The (endangered) wild tiger has been roaming the planet for over two million years. One of the world’s most iconic and popular species is now fighting a battle for its very survival.
Wild Tiger numbers have declined by around 97% over the past hundred years due to habitat destruction and critically, the illegal wildlife trade. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were an estimated 150,000 tigers. Now, fewer than 3,900 remain in just 7% of their original habitat across 9 countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, and Thailand. It is a sad fact that there are now more tigers in captivity than there are in the wild.
Of the world's remaining tigers, there are six existing subspecies: The Amur tiger, Indochinese tiger, Malayan tiger, Sumatran tiger, Bengal tiger, South China tiger (now possibly extinct). The Caspian, Balinese and Javanese subspecies have all become extinct in the past 70 years.
Tigers are the largest of the big cat family and rely on their senses of sight and sound, rather than smell. Typically, they will hunt alone and stalk their prey - consuming up to 88Ibs of meat at any one time. The largest species of tiger is the Amur, with the Sumatran being the smallest. Typically, female tigers will give birth to 2-3 cubs every two years.
As Apex predators, tigers can shape the ecosystem in which they live. They also have large home ranges which mean by protecting their habitat we are also protecting the habitat of a large number of other species and maintaining forests which secure water and help mitigate climate change.