most animals, we tend to systematically eradicate things that we find threats or food. Hell, sometimes we don't even mean to do it - it happens because of little animals that we bring along. When we do mean to eliminate a species, it is because we have put two and two together and found a way to stop whatever is terrorizing us. (Making this worse is what I call the "OMG They Killed Kenny!" reaction - one human dies and everybody gets upset over it.) Humans are mean like that; such behavior is beyond self-defense.
Tigers, being large, threatening animals that can potentially eat people, are wiped out a lot. The Bali Tiger was eradicated not because it was awesome, but because it was seen as evil. The Javan tiger was killed off by a number of things, including general forest clearing and many of its prey species being threatened by disease and poisoning. The Caspian tiger became extinct because the Russians just plain wanted it dead [insert "Soviet Russia" joke here]. Point is, we know how to kill tigers and are very, very good at it.
In Soviet Russia, tiger kills...no, wait. No it doesn't.
What the hell made you think we wouldn't try eating big, bad tigers, just to prove that we really are the "1337 H4XX0rz" of nature?
They Actually Eat That?!
China is big on eating and drinking tigers. Surprise, surprise.
In China, the tiger is king. Their symbol for 'king' is derived from the forehead marking of a tiger. There are no lions in China, so they made the tiger the ruler of everything with fur. A white tiger ("Bai Hu" or "Byakko") is the ruler of the Western quarter of the Chinese sky. It is also the sign in the Zodiac most likely to 'rise to the top,' so to speak, and is considered one of the most masculine animals out there.
This symbolic potency means that they are used for...everything that you would not use a dead tiger for. Their pelts are burned to keep centipedes out of the house. Their blood is used as a general "good health" tonic. The bones cure almost anything you can think of, including burns and malaria. The genitals, welllll...
You're gonna cut off my WHAT for WHAAAT?!
Yes, they eat tiger penis as an aphrodisiac. If you see "Tiagra" appearing at your local organic health food store, stay faaaar away.
Before you all say how horrible this is already, China has over 6,000 (often abused) tigers in captivity thanks to the popularity of tiger medicine. After banning the trade of those magical tiger bones, tiger breeders are trying a new tactic: tiger bone wine. Apparently you can sell bones in wine but not by themselves. Oh, Chinese laws.
This farming does, however, have an up-side. The Scimitar-Horned Oryx had a similar situation; its population is now limited to game reserves, but they're alive. At least if the wild tigers go extinct, there will be tigers left to replenish the Asian jungles. It is not a good situation, but it could be a lot worse.
I love you. Now stop eating my organs.