Tiger conservation is a global effort to help prevent tigers from becoming extinct and to defend and sustain the tiger’s natural habitat. This includes reintroduction of the tiger’s prey, habitat suitability, and the expulsion of tiger poaching, tiger trafficking, and other atrocities against tigers and their habitat. The current tiger conservation status for the remaining tiger subspecies is classified as endangered / critically endangered.
Over a century ago, it is estimated that there were around 100,000 tigers living in the wild. In present day, approximations show that less than 4,000 tigers exist in the wild while around 8,000 live in captivity. Even though tigers were added to the Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in July of 1975, the tiger population has been steadily decreasing well into 2022.
Tigers are the largest living big cat on our planet, renowned for their power, strength and wild beauty, they are an icon of wildness. Without global conservation efforts, these majestic animals will continue to dwindle in numbers until they are finally classified as extinct, just as the Bali tiger, Caspian tiger, and Javan tiger are.
The main tiger conservation challenge today is to ensure the remaining tiger subspecies can be saved from extinction. We must take firm action now if we don’t want to lose another tiger species to extinction. We must stop the huge demand for tiger products, which drives tiger poaching and take a stand against cruel tiger farms in China.
5 Staggering Tiger Conservation Facts
1) There are estimated to be more tigers living in captivity in the state of Texas than tigers in the wild.
2) The tiger’s historic range used to span over much of Eastern Asia but that range has been reduced by approximately 95%.
3) Over the last 10 years, it is estimated that 1,000+ tigers have been killed for their body parts.
4) Tiger bones are highly sought after for use in medicines, producing products such as tiger bone wine.
5) The body parts from one tiger can sell for as much as $50000 on the black market.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, the current tiger conservation status is classified as endangered / critically endangered.
• Amur Tiger (Siberian Tiger) Tiger Conservation Status: Endangered
• Bengal Tiger Conservation Status: Endangered
• Indochinese Tiger Conservation Status: Endangered
• Malayan Tiger Conservation Status: Critically Endangered
• South China Tiger Conservation Status: Critically Endangered
• Sumatran Tiger Conservation Status: Critically Endangered
• Bali Tiger Conservation Status: Extinct
• Caspian Tiger Conservation Status: Extinct
• Javan Tiger Conservation Status: Extinct
There is hope for tigers via the many dedicated tiger conservation efforts ongoing today. In the last several years thanks to tremendous efforts by conservationists and local governments, some tiger subspecies have slowly increased their numbers in the wild, specifically in India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, and Russia. However, in other parts of Asia including Myanmar, Sumatra Indonesia and Malaysia, tiger populations are in major decline due to poaching and major habitat loss.
With the tigers’ need for vast territories, saving the tiger’s habitat is essential for tiger conservation efforts. Their habitat must be conserved and expanded, with connectivity restored using forest corridors to allow tigers to move between areas and ensure healthy gene-flow. Protecting and restoring tiger forests is not only good for tigers but it also helps mitigate climate change while also helping to keep the tiger’s conservation status from moving into the extinction classification.
If wild tigers have plentiful prey for food, a safe habitat and wildlife corridor, dedicated rangers, and stricter wildlife laws, tigers can recover but it will take a huge global tiger conservation effort. For the first time in awhile, tiger numbers in several countries are on the rise thanks to a global commitment to work towards the “Tx2” goal set in 2010 to double the number of wild tigers.
Tiger population recovery was achieved in India by productive tiger conservation measures, improved forest management and by reducing human tiger conflict. Today there are 50+ tiger reserves in India, up from only 8 when the Bengal tiger was officially protected in 1973.
With the new discovery of wild tiger populations in eastern Thailand in 2017 and 2019, Thailand is hopeful of achieving its Tx2 goal. Thailand’s tiger recovery could also help Myanmar, the western forest complex of Thailand is a bridge linking the two countries together.
Partnering with local communities who live near tiger reserves is critical to the success of all tiger conservation efforts. Tiger conservation can only be sustainable if locals are supportive of having tigers living in their territory. The act of protecting tigers creates various jobs associated with tourism and helps create alternative livelihoods by making the local people custodians of wildlife.
