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Tigers of the World—Beautiful and Near Extinction

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Tigers of the World!

Tigers of the World!

The most breathtaking tigers in the wild are near extinction! Did you know that? Well, it is, unfortunately, true. As a child, I always adored tigers, and I still do, and I'm sure most of you do too. Their images are high school mascots, sports teams, and companies. Their beautiful faces are everywhere!

But the question remains, how many tigers are extinct and living? I don't know about you, but this problem concerns me. These are beautiful animals and need saving.

Let's find out what's happening to this beloved big cat!

In This Article I'll Discuss:

  • Tigers of the World: Scientific Names
  • Global Population
  • Where Do Tigers Live?
  • Tiger Reproduction
  • How Long is the Gestation Period?
  • Cubs Hunting Lessons Begins
  • The Power of the Alpha Predator
  • Tiger Facts
  • More Tiger Facts
  • Tigers Have the Largest Canines
  • The Most Beautiful Big Cat in the World

Tigers of the World: Scientific Names

Several species of tigers are struggling to survive in the wild today, and some are now considered extinct.

But how many species and subspecies of tigers are extinct and living? Tigers once roamed across Asia from Turkey to Eastern Siberia and across large parts of South and Southeast Asia.

Endangered Species

  • Sumatran Tiger – Panthera Tigris Sumatra (smallest species) –Critically Endangered
  • Siberian Tiger (aka Amur Tiger) – Panthera Tigris Altaica (largest species) – Endangered
  • Bengal Tigers – Panthera Tigris Tigris – Endangered
  • Indochinese Tiger – Panthera Tigris Corbetti – Endangered
  • South China Tiger – Panthera Tigris Amoyensis – Critically endangered, extinct in the wild.
  • Malayan Tiger – Panthera Tigris Jacksoni – Assumed Endangered

Extinct Tiger Species

  • Bali Tiger – Panthera Tigris Balica – Extinct since 1937
  • Caspian Tiger Panthera Tigris Virgata – Extinct since the 1950s
  • Javan Tiger – Panthera Tigris Sondaica – Extinct since 1970s

Tigers are territorial and solitary animals, except during mating season. They are charismatic megafauna, which means they are large animals with popular mainstream appeal in society.

Megafauna means "large enough to be seen with the naked eye" or "a large mammal of a particular region."

Map of Where Tigers Roam

Map of Where Tigers Roam

Global Population

In the 1900s, an estimated 100,000 tigers lived in the wild, and now only 3,200 exist, and most tigers live in captivity! And now tigers are almost non-existent! Why? This is due to poaching their bones, skin, and other body parts for profit and medicinal purposes.

Why are they nearing extinction?

But what is the cause? Fragmentation reduces food supply. And habitat destruction caused by builders and the logging industry. Pushing the tigers closer to humans is dangerous for the tigers and humans.

Men hunt wild tigers for their pleasure and greed!

On top of that, the logging industry has cleared most of the land where tigers hunt—causing starvation, another threat to these beautiful cats!

The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) counts the number of tigers in the wild at 3,890.

The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) counts the number of tigers in the wild at 3,890.

Where Do Tigers Live?

Tigers are native to Asia; as of 2016, their population is much smaller than it used to be.

The following countries and regions are where they live.

  • Southeast Asia
  • India
  • Western China
  • Some parts of Russia

Location of Tiger Breeding Populations

  • Bhutan
  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia
  • Thailand
  • Russia
  • Nepal

Tigers Known Habitats

Tigers live in various environments, including caves, hollow trees, and secluded areas. But they prefer areas with dense coverings, such as forests and vegetation. All sites need access to plenty of water and prey to hunt.

Usually, only one area can support a hungry tiger.

Tigers are solitary animals who live in scent-marked territories depending on the availability of prey in that area. Usually, only one site can support a hungry tiger. And it could be big trouble if another tiger doesn’t honor the claimed territory.

