In celebration of International Tiger Day on July 29, we have put together a list of the most important facts and statistics about tigers. You will also find a list of events and awareness campaigns that you can get involved with.
Key Tiger Facts
- Tigers are the largest wild cats in the world. They can grow to 3.3m long and weigh as much as 363 kg.
- Tigers only eat meat, as they are carnivorous. Their prey consists mostly of large mammals like buffalo, antelope, wild pigs, and deer. They can eat up to 40 kg of meat in one sitting.
- The United Nations reports that habitat destruction and illegal trade have caused a 95% drop in the number of tigers worldwide in the last 100 years.
- Tigers are endangered throughout their range, which stretches from the Russian Far East through parts of North Korea, China, India, and Southeast Asia to the Indonesian island of Sumatra. About 4,500 tigers remain in the wild.
- Tigers are targeted by illegal wildlife trade, with their parts in high demand. Every year, around 100 tigers are killed for this trade.
- Conservation efforts have led to an increase in tiger populations. India alone has seen a rise from 1,411 to 2,967 tigers in the last decade.
- Tigers typically hunt alone and stalk prey. They can reach speeds of up to 65 km/h (40 mph) when chasing prey. They usually kill their prey by biting the throat or neck.
Tiger Population Statistics
|Bengal tiger ( P. t. tigris)||2,500||India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh|
|Indochinese tiger ( P. t. corbetti)||350||Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia|
|Malayan tiger ( P. t. jacksoni)||250||Peninsular Malaysia|
|Siberian tiger ( P. t. altaica)||540||Russian Far East|
|South China tiger ( P. t. amoyensis)||<20||China|
|Sumatran tiger ( P. t. sumatrae)||40||Sumatra|
“Sumatran tigers are a Critically Endangered species, with no single viable population remaining. They have a suite of problems: habitat loss, prey loss, human conflict and poaching. We must immediately protect their remaining habitat and set up reliable processes to secure both their and their prey’s safety. As well as the transfer of conflict males between populations to maintain the species’ genetic viability as a single mega population of Sumatran tigers. The International Tiger Project, in conjunction with its partners, is working to solve these issues.” – Leif Cocks, Founder of Wildlife Conservation International
Threats to Tigers
- Habitat Loss: Tigers face habitat loss due to deforestation, logging, and human encroachment, with a staggering 93% reduction in their historical range.
- Poaching: Illegal poaching for the illegal wildlife trade remains a significant threat, with an estimated 2,500 tigers killed for their body parts in the past two decades.
- Prey Depletion: Declining prey species, such as deer and wild pigs, negatively impact tiger populations, pushing them to search for alternative food sources, including livestock.
- Human-Wildlife Conflict: As tiger habitats shrink, conflicts between tigers and humans escalate, resulting in retaliatory killings and habitat fragmentation.
- Captive Wildlife Crisis: captive wildlife crisis poses a significant threat to tigers, contributing to issues like exploitation, illegal trade, and habitat loss
“With only ~4,500 tigers left in the wild, there are an estimated 5,000+ privately owned in America. This contrast goes to show the gravity of the Captive Wildlife Crisis. The Captive Wildlife Crisis encapsulates captive wild animals that become victim to buying, trading, selling, abuse, neglect, and beyond. Tigers are no exception. They are heavily trafficked and exploited across the world via roadside zoos, breeding facilities, cub petting operations, and even as pets. Tigers are an endangered species yet more are kept in backyards than found in the wild. Education and awareness are paramount to not only conserving wild tigers, but also to advocating for tigers in captivity,” – Tammy Thies, The Wildcat Sanctuary’s Executive Director
- Climate Change: Rising temperatures and changing weather patterns affect tiger habitats, altering prey distribution and increasing the vulnerability of tiger populations.
- Infrastructure Development: Expanding roads, dams, and other infrastructure projects fragment tiger habitats, isolating populations and reducing genetic diversity.
- Illegal Wildlife Trade: Tigers are sought after for their skin, bones, and other body parts in the illegal wildlife trade, driven by demand for traditional medicine and luxury goods.
- Lack of Conservation Funding: Limited resources hinder conservation efforts, making it challenging to implement effective measures to protect tigers and their habitats.
