Tigers are the largest cat species of the genus Panthera – as they being the top predators in the food chain. From 9 subspecies of tigers in the world, 3 of them have all gone extinct in the last 80 years. One of it is Caspian Tiger and two of them is from Indonesia: the Bali Tiger and Javan Tiger.
With remain of 6 subspecies tigers, there are approximately between 3,062 and 7,500 tigers remaining alive out there. This is includes both those in the wild and in captivity. Tigers have lost about 90% of their historical range. Habitat destruction, poaching for the tiger fur and traditional medicine are the main reasons they disappear from the wild.
The first big cat which endemic to Sumatra Island – Indonesia is the Sumatran tiger. As the name implies, they are the only subspecies of the Sunda tiger that still alive until now.
Having a smaller size than other species, the unique characteristic of the Sumatran tiger is the intense colour of the stripes.
Siberian Tiger can still be found along the Korean Peninsula, northwest Mongolia, southeast Russia, and northwest China.
Unlike the Sumatran tiger which has a small body size, the Siberian tiger has the largest body size compared to other species. Their numbers continue to decrease as the impact of climate change is quite extreme, and only about 500-600 individuals remain in the wild.
The second largest cat after the Siberian tiger is the Bengal tiger, which lives in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan to Nepal. These big cat’s coat is yellow to light orange with black or dark brown stripes. They are a really good climbers and swimmers!
There are also the white bengal tigers which is a recessive mutant, but not occurrence of albinism. The white fur caused by a lack of the pigment pheomelanin, which found in Bengal tigers with orange color fur. When compared to Bengal tigers, the white Bengal tigers tend to grow faster and heavier than the orange Bengal tiger. They also tend to be somewhat bigger at birth, and as fully grown adults.
The Indochinese tiger is a subspecies that is native to Southeast Asia, their population occurs in Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos.
Having smaller body size than Bengal tiger, their ground colouration is darker with more rather short and narrow single stripes.
South China Tiger
As the name implies, these big cat is a subspecies native to Southern China. They are the smallest tiger in mainland Asia but bigger than Sumatran tiger, with more yellowish coat.
South China Tiger has been listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 1996. They are possibly extinct in the wild since no wild individual has been recorded since the late 1980.
The Malayan Tiger is the population of subspecies natives to the southern and central parts of the Peninsular Malaysia. Their characteristic appear to be don’t have clear difference with Indochinese Tiger.