Almost gone … Tigers
There are six living subspecies of tiger: Bengal, Indochinese, Malayan, Amur (or Siberian), Sumatran and South China. The South China tiger is believed by many scientists to be functionally extinct because it has not been seen in the wild for more than 25 years.
There are now estimated to be as few as 3,200 tigers left in the wild, mostly found in isolated pockets spread across increasingly fragmented forests stretching from India to north-eastern China and from the Russian Far East to Sumatra.
Threats to tigers
Poaching of tigers for skins and body parts used in traditional Asian medicines is the largest immediate threat to the species worldwide. The growing prosperity of the Southeast Asian and East Asian economies since the 1970s has led to an ever-increasing demand for these medicines. There are also significant markets among Asian communities in North America and Europe for tiger-based medicines.
Habitat loss due to agriculture, clearing of forests for the timber trade and rapid development, especially road networks, are forcing tigers into small, scattered islands of remaining habitat.
As a result, the numbers of wild tigers and the availability of their prey have steeply declined. This also means that tigers are increasingly coming into conflict with humans as they stray into areas close to villages, resulting in tigers and people being killed.
What WWF is doing for tigers
With your help, we can save wild tigers. WWF has set a bold but achievable goal of doubling the number of tigers in the wild by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger. We are concentrating our efforts on protecting key landscapes where the big cats have the best chance of surviving and increasing over the long-term.
Five decades of conservation experience has shown us that given enough space, prey and protection, tigers can recover.
By saving tigers, we also save the biologically rich and diverse landscapes where they still roam - Asia’s last great rainforests, jungles and wild lands. These forests are home to thousands of other species, people and the food, freshwater and flood protection that local communities need to survive.