This disappearance of tigers from our planet could happen in our lifetime. Project Endangered Tigers is fighting back on behalf of tigers, raising both awareness and funds to save this majestic species.
“The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak, so we must and we will.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Of the 9 subspecies of tigers, three have gone extinct, all within recent history. Each one evolved over time and adapted to live in different climates and locations with unique features from their size to their stripe pattern. Today, tigers still roam from the extreme winter forests of Siberia to the hot tropical rainforests of Indonesia. Their sizes range from Amur tiger males that weigh up to 600+ pounds, to the smallest Sumatran tiger, which is similar in size to a leopard, and weighing in at a third of the size.
Since 2017, tigers have been divided into two tiger subspecies called taxonomic divisions: the continental tigers of mainland Asia (scientific name P. t. tigris), and the Sunda island tigers of Indonesia (P. t. sondaica).
The Continental Tigers
• The Amur tiger:
• The Bengal tiger:
• The Caspian tiger: (Extinct)
• The Indochinese tiger:
• The Malayan tiger:
• The South China tiger:
The Sunda Island Tigers
• The Bali tiger: (Extinct)
• The Javan tiger: (Extinct)
• The Sumatran tiger:
The Javan tiger was the last to disappear forever in the 1980’s. The Indochinese tiger clings to existence only in Thailand, (last seen in 2007), Cambodia (declared extinct in 2016) and Laos (snared to death with all gone by 2014).
Today, the South China tiger can no longer be found in the wild and is presumed to be extinct. The Malayan tigers are in severe trouble, their numbers declining steeply despite a global effort to double their population.
The final areas of a forest sanctuary for the Sumatran tiger continue to be cleared away for palm oil plantations, pushing the species higher into the mountains where it is harder to survive.
Humans have invaded and devastated the tiger’s habitat and replaced it with fields and plantations. We have eaten the tiger’s prey, hunted and trapped tigers for centuries, and have continued to hunt and kill them. We have used their body parts as medicine, and to show off our wealth.
The main reasons tigers are disappearing from our world are from poaching, illegal wildlife trade and habitat loss. In the past 100 years, we have changed their tiger conservation status from “Least Concern” to “Endangered” “Critically Endangered” and “Extinct”.
1) Tiger Poaching & the Illegal Wildlife Trade
Unfortunately, tigers are part of an immense illegal trade industry, the same trade that’s wiping out many other wildlife species. It is a disgraceful 15+ billion dollar a year international crime. Tiger body parts are collected not only from tigers in the wild but also from tigers in captivity and shipped all over Asia.
These tiger body parts are seen on dinner tables, turned into Tiger Bone Wine or even used as an ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The steep price these tiger products sell for mean they are also often given as gifts to show off a person’s wealth and status. This has greatly affected the tiger’s conservation status and the reason the tiger conservation status is currently listed as endangered and critically endangered.
2) Tiger Habitat Loss
Tigers spend their days resting, hunting, traveling, and bathing in bodies of water to keep cool. Tigers can swim up to 18 miles in just one day! They do these activities mostly alone though since all tiger species are solitary. They have their own territories but will roam outside of their established territories in search of food or mates.
To save the tiger from extinction requires saving their natural habitat. Tigers are solitary hunters, and need huge territories to hunt, eat, and roam. Since the 1990’s, tigers have lost an incredible 40% of their habitat and currently occupy only about 7% percent of their former range.
Despite worldwide efforts, major deforestation has occurred across centuries as the human population increased. Humans have converted many forests to fields for agriculture, livestock grazing, palm oil plantations, forestry and mining. This deforestation currently continues today as our unsustainable thirst for natural resources continues to alter the tiger’s habitat.
As the forest is devastated because of farming and development, the tiger’s natural habitat becomes fragmented. This fragmentation cuts off gene exchange and confines tigers into unsustainably small and isolated populations.
3) Depletion of Tiger’s Prey
All tiger species are exceptional hunters – their size, speed, strength, and stealth give them an upper hand over many prey species. Tigers mostly prey on large ungulate species that range from 130 to 550 pounds. However, they occasionally feed on smaller prey like monkeys, birds, small mammals, and fish if the opportunity arises.
Obviously, tigers need to eat but without a thriving prey base, they cannot recover and will most likely become extinct. One of the main reasons for the disappearance of the tiger’s prey is a simple piece of wire used to catch animals for bushmeat, the snare. Snares are traps that close on an animal’s neck or leg, which suffocate the animal to death or by leaving the animal trapped to eventually die of hunger.
The broad use of snares has led to what is called “empty forest syndrome”, with some heavily snared areas now emptied of all large mammals.
4) Lack of Genetic Diversity
Genetic diversity is a hindrance for the recovery of many tiger subspecies and tiger populations. Scientists have found that as tiger populations become more fragmented and the pools of each tiger subspecies decreases, so does genetic diversity.
The Amur tiger has recovered today from a low of only 25-50 individuals. The remaining captive 175+ South China tigers are descended from only 6 tigers. Moreover, tiger populations clinging to survival in small, fragmented patches of habitat are not sustainable in the long-term due to inbreeding.
To help with the lack of genetic diversity, scientists are planning to tap the genetic reservoir of captive tigers at Zoos around the world.
5) Climate Change
Climate change is also a major threat to a suitable tiger habitat. As the climate changes, the forest and prey it supports changes too, meaning tigers will be pushed from some of their current protected areas and into conflict with humans. Read more about why are tigers endangered and who is responsible on our blog.
The main climate change threats to tigers.
Rising sea levels
Sea-level rise threatens to submerge the tiger habitat for Bengal tigers, forcing the tigers further inland towards human settlements and human conflict
Chopping down forests quickens climate change while forcing tiger species like the critically endangered Sumatran tiger to the brink of extinction. The popularity of palm oil has accelerated the building of Palm oil plantations, which are replacing the forests!
Fluctuating temperatures are altering the habitat for the Amur tiger ( Siberian tiger ) in Russia and China. This will greatly decrease prey for tigers that hunt in habitats.
Wildfires are becoming more commonplace and are a grave threat to tigers and their habitat. Climate change also produces more severe storms and floods that devastate the land, forcing humans to roam into tiger habitats. As climate change threatens the tiger habitat and food sources, this majestic species becomes more exposed to poaching and human conflicts.
The Amur tiger’s current conservation status is listed as ENDANGERED by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
The Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica), AKA, the Siberian tiger, is the largest cat on the planet. It got its name like other tigers by the territories it roamed, which a century ago, was an expansive range across Siberia, the Russian Far East, Northeast China and Korea. Today, 95% of the world’s last Siberian tigers are found in far-eastern Russia where the Amur river forms a border with China. Read more about the Amur Tiger.
|Amur Tiger Conservation Status Chart||Estimated Amur Tiger Population|
The Bengal tiger’s current conservation status is listed as ENDANGERED by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
The Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is the most well-known of all the current tigers and is also called the “Indian tiger” or the “Royal Bengal tiger”. The endangered Bengal tiger, together with the now extinct Caspian tiger and the critically endangered Siberian tiger, is one of the largest cats that has ever existed on our planet. With a population estimated at over 2,633 individuals, they are the most numerous of all remaining tiger subspecies in the wild. Read more about the Bengal Tiger.
|Bengal Tiger Conservation Status Chart||Estimated Bengal Tiger Population|
The Indochinese tiger’s current conservation status is listed as ENDANGERED by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
The Indochinese tiger is native to mainland Southeast Asia. Once the apex predator of the region’s vast tropical and subtropical forests, today it clings to survival on the very edge of extinction in Thailand and Myanmar. Read more about the Indochinese tiger.
|Indochinese Tiger Conservation Status Chart||Estimated Indochinese Tiger Population|
The Malayan tiger’s current conservation status is listed as CRITICALLY ENDANGERED by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
The Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni ) is a critically endangered tiger subspecies that, as its name suggests, is found only in Peninsular Malaysia. It was not until 2004 that the Malayan tiger was confirmed as a distinct subspecies of tiger thanks to DNA testing. Read more about the Malayan tiger.
