But, in truth, tigers are disappearing in the wild. Just a century ago, an estimated 100,000 tigers inhabited the forests of Asia. Now scarcely 6,000 remain, and soon this magnificent cat may only exist in zoos.
Tigers are found in a wide range of habitats in Asia and the Russian Far East, in increasingly fragmented and isolated populations. They could be found from the forests of eastern Turkey and the Caspian region of Western Asia, all the way to the Indian sub-continent, China, and Indochina, south to Indonesia, and north to the Korean Peninsula and the Russian Far East.
The eight recognized tiger subspecies are extremely varied in their habitat and distribution.
• The Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is native to the Indian subcontinent.
• The Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) is mainly found in Manchuria by the Amur River.
• The south Chinese tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis) is native to south central China, slightly northward from the Indo-Chinese tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti)
• The Indo-Chinese tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti) has a southeastern distribution in China.
• Indonesia is where the Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is found.
• The Javan (Panthera tigris sondaica) and Balinese (Panthera tigris balica) tigers are now extinct but were native to Bali and Java in Indonesia respectively.
• The Caspian tiger, now extinct, (Panthera tigris virgata) was historically found in Turkey through central and west Asia.
All tigers need dense vegetation, the presence of large ungulate prey, and access to water to be able to survive.
Different tiger subspecies live in very different habitats with these features – including tropical rainforests, evergreen forests, mangrove swamps, grasslands, savannas, and temperate forests.
A tiger's favorite prey is deer and wild boar. Deer species may include sambar, chital, sika deer, swamp deer, and hog deer, among others. Depending on the habitat, tigers may also eat antelope, buffalo, guar, domestic livestock, peafowl, monkeys, civets, porcupines, fish, frogs, crabs, large monitor lizards, pythons, and young elephants or rhinos. Grass, fruits, and berries are also eaten
1- When prey is located, the tiger begins its stalk. It approaches the prey from the side or rear, in a semi-crouch or crouch position. Remaining concealed, quiet, and cautious, the tiger attempts to get within 20 m of its victim.
During or after the attack, the tiger administers a lethal bite to the nape (back) of the neck or the throat of its victim.
2-When prey weighs more than half as much as the tiger, the tiger will usually bite the throat, causing suffocation.
3-Once the tiger is close enough, it suddenly rushes the prey. Using its powerful forelimbs and sharp claws, the tiger seizes the prey by the shoulder, back, or neck, and forces it to the ground
A tiger can consume up to 88 pounds of meat at one time. On average, tigers give birth to 2-3 cubs every 2-2.5 years. If all the cubs in one litter die, a second litter may be produced within 5 months.
Tigers generally gain independence at two years of age and attain sexual maturity at 3-4 years for females and at 4-5 years for males. Juvenile mortality is high however—about half of all cubs do not survive more than two years. Tigers have been known to reach the age of 26 years in the wild.
Males of the largest subspecies, the Amur (Siberian) tiger, may weigh up to 660 pounds. Tigers are mostly solitary, apart from associations between mother and offspring. Individual tigers have a large territory and the size is determined mostly by the availability of prey.