Beauty, grace and power have made the tiger the world’s most popular animal - but have not stopped it becoming one of the most endangered, with fewer than four thousand left in the wild.
Panthera tigris ssp
IUCN Red List classification
The tiger as a species is listed as Endangered. Sumatran and Amur are both Critical, Indian Endangered.
Indian tiger and cub Tigers are one of our planet’s top predators and a big tiger can take prey of up to one tonne in size – for example, an adult male gaur. They can also take small animals like fish and frogs, or monkeys - but mostly they like to eat wild pigs and deer.
Depending on how many deer and pig there are per square kilometre of forest, a single tiger might need as much as 500 km sq for his home range, if he lives in the temperate forests of Russia – or as little as 10 km sq, if he lives in the most fertile parts of India or Nepal. So tigers are losing their homes through conversion of forests – often illegally for short-term gain - to logging and agriculture.
Despite being protected by international and national legislation, tigers are also illegally killed by humans - sometimes for their skins to sell as trophies or their bones to sell into the Chinese medicine trade, sometimes because the humans are hunting for deer and pig themselves and see the tigers as competition, and sometimes because the tigers have killed people’s domestic livestock, or even attacked people.
Sumatran tiger The tiger is the most powerful symbol of wildlife and wild places that we have left. They have been part of human culture and art, as well as part of the earth’s living systems, for thousands of years – but right now, their future hangs in the balance.
But if we can save tigers, we will also be saving many other species that live alongside them, as well protecting the planet’s systems that humans, as well as wildlife, depend on.
Save the tiger – save the forest – save the planet.
- The usual number of cubs in a litter is 2-4 but can be up to 6.
- The white flashes on the backs of the ears are for communication, such as when cubs are following their mums or when their ears flatten in aggression.
- Unlike most cats tigers like to relax and keep cool in shallow water.
- Tigers are basically solitary but dads have been seen hanging out with mum and cubs in the wild in India
- In China tigers are farmed for their parts as if they were poultry or pigs.
- There are more tigers in human hands than there are in the wild.
ZSL is involved in a number of tiger conservation projects including: