Tigers are the most famous and popular of all big cats. They are known for their extraordinary coloring as well as their ferocious hunting abilities. But where do tigers live? You might be surprised to know that tigers once occupied a vast territory stretching from Turkey and the Caspian Sea to the Indonesian archipelago.
Today, tigers have only 5 percent of their original range. Additionally, three of the nine tiger subspecies have been officially declared extinct. Here we’ll discover where the world’s last remaining tigers live and what’s being done to protect them.
Read on to find out the answer to the question: Where do tigers live?
Are tigers endangered?
In the past, scientists divided tigers into nine subspecies, three of which are now extinct. Today, however, most people define only two species of tiger: the continental tiger and the Sunda Island tiger. The continental tiger is a tiger that lives in mainland Asia, while the Sunda island tiger is a tiger found on the islands of Indonesia.
But wherever they are, all remaining tigers are under enormous pressure from expanding populations and activities. Today, there are fewer than 5,000 tigers left in the wild. Some countries, such as Russia, China, Nepal and Bhutan, have stable populations. While other countries, such as Southeast Asia and Indonesia, continue to decline.
Where in the world are there tigers?
Once upon a time, tigers lived all over Asia. When answering the question of where tigers live, it is important to realize that the current tiger range is much smaller than its historical range. Tigers once occupied entire forest habitats from the Russian Far East to the Indian subcontinent, the Indonesian islands and as far away as Turkey.
Where do tigers live today, and what kind of habitat do they prefer? let’s see.
1. Russian Far East
During historical times, tigers lived throughout the forests of the east coast of Russia. Today, there are fewer than 600 Siberian (Amur) tigers left in the wild in the Russian Far East. Their greatest threats are poaching, habitat loss and fragmentation. Like all tigers, the Siberian tiger of the Russian Far East is both an apex predator and a cornerstone species. They are at the top of the food chain; without tigers, the entire local ecosystem suffers. Historically, Amur tigers can be found in Mongolia, China and the Korean peninsula. They are the largest of all living tigers, with males reaching up to 11 feet in length and weighing up to 600 pounds.
2. Indian Subcontinent
India, Nepal and Bhutan have some of the largest and most stable wild tiger populations in the world. These tigers are called Bengal tigers. In addition to forests, Bengal tigers also live in mangrove swamps, grasslands and mountains. They hunted hogs, wild boars, wild buffalo, and other large ungulates. Bengal tigers are huge; males can weigh up to 570 pounds and reach a length of 10 feet. Unfortunately, negative interactions with humans have led to widespread fear and hatred of these predators in some regions.
3. Indochina Peninsula
Where does the tiger live? The simple answer is Asia. However, a closer look reveals that Tiger now exists in four different subsections. Among them, the most widely distributed is the Indochina peninsula, including southern China, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. Tiger subspecies living in this area are the Malayan tiger, the Indochinese tiger and the South China tiger. These tigers live in dense tropical forests. Their main threats are habitat loss and fragmentation, loss of prey species and poaching.
Previously, Indonesian tigers lived in Java, Bali and Sumatra. Today, the Javan and Bali tigers are extinct, leaving only the Sumatran tiger. Additionally, scientists now typically classify only two subspecies of tigers; the continental tiger and the Sunda Island tiger. The Sumatran tiger is the only remaining member of the Sunda Island subspecies. There are thought to be fewer than 400 tigers living in the Sumatran forests. Like other species, their main threats come from habitat loss and poaching.
Captive populations of tigers
If you’ve ever wondered where tigers live, you might be interested to know that there may be more tigers in captivity than in the wild. In the United States, there are an estimated 5,000 captive tigers, about 94 percent of whom live in harsh conditions. In addition, an estimated 8,000 tigers live on Asian tiger farms, most of which are traded for tiger parts such as bones, teeth and furs.
Tiger Conservation: How You Can Help
Perhaps the most important part of protecting wild tigers is protecting their habitat. Tigers cannot survive without habitat and prey. Additionally, supporting the elimination of the trade in tiger parts is critical to saving wild and captive tigers. Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Big Cat Public Safety Act, further protecting tigers.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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