As of 2010, officials representing China’s Jilin Province and Russia’s Primorsky Province, and northern areas of the Korean Peninsula signed an agreement to set up protected regions with shared borders to safeguard the tiger.

Breeding Season

Breeding Season

Tiger Reproduction and the Courtship Ritual

The tigress reaches sexual maturity at about three to four years old, while the males mature later at four to five years old. There is no “breeding season” where the female tigers go “into heat” (also known as entering oestrus).

Instead, the tigress is ready to mate any time throughout the year.

The Courtship Ritual

The tigress attracts their potential mates by vocalizing consisting of roars and moans. They also mark their territory with distinctive smelling urine. And when the tigress and male tiger meet, they perform a courtship ritual. They move in circles around each other while vocalizing.

The tigress then begins to lick, groom, and caress the male as she rolls around on the ground.

Then they growl, approach, and separate, and they agree to mate when they reach mutual trust. The tigress then begins to lick, groom, and caress the male as she rolls around on the ground. And she lies face down, indicating that she is “ready.”

Then mating begins, and they go through this several times during the “heat” period for about five or six days.

Did You Know?

Tiger urine smells like buttered popcorn. Also, tigers can tell other tigers' age, gender, and reproductive condition by smelling urine markings.

How Long Is the Gestation Period?

The gestation period is approximately sixteen weeks, during which she will give birth to five or six cubs. She seeks tall grass, dense thickets, caves, and rocky crevices to give birth.

The mother lactates for about five to six months, and after the cubs are no longer nursing, she takes them on territorial walks to teach them how to hunt.

(The male tiger doesn’t help raise the cubs; the mother takes care of them alone.)

Mother tiger and her cub!

Mother tiger and her cub!

Cubs Hunting Lessons Begin

Tiger mothers teach their cubs hunting lessons when they are five to six months old. By the time the cubs reach 11 to 18 months, they become successful independent hunters.

The cubs remain with their mother for two to three years. And then they leave to find their territory and have their cubs. Sometimes the female cub stays with their mother only if there is enough food to feed the two of them.

The male tigers leave their mother’s den to establish their territories. If the young male crosses an alpha male’s territory, he may let this junior tiger remain on his territory. But when the junior tiger reaches maturity, he will have to fight the Alpha male over that territory. (Sometimes fighting till death.)

When that junior cub reaches full maturity, they will fight to take over said territory, sometimes fighting to the death.

Alpha Male Tiger

Alpha Male Tiger

The Power of the Alpha Predator

Tigers are powerful alpha/apex predators. A predator resides at the top of a food chain where no other creatures’ prey. And they are crepuscular animals as well. Which means they’d rather hunt at night.

"Apex predators are usually defined by trophic dynamics, meaning that apex-predator species occupy the highest trophic levels or levels and play a crucial role in maintaining the health of their ecosystems.” (Wikipedia)

Fun Fact: Tigers (alpha predators) kill animals twice their size!

These twilight hunters travel many miles to hunt a variety of animals such as:

  • Deer
  • Buffalo
  • Wild Boar (Native ungulates or “hoofed mammals” are their favorite.)

Did You Know?

Tigers don’t like wasting food, so when they have leftover food from a vast kill, they drag it to a thicket and loosely bury it with leaves. When they are hungry later, they return and finish eating it.

Beautiful White Bengal tiger

Beautiful White Bengal tiger

Tiger Facts

  • Tigers consume up to forty kilograms (88.2 pounds) of meat in a single meal; however, they often eat smaller amounts.
  • Tigers are one of nature's most feared predators and the most prominent cat family and are renowned for their power and strength.
  • They can jump up to thirty-three feet in a single leap!
  • A tiger's roar can be heard up to 1.8 miles (3 kilometers).
  • It is the national animal of India, Bangladesh, and Vietnam.
  • Tigers also appear on many flags and coats of arms and as mascots for sporting teams.
  • No two tigers have the same stripes; they're each different, thus enabling individual tigers to be identified by their unique markings. Just like human fingerprints are not the same either.
  • The word "tiger" comes from the Greek word "Tigris," which originated from a Persian word meaning "arrow."

