Endangered Wild Tigers Likely to Become Extinct

Updated on January 3, 2018
Michael Kismet profile image

Michael is an author with a passion for the environment and he is trying to save the planet, one reader at a time!

the extinction of wild tigers
the extinction of wild tigers | Source

Why are Wild Tigers Losing Their Habitat

Endangered wild tigers are now more likelier than ever to become extinct. Everywhere tigers exist, they endure endless pressure from severe habitat loss, illegal poaching for their bones, skin, and meat, and killings from locals in retaliation to a mauling or killing of a person. But, this was bound to happen, as we are pushing our boundaries across their habitat.

They are also losing ground, as humans continue to log forests, pushing the tiger to become even more displaced and stressed. There are eight original subspecies, and three are now extinct, and this happened in a span of half a century. An average of one becoming extinct every 15-20 years.

Critically Endangered Wild Tigers

We are now baring witness to a fading species that have been around for over 25 million years! Humans have pushed wild tigers to their breaking point. The following are the most shocking facts about the relentless decline of wild tigers in the past 100 years:

  • In the early 1930s, the Bail tiger could no hold out any longer and died out.
  • In the 70's, the Caspian went the way of the Bali tiger, and vanished from the planet.
  • In the 80's, the Javan tiger is the latest original subspecies to be wiped out.
  • In the 1900s there were over 100,000 wild tigers estimated to be around the globe, and today maybe only 3,500 tigers are left in the wild.
  • There are now five remaining subspecies; South China tigers(Pantera-tigris-amoyensis), the IndoChinese tigers(Pantera-tigris-corbetti), the Bengal tigers (Pantera-tigris-tigris), the Sumatran tigers(Pantera-tigris-sumatrae), and the notable Siberian(Amur) tigers.
  • Even today, all populations of tiger species are on the decline, which means we've been losing the fight to save them.
  • The South China tiger, although still on the critically endangered list, has not been seen for years now, and many speculate they may already be extinct.
  • The Bengal tiger is the least endangered of the remaining subspecies and estimated to be nearly 2,000 left in Bangladesh, Nepal, and India

How many wild tigers are left?
How many wild tigers are left? | Source

How Wild Tigers Hunt Their Prey

Tigers are the largest breed of Asian cats, instead of scent, they hunt primarily relying on their extraordinary vision and hearing capabilities. Tigers have been documented to hunt together, but usually prefer tracking and hunting prey on their own. Tigers are very solitary animals, and prefer to be alone and mark and periodically patrol their own territory.

They prefer stalking their prey through stealth, and then pouncing with lightning quick ferocity. Tigers can hunt, kill and consume upwards to 100 pounds of meat in one feeding. Additionally, their territories are factored by the prey that is readily available to them, and they generally need vast amounts of space.

In every subspecies, the male tigers will be larger than the female tigers. The Siberian Tiger, which make up the largest subspecies may track and sneak up on it's prey, even though it can weigh up to 680 pounds. The smallest subspecies, the Sumatran can weigh up to 320 pounds. All individual tigers will mark their territory using their urine and fecal matter. Here are some interesting facts about tigers:

  • Tigers are capable of stalking and killing animals over twice their size, and is one of the most feared predatory animals in nature.
  • The roar of a tiger can be heard over two miles.
  • A tiger's striped coat isn't just for show, but is functional in camouflaging itself from it's prey.
  • Unlike many other cats, tigers feel very comfortable with being in water and swimming.
  • When born, tigers are totally blind for the first week of their lives.
  • Tigers have saliva that possess antiseptic properties.

White tigers in the wild
White tigers in the wild | Source

Tigers Life Cycle and Reproduction

Generally, mother tigers usually give birth to liters of 1-3 tiger cubs. Tigers can become fully independent by the age of two years. Tiger cubs have a reputation for steep mortality rates, on average half of the cub liter will not last longer that 1-2 years of age. However, if every cub dies, a secondary litter can be birthed within 6 months.

Tigers will reach sexual maturity at 4 years of age, sometimes even a little sooner. A wild tiger's life span has been documented to reach 28 years of age. As aforementioned, tigers are solitary animals, but with exception of the bond between offspring cubs and tiger mother.

