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by Aleena Habib July 29, 2022 2 min read

Species Conservation Spotlight:
tiger walking in snowToday is International Tiger Day.

International Tiger Day was created in 2010 to raise awareness for tiger conservation. Tigers (Panthera tigris) are one of the most iconic animals in the world. With their famous stripes, beautiful colors, and large size, it's hard not to respect and admire these beautiful animals.

Tigers are the largest cat species in the world. These fascinating big cats are found in temperate, tropical, and subtropical forests in South and Southeast Asia, and in evergreen forests in Russia and China.

There are two recognized subspecies of tigers, the continental tiger and the Sunda Island tiger. These two subspecies include populations of the Sumatran, Bengal, Malayan, Indochinese, South China, and Siberian tigers. These tigers can weigh anywhere from 310 lbs-660 pounds and reach lengths up to ten feet long. In all subspecies of tigers, males are heavier than females.

Three subspecies of tigers have already been lost in the wild and are extinct, according to the IUCN Red List.  These are the Caspian, Javan, and Balinese tigers.

Tiger populations that remain are estimated at 2,608-3,905 individuals, and are endangered, with decreasing populations.

There are a number of threats facing tiger populations:

  • They are commonly hunted for sport and poached for their beautiful coats, teeth, and claws which are adorned by members of elite societies.
  • Some people believe that products made from tigers contain medicinal and spiritual properties. These beliefs fuel hunting and the illegal trade of these majestic beings.
  • Pollution, civil unrest, urbanization, mining, agriculture, prey loss, and habitat loss are all major drivers of population decline in tigers, as well. 

Intense and strategic conservation efforts are being implemented to restore and protect tiger populations. As apex predators, tigers are essential for stabilizing their ecosystems. Declines in their populations can lead to decreased health of their environments.

In each area, local governments are implementing protective measures to protect habitats, eradicate poaching and illegal trade; and increase engagement and conservation efforts with local and indigenous communities to effectively manage and restore habitats.

These conservation efforts are all aimed toward the ultimate goal of restoring healthy tiger populations to their historic ranges.

International Tiger Day gives all of us a chance to reflect and appreciate how important this species is to our planet and increases our awareness of the preventable harm humans have inflicted on these animals.

family of tigers walking

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