THE TIGER - Panthera tigris
Although scientists no longer classify
tigers into subspecies, these names are commonly used to describe "races"
of tigers from different regions that have slightly different physical characteristics.
There were 8 subspecies of Tiger at the beginning of the 20th century. 3 are
now extinct, leaving 5 existing subspecies. Here they are...
Bengal tiger is the most populous type, with between 2500 and 4700 remaining
in the wild. Most live in the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans in eastern
India and Bangladesh. Some also live in the neighboring countries Bhutan, Myanmar,
and Nepal . There are about 333 Bengal tigers in captivity. Males typically
weigh around 500 pounds; the females about 300. All white tigers are male Bengals
and have a double recessive gene that causes the coloration. Official status:
Indochinese tigers are centered in Thailand, but also in surrounding countries
- Myanmar, southern China, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and peninsular Malaysia.
They are smaller and darker than Bengal tigers, averaging around 400 pounds
for males and 300 for females. Males average about 9 feet long and females about
8 feet in length (not counting the tail). Numbers in the wild are estimated
to be in the range 1227-1785. There are about 60 in zoos. Official status: ENDANGERED.
smallest and darkest subspecies, Sumatran tigers are reddish and have closely
spaced stripes. The males average 250 lbs. About 400-500 remain in the wild,
exclusively on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. About 210 of this subspecies
are captive around the world. Official status: ENDANGERED.
guys are the largest of the big cats, weighing in at 675 pounds and stretching
a full 11 feet. The heaviest Siberian Tiger on record was 1025 pounds (Guiness
Book of World Records). Only about 360-470 exist in the wild and there are roughly
490 captive. Their habitat is mostly Northeastern Russian. Despite their size,
they have been known to jump as far as 33 feet. Official status: ENDANGERED.
more on Siberian tigers, see www.siberian-tigers.com
- a general resource of information with numerous links to other Siberian tiger
there are perhaps only 20-30 South Chinese tigers left in the wild and 47 in
Chinese zoos. They are found in central and eastern China. China joined CITES
in 1981 and passed the Wild Animal Protection Law of the People's Republic of
China in 1988. Official status: ENDANGERED.
the extinct ones...
Javan tiger once roamed the Indonesian island of Java. The last one was seen
in 1972 and is now believed to be extinct.
Caspian tiger once ranged from Turkey to Central Asia, including Iran, Mongolia,
and Central Russia. They went extinct in the 1950's.
Bali tiger existed on the island of Bali. The last one was killed in 1937. There
are no existing photos of a live Bali tiger.