The Overview

Source:  The Overview    Tag:  bengal tiger physical characteristics
There are many sub-species of tigers throughout East Asia. Most of the tigers today have a range in India. However, they span throughout Sino-China, China and Siberia. Tigers are carnivores that live in large unfragmented habitats. 100 square KM of habitat is enough to support about 16 tigers without territory conflict. Female tigers inherit ranges from their mother, male tigers are free to roam the forest to hunt and mate. Needless to say, tigers are carnivores and mostly prey on ungulates such as wild pig, deer and water buffaloes. There have also been several known cases of man-eating tigers, one of the major causes of human-tiger conflict. Over the last century, 3 subspecies of tiger, the Bali, Javan, and Caspian, have been driven to extinction. As of today, there are a total of 6 species of tigers. Only 3200 of these tigers are left in the wild. About 20,000 are in captivity.
BENGAL TIGER: India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal
Names- Panthera tigris tigris, Indian Tiger, Bengal Tiger
Size & Weight - 3 Meters, 250 Kg
Habitat - Dry and wet decidious forest, grassland/sal/temperate forest, mangrove forest
~1850 individuals left in the wild
SUMATRAN TIGER: Indonesian island of Sumatra

Names- Panthera tigris sumatrae, Sumatran Tiger
Size & Weight - 250 cm, 80 -140 Kg
Habitat - Lowland Forest, Sub-Mountain Forest, Mountain Forest, Peat-Moss Forest

<400 individuals left in the wild
MALAYAN TIGER: Malay peninsula of Thailand

Names- Panthera tigris jacksoni, Malayan Tiger
Size & Weight- 200-239cm, 100-120 Kg
Habitat- Tropical and subtropical moist broad-leaf forest

~500 individuals left in the wild
  INDO-CHINESE TIGER: Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam

Names- Panthera tigris corbetti, Indochinese tiger
Size & Weight- 2.74 meters, 180 kg
Habitat- Tropical and subtropical moist broad-leaf forest

~300 individuals left in the wild

  SOUTH CHINA TIGER: Southeast China

Names- Panthera tigris amoyensis, south China tiger, amoy tiger
Size & Weight- 220-260cm, 110-175 Kg
Habitat- Moist forests of SE China

~0-10 individuals, believed to be extinct in wild
SIBERIAN TIGER: Southeast tip of Russia (Siberia), Northeast China

Names- Panthera tigris altaica, Amur tiger, Siberian tiger
Size & Weight- Up to 3 meters and 300 Kg
Habitat- Boreal forest

~450 individuals left in the wild
The range of all tiger species has been reduced dramatically over the last century. Human activities have been the primary cause of dwindling tiger populations. In the year 1900, there were as many as 100,000 tigers living in the wild. This number has now been reduced to less than 3200. The map on the left shows how tiger habitat has been reduced over the last decade. 93% of the original tiger habitat has been lost. The map on the left shows historic & current range.

Tigers were placed on the endangered species list in 1987. Global conservation groups have been successful in convincing governments to mandate rules that discourage further intrusion of tiger habitat and hunting of tigers. However, enforcement of these rules has been faulty and tiger populations continue to decline worldwide. Further inaction will ultimately result in the remaining tiger populations to go extinct, 3 subspecies have already gone extinct in the last century.

The dangers that tigers face have to be addressed both individually and collectively. The government must ramp up efforts and enforce laws that prevent tiger killing. Individuals need to be educated on the importance of biodiversity and conservation. Why not start here on this page?

Here are a few reasons why tigers should be saved from extinction:

1) Biodiversity & Healthy Ecosystems: Tigers live in dense forests that support numerous other organisms. Tigers living in their natural habitat are a strong indicator of a healthy ecosystem. In order for the tiger to survive, the protection of their habitat is essential. Dense forests are also good sinks of carbon. Natural carbon sinks are known to offset the rate of global warming because storage of carbon inhibits its release into the atmosphere, which is a major cause of global warming. In all, saving tiger habitat will not only create biodiversity and a healthy ecosystem, but will also help prevent global warming.

2) Majestic creature: Admit it or not, the tiger is a majestic animal. It is both loved and feared by everyone. It would be sad to see this exotic creature being driven to extinction and become a subject of only myths and legends for the generations to come. As humans, it is our responsibility to prevent the extinction of this creature. We owe it to ourselves to be able to see this wild cat live in the wild and not just behind cages.

3) Economic incentives: Tourism is a booming industry. The tiger attracts many tourists from all over the world. The death of a tiger means loss of money from tourism. A tiger can be killed and its skin can traded for money, once and once only. A tiger can live, reproduce, flourish and tourists will pay to see the tiger in its natural habitat for a lifetime. Obviously, tourism will generate more revenue than black market trade.