- Inadequate Law Enforcement: Weak law enforcement and corruption enable poaching and illegal trade networks to thrive, undermining conservation efforts.
- Climate Change: Rising sea levels and extreme weather events pose threats to tiger habitats in coastal regions, exacerbating their vulnerability to extinction.
“Several successful conservation initiatives have shown that tigers can recover when given the chance. Efforts such as strengthening anti-poaching measures, establishing protected areas, promoting community-based conservation, and raising public awareness have had positive impacts on tiger populations in certain regions. Collaborative efforts between governments, conservation organizations, local communities, and individuals are crucial for their success.” – Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
How You Can Help
- Donate to reputable tiger conservation organizations working on the ground to protect tiger habitats, combat poaching, and promote conservation initiatives.
- Raise awareness about the importance of tiger conservation by sharing information through social media, educational campaigns, or public events.
- Support sustainable tourism practices that prioritize responsible tiger viewing and contribute to local communities engaged in conservation efforts.
- Advocate for stronger legislation and enforcement against illegal wildlife trade, including tiger products such as skins, bones, and parts.
- Choose sustainable and certified products to avoid supporting activities that harm tiger habitats, such as deforestation or illegal logging.
- Avoid pay-to-pet schemes using tiger cubs, purchasing products made from tiger parts or contributing to the illegal wildlife trade.
- Support initiatives that promote community-based conservation and involve local communities in tiger conservation efforts.
- Encourage responsible development and land-use practices that prioritize tiger habitat conservation and minimize human-wildlife conflict.
- Stay informed about the latest developments and issues in tiger conservation, and actively participate in discussions and initiatives promoting their protection.
Source: Big Cat Rescue
Organisations to Support
Panthera is an organization dedicated to the conservation of the world’s 40 species of wild cats, including tigers. Panthera’s flagship tiger program is Tigers Forever, which aims to increase tiger numbers by at least 50% over a 10-year period at key sites across Asia.
Born Free is an organization that works for the welfare and conservation of wild animals, including tigers. Born Free’s Living with Tigers program supports a network of Indian conservationists who protect tiger habitats, prevent human-tiger conflict, tackle wildlife crime, monitor tiger populations, and improve the livelihoods of local communities in central India. Born Free also campaigns against the exploitation and abuse of tigers in captivity, such as in tiger farms, circuses, zoos, and private collections
The Wildcat Sanctuary
The Wildcat Sanctuary is a non-profit rescue sanctuary that provides a natural sanctuary to wild cats in need, including tigers who have been rescued from abusive or exploitative situations. The sanctuary does not breed, buy, sell, or exhibit its residents, but allows them to live wild at heart in spacious and natural habitats. The sanctuary also educates the public about the wildlife crisis and the importance of tiger conservation.
“The Wildcat Sanctuary (TWS) is the only accredited, non-profit sanctuary in the Midwest. TWS provides a natural sanctuary to wild cats in need and inspires change to end the captive wildlife crisis. Combining natural and spacious habitats with a life free of exhibition, TWS allows all residents to live wild at heart. As a true sanctuary, we do not buy, breed, sell or exhibit animals. The Wildcat Sanctuary is accredited the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. More information can be found at WildcatSanctuary.org” – Tammy Thies, Executive Director
To save tigers from extinction, WWF has been working on various activities since 2010, such as securing their habitats, disrupting the illegal trade, changing consumer behaviour, connecting landscapes, and empowering communities. WWF partnered with governments, organizations, and local people to achieve its goal of doubling the wild tiger population by 2022.
Big Cat Rescue
Big Cat Rescue is a non-profit animal sanctuary founded by Carole Baskin. It provides a permanent home for abused, abandoned, and neglected big cats, such as lions, tigers, leopards, and cougars. The organization is dedicated to ending the private ownership and exploitation of these majestic animals while advocating for their welfare and conservation.
“One of the biggest threats to tigers is conflict with humans who live in areas neighboring the tiger territory. In this region, climate change has resulted in more erratic monsoons. This has affected the natural rivers and streams. In the dry season, they dry up more quickly than they used to. Thirst causes the tigers to enter the more populated areas they would normally avoid in search of water. This creates a danger to the people and killing of tigers.
