How much do you know about panthera tigris or the tiger? They are a member of the feline family and have retractable claws just like house cats. Their coats are usually varying shades of orange with black or brown stripes of different widths, lengths and spacing. They also usually have white on their undersides. Their eyes are yellow except for the white tigers, which are blue. Adult tigers have 30 sharp teeth; the canine teeth can measure up to 3 inches in length. These teeth suit their carnivorous diet very well.
These beautiful felines are solitary animals except for mating and rearing young. The females give birth to 2-3 young on average, which will remain with her from 1 ½ yrs. to 3 yrs. Tigers can live 10-15 yrs in the wild and 16-20 yrs. in a healthy captive setting. That was just some general information on tigers that you may already have known but now lets explore the subspecies.
There are 5 different subspecies of tigers left, the Siberian, South China, Indochinese, Bengal, and Sumatran tigers. Each of these tigers has an uncertain future, with a combined wild population of only 5,000-7,000.
The largest and most northern living tiger is the Siberian or the (Amur). The males can weigh as much as 660 lbs. Females are considerably smaller at 200-270 lbs. There are estimated to be 360-406 left in the wild, and about 490 in captivity. The Amur primarily lives in southeast parts of Russia, and unlike most other tigers their stripes are brown instead of black. These stripes are widely spaced over the orange coat. They also have a thick white ruff about its neck.
For the South China tiger it seems nearly hopeless with only 20-30 left in the wild and only 47 in a handful of zoos. As their name implies they live only in South china. These are one of the smaller tigers, males weigh in at 330 lbs, while females tip the scales at about 240 lbs. Their stripes are short and wide.
Next is the Indochinese tiger, they tend to have a wider range that spans across most of Southeast Asia. There are about 1227-1785 left in the wild and about 60 in zoos. The males weigh about 400 lbs., females are about 250 lbs. Their coat is a dark orange with short stripes.
The Bengal tiger has the highest wild population at 3159-4715 and 333 in captivity. India is where they usually call home. The male weighs about 480 lbs. and females 300 lbs. Their stripes are thin and spaced fairly close together. The Bengal tiger gives the world the beautiful "White tigers" which is just a color variation. The white tiger is rare in the wild. Other color variations include all white and black with white/yellow stripes, these are extremely rare.
Lastly we have the Sumatran tiger which lives on the isle of Sumatra. There are about 400 left living mostly in the national parks, and about 210 in captivity. These tigers are the darkest orange coated with wide closely spaced stripes even down the forelegs. Males weigh around 264 lbs. and females only about 198 lbs. making the Sumatran tiger the smallest of the tigers.
Unfortunately in less then a century the world has lost 3 other subspecies of tiger: the Bali was gone in the 1940s, the Caspian gone in the 1970s and the Javan gone by the 1980s. There are still five subspecies left but all are endangered some critically. The cause of the disappearance of the tiger is no mystery, once again the primary reasons are habitat loss and poaching. Their strikingly beautiful coats run a high cost for the tiger along with other parts such as their tail, whiskers, eyes, brains, and bones are also stolen from the tiger for use in Chinese medicines. What will they use when the Tiger is lost? Which is a probability of the near future if we dont stop this needless poaching and habitat loss.
To learn more about tigers check out www.5tigers.org