More Tiger Fun Facts

  • 1611 The English word “Tigress” was first documented.
  • The tiger’s scientific name is Panthera Tigris.
  • Males are more significant than females; for instance, a Siberian male tiger can weigh anywhere from 660 to 700 pounds and be as tall as 10.5 feet (elevated as a one-story building).
  • The female weighs 200 to 370 pounds and measures 8.5 feet (2.6 m).
  • In China and other parts of Asia, some people believe that various tiger parts have medicinal properties, including painkillers and aphrodisiacs.
  • In Ancient Roman times, tigers were kept in menageries and arenas to be exhibited, trained, and provoked to fight against humans and various exotic beasts.
Tigers love water to keep them cool

Tigers love water to keep them cool

Tigers Have the Largest Canines

  • Tigers love water: they might spend the day relaxing in a pond or a river to cool off during scorching summer days!
  • Tigers hunt in the water and catch prey.
  • Tigers are the most prominent canines of all the big cat species.
  • Their teeth are razor sharp and can grow up to three inches in length!
  • An adult tiger's tail can grow up to 3.3 feet in length. The tail is used to communicate, just like domestic cats. If relaxed, the tail hangs loosely.
  • When a tiger is aggressive, he moves his tail quickly from side to side. He also holds it low and twitches it now and then. (Just like the domestic cat does).
  • When several tigers are present at a kill, the males often wait for females and cubs to eat first. Unlike lions, which do the opposite, tigers rarely argue or fight over a kill and wait for their turns.
  • The markings on a tiger's forehead closely resemble the Chinese character for "King," giving tigers a cultural status as regal animals.

The Most Beautiful Big Cat in the World

Tigers are the most beautiful cats and have had some rough times. These Alpha Kings of the Big Cat world are even more significant than your average Lion.

If only there were more Tigers in the wild instead of in captivity, they would thrive and multiply, and only if humans give them their space and quit taking their land and food resources, then these awesome cats will have a chance to grow in numbers.

These big cats are smart and extremely intelligent, and we can learn so much about our felines by watching their big brothers and sisters in the wild! I love watching tigers move because they are so beautiful, and I hope to see them one day at a sanctuary!

If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also enjoy the following:

The Siberian Tiger


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Donna Rayne


Donna Rayne (author) from Sparks, NV on September 16, 2020:

Thank you very much!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on June 11, 2020:

A very well written and well researched article about the Tigers of the World.

I find these wild animals, most fascinating. And, I have been fortunate to see them, in the National parks of India.

Thank You for sharing this wonderful and informative article.

Donna Rayne (author) from Sparks, NV on April 03, 2020:

Thank you, Devika, I noticed that when I first got here and I removed it. But, I thank you for telling me. I'm glad you liked my article.


Donna Rayne

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 03, 2020:

Hi Donna Rayne firstly I would like to let you know that the video is not available maybe the link is broken. I like tigers you have a well-researched hub on these species.

Big cats such as tigers are beautiful and shouldn't be destroyed by humans intentionally or at all. Rough times can ruin the life of a tiger.

Donna Rayne (author) from Sparks, NV on March 10, 2020:

Haha, thank you so much, Peggy :) I'm glad you like it!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 10, 2020:

It is a shame that the population of tigers in the wild is so decimated. They are magnificent animals. I learned so much by reading your article about them. The one thing that is likely to stick in my mind is the odor of their urine the next time I eat popcorn. Haha!

Donna Rayne (author) from Sparks, NV on March 10, 2020:

Yes, they are beautiful and mysterious! I love these big cats. Have a great day and I would love to see some of your drawings of them.


Donna Rayne

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on March 08, 2020:

I've always loved drawing and painting these big cats. There is something really intriguing about the facial structure and the stripes.



