The tiger is a member of the Felidae family and is the biggest of the big cats. Tigers are also ranked amongst the most endangered big cats. They live in hot and humid jungles and also in icy cold forests.
There are six different subspecies of tigers which exist today. Tigers are an endangered species and today there are only about 4800-7500 tigers which are left. Tigers are admired for their beauty and strength, but they are also known to be deadly.
Wild tigers can be found mostly in India, but their historical range ran through Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, Siberia, India, Southeast Asia, China and the Indonesian Islands.
The six subspecies of tigers which are endangered, but still exist today include the following:
The Bengal Tiger – The Bengal Tiger which is also known as the Royal Bengal Tiger is the most common type of tiger. They can be found through the grasslands and rainforests of Bangladesh, India, China, Nepal, Burma and Bhutan. Male Bengal Tigers in the wild usually weigh about 220kg and the females weigh about 140kg. However, Nepalese Bengal male tigers and tigers found in north India are heavier than those living in the southern part of the Indian continent.
The Indochinese Tiger – these tigers are small and can be found in China, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand. These species are the second most populous and there may be around 2000 of these living in the wild. The preferred habitat of Indochinese tigers includes forests in hilly and mountainous regions. Average males weigh about 170kg while the average females weigh about 125kg.
The Malayan Tiger – until 2004, Malayan tigers were not considered as a subspecies. This subspecies was only classified following a study by Luo et al. Recent study shows that there may be about 600-800 of these tigers alive today. These are the third most populous and are the smallest of all mainland tiger subspecies. Males on average weigh about 120kg and females weigh about 100kg.
The Sumatran Tiger – these are the smallest tiger subspecies and can only be found on the Indonesian Islands of Sumatra. Today, there might be around 400 of these living in the wild.
The Siberian Tiger – is also known as the Amur Tiger and are the largest subspecies of tigers which are found in the Amur-Ussuri region of Primorski and Khabarovski.
The South China Tiger – these are the most endangered of all the subspecies of tigers. Today, there may be around 30 of these living in the wild. They live in South-central China and are listed among the top ten endangered animals in the world.