Today, wild tigers are critically endangered, if we do not spread enough awareness soon, it will most likely be too late to save wild tigers from extinction. It is common knowledge now that the tigers surviving today are kept within low density, scattered areas where reserves were set up to protect them.

Here are a few saddening facts of the White tiger, they are no subspecies of tiger, they are a result of gene that mutated through inbreeding of tigers in captivity. They were done so in the name of man's opinion of entertainment. Most think white tigers are quite beautiful, and I would have to halfheartedly agree. It's just ironic that such a beautiful creature resulted from man's ugliness.

What Are Their Chances?

Do you think wild tigers are capable of making a comeback?

See results

Captive Tigers Risks to Human Population

Besides the baseball team, there may very well be Detroit tigers roaming around. America has more captive tigers than the world has wild tigers. There is little regulation on keeping and raising captive tigers, these tigers pose a significant threat to surrounding populations. There are no inspections to ensure that these enclosures are secured with the utmost of scrutiny. Many unscrupulous people keep and raise tigers as a business.

When these captive tigers meet their end, they are harvested for their bones, meat, pelts and other various tiger parts that are worth a small fortune on the black market. Even live tigers themselves will fetch high bids in the underground marketplace. This is no life for a beautiful, majestic animal that is wild at heart.

With no true strict regulation or enforcing, tigers have been turning up everywhere they shouldn't. They are being discovered confined in small apartments, sheds in backyards, Tiger mills being bred for profit, and amateur sideshow circuses. Only a paltry 5% of all tigers in the U.S. have an arguably adequate life in Zoos.

Illegal wild tiger poaching is more prevalent than ever, due to rise in demand from the captive tiger market. One might think that more captive tigers would be better for wild tiger population, yet it is turning out to be the exact opposite. The more demand that is on the rise, the more inevitably the poaching will increase.

However, the United States is finally taking some action, the Public Works Committee recently held a hearing on the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act in July 2014. This will greatly reduce the ownership of such exotic and endangered animals. Also, an announcement made earlier in the year by President Obama, will commit a national campaign to investigate and mitigate wildlife trafficking.

Ways to save tigers from extinction
Ways to save tigers from extinction | Source

How to Save Endangered Tigers

It's is estimated that endangered wild tigers will likely be extinct in the next 20 years, or even sooner. Will humans collectively act in time to successfully save wild tigers? Tigers are in a dire and precariously delicate existence. They are nearing the tipping point of extinction, and it's personally saddening that it's not front page news.

Donations can be sent and entrusted to the World Wildlife Fund.Thank you for reading through this very important article, please feel free to leave your suggestions and opinions. Let's all do our part to spread awareness within our social circles of the ongoing plight of wild tigers. Don't hesitate to share this article with friends and your social network.

Questions & Answers

    © 2014 Michael Kismet

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      • profile image

        Snakesmum 

        3 years ago

        Tigers are magnificent animals, and it would be tragic if they were lost to us. Melbourne Zoo (Australia) has Sumatran tigers, and is involved in a breeding program for them. Their wild habitat is unfortunately being much reduced for farming, etc.

      • Shelly Nun-Chucks profile image

        Shelly NunChucks Ninja 

        3 years ago from worldwide

        that is cool, I do like some of your articles you give tons of detailed information, which is quite interesting :)

      • Michael Kismet profile imageAUTHOR

        Michael Kismet 

        3 years ago from Northern California

        Sorry Shelly, I don't facebook. True story. But, I am becoming quite the prolific Hubber, so I'll just make do with following you here.

      • Michael Kismet profile imageAUTHOR

        Michael Kismet 

        3 years ago from Northern California

        Thank you Shelly, as you can tell from the lack of comments on this particular hub, wild tigers need more support then ever before. It is so profoundly sad that there isn't more being done for wild tigers. However, your support in the matter proves there is always hope.

      • Shelly Nun-Chucks profile image

        Shelly NunChucks Ninja 

        3 years ago from worldwide

        there are less than 3,200 left in the world.

        I joined WWF to want to try to help save tigers and bring awareness also

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