Species: Tiger (Panthera tigris)
Status: Endangered (EN)
Interesting Fact: The pattern and distribution of a tigers stripes is unique to each tiger, and are used by scientists to identify individuals.
The tiger is an exceptional predator. Their short, heavily-muscled forelimbs, long, sharp, retractable claws and broad, powerful shoulders are well adapted to capture and subdue prey. With its stripy coat providing effective camouflage in tall grass and forest, the tiger adopts a ‘stalk and ambush’ approach to bring down deer, wild pigs and other prey. These large felids are predominantly solitary and territorial, and spend the majority of the year living and hunting alone.
There are nine subspecies of tiger, three of which are now extinct. Tigers were once found throughout central and southern Asia, but in the past 100 years, the tiger has lost more than 93% of its historic range. Poaching and illegal killing is one of the biggest threats to this species. Demand for tiger products, such as tiger bone for medicine, remains high. Coupled with habitat loss, the tiger is at serious risk of extinction. It’s estimated that the population is as low as 3,200. There are 13 countries where the tiger can be found, and these have pledged to double to number of wild tigers by 2022 by protecting habitat and stopping poaching and illegal trade. Success of this conservation effort is vital to save the remaining tiger populations.
Find out more about this charismatic cat on the WWF Website.
See images and videos of the different subspecies of tiger on the ARKive website.
Lauren Pascoe, ARKive Researcher