Donna Rayne (author) from Sparks, NV on March 08, 2020:

Thank you very much, Eiddwen, I look forward to following you too and there is more to come in my Big Cat Series. I'm working on the Bengal Tiger right now :) But, that's our secret shhh...

Eiddwen from Wales on March 07, 2020:

Being a cat lover this very interesting hub on these beautiful big cats was indeed a treat for me. Thank you for sharing Donna and I now look forward to following you on here.

Donna Rayne (author) from Sparks, NV on March 04, 2020:

Thank you so much, Manatita, they are very beautiful but deadly!


Donna Rayne

Donna Rayne (author) from Sparks, NV on March 04, 2020:

Thank you so much, JC. Have a super great day!

Donna Rayne

Donna Rayne (author) from Sparks, NV on March 04, 2020:

You're welcome Bill and thank you!

Enjoy your day!

Donna Rayne

Donna Rayne (author) from Sparks, NV on March 04, 2020:

Thank you, Pamela. I know it happens to a lot of wildlife because man wants their skins, bones, and more to sell and they're worth a lot more dead than alive according to the poachers.

Have a happy day,

Donna Rayne

Donna Rayne (author) from Sparks, NV on March 04, 2020:

Hahaha sorry about that Flourish! That cracked me up! Have a great day!


Donna Rayne

Donna Rayne (author) from Sparks, NV on March 04, 2020:

Yes, it is Lorna and I pray the laws in place to protect all wildlife make a difference and tigers won't be a thing of the past.


Donna Rayne

Donna Rayne (author) from Sparks, NV on March 04, 2020:

Thank you Umesh, I appreciate that!


Donna Rayne

Donna Rayne (author) from Sparks, NV on March 04, 2020:

Oh, that is wonderful news, Rosina! I'm happy to know my articles are helping you and showing you their true beauty!


Donna Rayne

manatita44 from london on March 04, 2020:

The swim is impressive! Great to know info. You describe them as charismatic! I dare say you're right but scary too and ferocious by some accounts.

I was looking at the different nations. Yes, they do look different. Beautiful animals but what a great reduction.

JC Scull on March 04, 2020:

Donna...excellent article.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 04, 2020:

I always love to learn about stuff like this, so thanks for the informative and interesting article.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 04, 2020:

The tiger are gorgeous and I really enjoyed your article. Poaching also makes me angry as it happens to elephants and so many other anitmals. It is funny that their urine smell like buttered popcorn and that they can tell so much by smelling the urine.

Very good article, Donna!

FlourishAnyway from USA on March 04, 2020:

They are simply stunning animals and I cannot fathom people hurting them. So majestic. Thanks to you I will never think of the smell of buttered popcorn quite the same! Oh my!

Lorna Lamon on March 04, 2020:

An excellent and informative article Donna with beautiful photos. It's sad that like many other wonderful animals they are under threat for the reasons you mention. Seeing these incredible animals in the wild may soon be a thing of the past. A really enjoyable read - loved it.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on March 03, 2020:

Well researched and well compiled article. Good work. Nice reading. Thanks.

Rosina S Khan on March 03, 2020:

A beautiful, informative piece about Tigers of the world. Watching your enthusiasm for these wild creatures, I am also beginning to appreciate them and become a fan of them. I found Tigers scary before but now reading your wonderful hub, my feelings about them are taking a shift. Thank you, Donna, for such a wonderful contribution.

Donna Rayne (author) from Sparks, NV on March 03, 2020:

Thank you all so much, Eric, Ivana and BushraI appreciate all your comments and that you liked my article!


Donna Rayne

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on March 03, 2020:

We are blessed by you nicely written work here. My son votes for Siberian. I go Indochina. We must love our creatures.

Ivana Divac from Serbia on March 03, 2020:

Thank you for this beautiful article. So informative!

Anya Ali from Rabwah, Pakistan on March 03, 2020:

Sometimes Indian tigers cheerfully stroll into Pakistan without so much as a by your leave. Marvelous how animals, birds, and plants couldn't care less for passports and visas!