Corbett Foundation has a very clever solution: solar powered pumps connected to “bore-wells” to create watering holes for the animals. The wells are made by using a machine to drive pipe 100 to 300 feet into the ground to reach the water level. An array of four 4’ x 8’ solar panels is installed to operate the pump. A chain link fence is erected around the solar array to protect it. The Forest Department constructs the pool that holds the water.
The well, pump, solar panels, and the labor to install these costs $4800 for each well. Our hope this International Tiger Day is to raise $9600 to construct two of these wells to provide water for thirsty tigers so they stay out of harm’s way.” – Carole Baskin, on their mission for International Tiger Day
International Tiger Project
The International Tiger Project (ITP) is a non-profit project that aims to protect and save the tigers and their habitats in Borneo and Sumatra. It works with local communities, provides technical and financial assistance, and monitors tigers with camera traps. It also supports the conservation of other endangered species and the rainforest ecosystem.
Nepal Tiger Trust
Nepal Tiger Trust is a non-governmental organisation that monitors and protects tigers in Chitwan National Park and its surroundings. It was founded in 2010 and collaborates with various stakeholders. It uses camera traps, pugmark tracking, anti-poaching patrols, and educational programs to conserve tigers.
“Tigers are an endangered species and are at risk of extinction throughout its range including Nepal. Poaching, human-tiger conflicts, habitat degradation are few of the critical issue of tiger conservation. Nepal Tiger Trust has projects focused on understanding these issues by conducting tiger research, monitoring tigers and assisting park authorities with its resolutions. Our projects include Long Term Tiger Monitoring, Participatory Anti-Poaching, and Tiger Conservation Awareness Campaign. We monitor tigers using pug-mark tracking and camera trapping. Monitoring individual tigers helps us understand their movement patterns, behavior, population structure and identify them during human-tiger conflict situation.
Likewise, we help form a community based anti-poaching or Participatory Anti-poaching Unit in the local communities. These groups work in association with the park authorities, protection units, conduct joint patrolling and keep surveillance by monitoring illegal activities in their localities. Last but not least, we also do tiger conservation awareness in local schools, local communities, and visitors (national and internationals) who visit our field site and eco-tourism lodges in Nepal.
We strongly believe in protection of the tiger in its natural habitat is possible by the front line people and local communities living as neighbors next to tigers’ habitats. However, global community support is equally important to safeguard this beautiful, charismatic, majestic, and powerful animal in its natural habitats.” – Bhim Gurung, Executive Director
Action For The Wild
Colchester Zoo‘s Action for the Wild is a charity that supports conservation projects worldwide, including those that protect tigers and their habitats. For example, it has donated to the Wildlife Vets International, which provides veterinary care and training for tiger conservation in India, Nepal and Russia. It also supports the 21st Century Tiger, which funds tiger conservation initiatives across Asia. By donating to these projects, Colchester Zoo’s charity helps to ensure the survival of these endangered animals
International Tiger Day 2023 Events
- WWF Global Tiger Day is a virtual event that will be hosted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on July 29, 2023. The event will feature speakers from around the world who will discuss the importance of tiger conservation. There will also be opportunities for attendees to learn more about the WWF’s work to protect tigers and their habitats.
- Tx2: Double the Tigers is a campaign by the WWF and other organizations to double the number of wild tigers by 2022. The campaign is hosting a number of events in 2023 to raise awareness about tigers and the importance of their conservation
- The Animal Park at the Conservators Center will host Tiger Day, a fun and educational event to celebrate and learn about tigers and their conservation, on July 29, 2023, from 10 am to 4 pm in North Carolina, USA. Visitors can enjoy tiger-themed activities, meet tiger experts and partners, and support the park’s mission to care for rescued exotic animals
- Carolina Tiger Rescue will offer special tours on July 29, 2023, to celebrate International Tiger Day and raise funds for tiger conservation. Visitors can book tickets online and choose from different tour options, such as Twilight Tours, Keeper Tours, or Private Tours. Visitors can also learn about the history and mission of the rescue, which is home to over 50 wildcats and other animals.