|Malayan Tiger Conservation Status Chart||Estimated Malayan Tiger Population|
The South China tiger’s current conservation status is listed as CRITICALLY ENDANGERED by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
The South China Tiger is the world’s most endangered tiger. As its name suggests, it was formerly found in southern China where it suffered dramatic losses across the past century due to government “pest” eradication efforts, habitat loss and hunting. Read more about the South China tiger.
|South China Tiger Conservation Status Chart||Estimated South China Tiger Population|
Maybe functionally extinct in the wild
The Sumatran tiger’s current conservation status is listed as CRITICALLY ENDANGERED by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
The Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is one of the most endangered of all the tigers remaining on our planet today. It is classified as critically endangered and is at grave risk of extinction. Only an estimated 400 to 500 individual Sumatran tigers survive in the wild today. Read more about the Sumatran tiger.
|Sumatran Tiger Conservation Status Chart||Estimated Sumatran Tiger Population|
Sadly, 3 tiger subspecies have gone extinct, making it even more important that we all join together to save the remaining 6 subspecies. The major reason for the extinction of the Bali, Caspian, and Javan tiger subspecies was due to relentless hunting, habitat loss, and loss of its prey, some of the same reasons why the current subspecies of tigers are in trouble of being classified as extinct.
The Bali Tiger is a now extinct subspecies of tiger that adapted and evolved to live on the island of Java in Indonesia. It was also sadly the first tiger subspecies to go extinct in modern history, hunted down by Dutch colonial hunters. The last known Bali tiger was shot in 1937. Read more about the Bali tiger.
|Bali Tiger Conservation Status Chart||Estimated Bali Tiger Population|
The Caspian tiger (Panthera tigris virgata) is a now extinct subspecies of tiger that adapted and evolved to live near rivers and lakes on the edges of dry desert environments in Central Asia. It got its name like other tigers, by the places where it roamed – around the Caspian Sea. Read more about the Caspian tiger.
|Caspian Tiger Conservation Status Chart||Estimated Caspian Tiger Population|
The Javan Tiger is a now extinct subspecies of tiger that adapted and evolved to live on the island of Java in Indonesia. It was one of the three Indonesian tiger subspecies: the Javan tiger, the Bali tiger, and the Sumatran tiger. Today only the Sumatran tiger remains, hanging on by a thread and critically endangered. Read more about the Javan tiger.
|Javan Tiger Conservation Status Chart||Estimated Javan Tiger Population|
1) What is the Conservation Status of Tigers in 2022
2) Is the tiger the World's Biggest Cat?
Tigers are the largest cats in the world and are a symbol of strength, and courage. More specifically, the biggest cat of all the tiger subspecies is the Siberian tiger, AKA (Amur tiger). A male Amur tiger can reach a total length of more than 11.5ft and weight of 675+ lbs!
3) What are the Biggest Threats to Tigers
Tigers faces tremendous pressure from the illegal wildlife trade, habitat loss, deforestation, poaching and other human pressures that are driving the remaining tiger species towards extinction. The current tiger conservation status for the remaining 6 tiger subspecies is listed as “Endangered” and “Critically Endangered”
4) What are White Tigers?
5) What is Palm Oil ?
The palm oil industry is one of the greatest threats to endangered species. Palm oil is used often as cooking oil in countries around the world. Palm oil is used in ice cream, cakes, cosmetics, dish soap, and many other products.
The production level needed to meet global demand is ultimately unsustainable and harmful to the environment and wildlife. Oil palm trees only grow around the equator, palm oil plantations are overtaking some of the world’s most biodiverse rain forests. Palm oil is directly effecting the tiger conservation status and pushing this status closer to the “Extinction” level.
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WildCats Conservation Alliance is a wild tiger and Amur leopard initiative that funds carefully chosen conservation projects across Asia, working with a range of national and international conservation NGOs. It is a partnership between the Zoological Society of London (UK charity # 208728) and Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation (ACNC # 61150274463)’.
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Tiger Species Conservation Status Guide 2022 by Project Endangered Tigers