It’s estimated that more than 4500 tigers live in the wild, with 672 of them in Thailand alone. These beautiful creatures are integral to our ecosystem and cultural pillars around the world. In order to save these animals from extinction, let’s look at what is fueling their endangered state and learn why they may be threatened.
Why are tigers endangered?
The tiger is listed under the IUCN’s “Endangered” category and has been classified as “critically endangered” or possibly extinct. This status signifies that all of the tigers are in serious danger of dying out, and hunting of this species severely threatens their population. Despite this, some subspecies are even worse off– they are either extinct or critically endangered. Tigers historically became threatened because people hunted them for sport or to use their bones as rugs or wine tonic. Today, a dead tiger can fetch up to $60,000 on the black market because it was a target for illegal poaching operations.
What species is the closest to extinction?
There are nine sub-species of tigers, with Bengal (Indian) and the tigers being the most common. They have 3,500 individuals estimated in the wild today. However, they face steadily declining numbers. The government of both Russia and China declared them pests which led to their fatalities by hunters and poachers. There could be small populations remaining but if they’re in the wild these are unknown. There are approximately 450 Siberian tigers left outside captivity and they live in both Russia and China. As for the South China tiger, nothing is known about them or their populations in the wild as of right now due to a lack of precise estimates based on remote location of their habitat.
What tigers subspecies have already gone extinct?
The Bali tiger lived in modern-day Bali, colonizing the islands during the last ice age around 12,000 years ago. The last time they were recorded on the island was in 1930, but small populations likely remained until the 40s. They were hunted to extinction and left behind no place to live with disappearance of habitat loss.
The Javan tiger was native to Indonesian island of Java until it died off around 1970. They were smaller than other subspecies, but reportedly incredibly strong. They had bounties on their heads and suffered from hunting and massive habitation loss as cotton farming took away their essential reed-bed habitats along waterways. Some places purposely released poison to kill tigers faster than they could go extinct within a few decades.
The Caspian tiger was native to Turkey, Iran, the Caucasus, and around Central Asia and the Middle East. These widespread tigers were somewhere between Bengal tigers and Siberian tigers and were often used for sport in gladiatorial games due to their size and saw some habitat destruction due to cotton farming taking them away from rivers where they needed habitat most – however these predators lasted up until 1977 when there was little more left than bones remained from them indicating that they went extinct at an alarmingly fast
How many tigers are left in the world?
A study has found that in the early 1900s there were approximately 100,000 tigers across the globe. There is a 6% chance there will be wild tigers in their historical range now. Today, there are 8,000 captive tigers and around 5,000 wild tigers left in the world; of which 5,000 live in America.
Currently, there are 8,000 captive tigers in the world and around 5,000 wild tigers. Captive specimens include those located in zoos and on private properties across the world. Wild tigers have decreased in number by 95% over the past 100 years. In the early 1900s, there were approximately 100,000 tigers in the wild–a fraction of today’s number–in only a quarter of that time. Overall, tiger populations have dropped by 95% globally over a century.
Is the future looking better or worse for tigers?
As we know, tigers have faced a lot of challenges in the past. But, they seem to be doing better now so there is hope! The biggest success story for tigers is with Bengal tigers in India. After an extensive change in Indian government financed programs known as Project Tiger, Bengal tigers saw a two-fold increase in their population. This was all accomplished with reduced interactions between humans and tiger populations. It’s great to see how modernity and these societies can live peacefully with these beautiful creatures!
Fortunately, there is hope for tigers. Although they have experienced a 95% drop in their population, there seems to be some stability now. India’s “Project Tiger” has been an amazing success story for tigers with reduced interactions reported between them and humans, plus an increase in the number of Bengal tigers by twofold since the program was launched. A project like Project Tiger and the National Tiger Conservation Authority will not only help tigers thrive but also benefit mankind when territory and resources are shared properly.