Where do tigers live? And other tiger facts

Tigers are the most iconic of the big cats. With their gorgeous black-and-orange coats and long, white whiskers, they invoke in many a feeling of wonder and admiration.

But though they are adored, they’re also vulnerable to extinction. Around 5,574 wild tigers roam forests and savannas today, according to the Global Tiger Forum. Tigers are poached for their parts and lose habitat to human activity every day.

By working with tiger range countries, WWF is pushing forward on zero poaching across Asia even as we secure vital tiger landscapes and curb the demand for illegal tiger parts and products.

Want to know more about tigers, including how you can help? Take a look at the questions and answers below.

Where do tigers live?

Tigers are found in amazingly diverse habitats: rain forests, grasslands, savannas and even mangrove swamps. Unfortunately, 93% of historical tiger lands have disappeared primarily because of expanding human activity. Saving tigers means saving forests that are vital to the health of the planet. You can help by taking action to save tiger forests.


How many subspecies of tiger are there?

There are two subspecies of tiger, commonly referred to as the continental tiger and the Sunda island tiger. All remaining island tigers are found only in Sumatra, with tigers in Java and Bali now extinct. These are popularly known as Sumatran tigers. The continental tigers currently include the Bengal, Malayan, Indochinese, and Amur (Siberian) tiger populations, while the Caspian tiger is extinct in the wild. The South China tiger is believed to be functionally extinct. These tigers need our help. Every part of the tiger, from whisker to tail, is traded in illegal wildlife markets. WWF is urging governments to strengthen law enforcement, invest in more boots on the ground, and commit to long-term demand reduction efforts to stop wildlife crime.


How much do tigers weigh?

Tigers are the largest of all Asian big cats, weighing in at up to 660 pounds. The smallest of tiger subspecies—the Sumatran tiger—weighs about 310 pounds at most. Within each subspecies, the males are heavier than the females.


Do tigers live in groups?

Tigers are solitary animals, with the exception of mothers and their cubs. Individual tigers roam across large areas, also known as home ranges, the size of which is determined by the availability of food. Tigers don’t patrol their range, but they do mark their domain with urine and feces over a period of days or weeks to let other tigers know that the space is occupied.


How do scientists identify individual tigers?

Much like the human fingerprint, tiger stripes are unique to each individual. Scientists set up staggered camera traps that snap photos of each side of the tiger. With this method, they can identify individuals and properly count the population in certain areas. Counting tigers and determining where they live is a critical step in monitoring the progress we are making to protect the species.


How long do tigers live?

Tigers have been known to live to the age of 26 in the wild. Female tigers give birth to two to four cubs at a time, on average, and can do so every two years. Survival is difficult for cubs; about half of all cubs do not live more than two years.

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