6. Malayan Tiger
With only 250 to 340 surviving individuals, the Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni), the National Animal of Malaysia, has been classified as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). These tigers are found in the forests of the Malay Peninsula and are smaller in size than the tigers of India and prey on a variety of deer, boars, calves of elephants and rhinos and the sun bear. Habitat loss and indiscriminate poaching of these tigers for their body parts to prepare traditional Chinese medicines and for decorative purposes have led to the steady and sharp decline in tiger numbers. A group of non-governmental organizations, including the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Traffic Southeast Asia, Malaysian Nature Society, and others have formed an alliance with the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers with the aim to save the Malayan tigers from extinction.
5. Indochinese Tiger
The Indochinese tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti) is an endangered subspecies of tigers that occupies habitat in the Indochina region of Southeast Asia. Though the tigers had a widespread distribution only a century back, today, only 600 to 650 of these tigers remain. They have already become extinct in China, Cambodia, and Laos. Only 20 individuals remain in Vietnam, 85 in Myanmar, and around a few hundred in Thailand. These tigers are solitary in nature and their elusive nature makes it difficult to study their behavior in detail. They prey on medium and large sized wild ungulates in the forest. Like the Malayan tigers, Indochinese tigers are also threatened by the poaching industry that mercilessly hunts down these tigers to use tiger body parts for Chinese traditional medicines and other purposes.
4. Bengal Tiger
The royal Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is the only subspecies of tigers that exhibited a significant recovery in population from 1,706 in 2010 to 2,226 in 2014. This tiger is regarded as the National Animal of both India and Bangladesh. In India, the tiger has a widespread distribution from the forests in the Himalayan foothills in the north of the country to the Western Ghats landscape in the south of the country including the forests in the floodplains of the Ganga and Bhramaputra river systems, the Sundarbans mangrove forests in West Bengal, the Eastern Ghats landscape, and the Central Indian highland forests. Small populations are also found in Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. Habitat destruction and poaching are primary threats to the survival of these tigers.
3. Amur Tiger
Amur tigers, or Siberian tigers, (Panthera tigris altaica) of the Russian Far East occupy habitat in two major locations in the country, in the Sikhote Alin mountains and the Primorye Province. As per the most recent census of them, the Amur tigers have also exhibited a slight recovery in numbers from 331-393 in 2005 to 480-540 in 2015. The Siberian tigers are well adapted to tolerate the frigid winters of Siberia and are known to travel distances of up to 1,000 kilometers. These tigers prey on a variety of species like musk deer, roe deer, moose, pigs, black and brown bears and even small hares and fish. In the early part of the 20th Century, large numbers of Amur tigers were completely wiped out of their territory by wars and army occupation and hunting of these tigers was also legal until 1947. Currently, stringent measures are being adopted by the Russian Government to conserve these tigers and some success has been achieved as evident from the latest census results.
2. Sumatran Tiger
Clearing of native forests for palm oil plantations and poaching for body parts are the two primary factors leading to a rapid decline in the Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) populations. These tigers are found exclusively on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia and only 441 to 679 individuals of this subspecies is believed to survive today. Wild pigs, pheasants, porcupines, and Sambar deer are some of the prey species for these tigers.
1. South China Tiger
Though the South China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis) is classified as critically endangered by the IUCN it is regarded to be extinct in the wild as the no sightings of these tigers in the wild have been reported for nearly 25 years. The tigers were once widely distributed in the forests of south China but habitat degradation and fragmentation and high rates of poaching led to the quick decline in tiger populations in the country. Today a small number of South China tigers are found in the zoos of China and captive breeding facilities in some other parts of the world. Plans for "rewilding" these captive bred tigers by introducing them into protected reserves in China is also being formulated by conservationists.
What is the World's Most Threatened Tiger Species?
Though the South China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis) is classified as critically endangered by the IUCN it is regarded to be extinct in the wild as the no sightings of these tigers in the wild have been reported for nearly 25 years. The tigers were once widely distributed in the forests of south China but habitat degradation and fragmentation and high rates of poaching led to the quick decline in tiger populations in the country.
About the Author
Oishimaya is an Indian native, currently residing in Kolkata. She has earned her Ph.D. degree and is presently engaged in full-time freelance writing and editing. She is an avid reader and travel enthusiast and is sensitively aware of her surroundings, both locally and globally. She loves mingling with people of eclectic cultures and also participates in activities concerning wildlife conservation.
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