There are many notable facts about tigers since they are such majestic animals. We prepared this article to highlight that and the need to protect tigers, as they are classified as endangered.
How Many Tigers Are Left in the World?
It is estimated that there are some 13,000 tigers in the world, with only 3,900 in the wild. The numbers appear to be stable/increasing in Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, and Russia. Still, there are also areas where the tiger population is declining (Southeast Asia, for example).
(iMedia, 2022; WWF, 2022)
Top 10 Compelling Facts About Tigers:
- Tigers are nocturnal mammals and the largest member of the cat family.
- There are fewer than 2,000 Bengal tigers left in the world.
- Only six black tigers are known to exist in the wild.
- Blue tigers may be the rarest in the world — if they exist at all.
- These wildcats live in 13 countries in diverse habitats.
- They can run as fast as 35–50 miles per hour.
- They don’t typically prey on humans.
- Tigers live up to 11 years in the wild and 20–25 years in captivity.
- A tigress can give birth to two–four cubs at a time.
- Tigers are on the verge of extinction.
The Number of Different Types of Tigers Left in the World
Most people would agree that tigers are beautiful animals. But, unfortunately, they have been hunted for many reasons, their gorgeous coat being just one of them. So, let’s see how many tigers are left today.
1. There are fewer than 30 golden tigers in the world.
(Zoological Wildlife Foundation, 2022)
These extremely rare wildcats are also known as golden tabby tigers or strawberry tigers because of their rare color variation attributed to a recessive gene. It’s believed that no such tiger lives in the wild anymore, only in captivity. Still, there are many more carriers of the gene.
2. About 200 white tigers are left in the world.
(Tigers in America, 2022)
According to white tiger facts, this color variation can only be found in captivity. The last one found in the wild was killed by a trophy hunter in 1958.
It should be noted that white tigers aren’t a separate subspecies, nor are they endangered. Instead, they exist due to inbreeding, essentially for entertainment purposes. Unfortunately, this practice is very harmful, leading to numerous health problems.
3. The Siberian tiger population in the wild is 350–400.
(WCS Russia, 2019; WWF, 2022)
These are also known as Amur tigers. Out of the total number, 95% live in the forests of the Russian Far East. Some sources claim the population is slightly higher (around 500), though, so we can conclude that the conservation efforts have helped them.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has partnered with different companies and institutions to protect Siberian tigers (support anti-poaching operations, protect habitat, raise public awareness, and so on), but they are still endangered.
4. The global Bengal tiger population is under 2,000.
(World Land Trust, 2022)
This refers to Bengal tigers living in the wild. Hunting and human population growth are the main threats to these tigers, who are actually the largest among big cats — up to 9.84 feet long (3 meters), weighing over 550 pounds (more than 250 kilograms).
5. Only six black tigers are known to exist in the wild.
(The Sun, 2020)
This is a very rare color variant of the tiger. They are called black because of the thick stripes hiding their orange fur, making them look black from afar, but they are still orange with stripes.
Black tigers live in the jungles of Odisha (India) exclusively.
6. Fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers are believed to remain in the wild.
(Fauna & Flora International, 2022)
They are listed as critically endangered tigers on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. That’s primarily owing to poaching, habitat loss, and human-wildlife conflict.
7. There are fewer than 150 Malayan tigers in the world.
(South China Morning Post, 2022)
Unfortunately, the number keeps dropping because of illegal hunting, diseases, and habitat loss. In contrast, back in the 1950s, Malaysia had some 3,000 tigers.
According to Christopher Wong, head of the Tiger Conservation Programme at WWF-Malaysia, every part of the tiger is seen in illegal wildlife markets, “used for modern health tonics and folk remedies, and their skins are sought after as status symbols among some Asian cultures.”
8. Blue tigers may be the rarest in the world — if they exist at all.
(Cryptid Wiki, 2022)
Apart from reports from people claiming they saw blue (also known as Maltese) tigers, there’s no evidence of their existence. That’s why some believe these are only mythical creatures. Still, they might just be an extremely rare color variation, as there are domestic cats with it.
General Tiger Facts & Information
9. Tigers are nocturnal mammals and the largest member of the cat family.
(Nature on PBS, 2020; Defenders of Wildlife, 2020)
That’s the Felidae family, whose evolution began 25 million years ago. Tigers are 6–10 feet long and weigh 220–660 pounds. Males are normally heavier than females.
Tigers are mostly nocturnal animals, i.e., they are more active during nighttime, while daytime is for sleeping.
10. These wildcats live in 13 countries in diverse habitats.
(World Atlas, 2020; Britannica, 2022)
The countries in question are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Among these, India has the highest number of tigers in the wild.
The natural tiger habitat includes savannas, rain forests, and dry grasslands. They aren’t fond of heat, which is probably one of the reasons they enjoy swimming.
11. Tigers can run as fast as 35–50 miles per hour (49–65 kilometers).
This speed can be maintained only over short distances, though. Additionally, fun facts about tigers tell us they can leap 9–10 meters (30–33 feet).
12. Two to four cubs are born at a time.
A female tiger (a tigress) can give birth every two years. However, if all the cubs born simultaneously die, a tigress can have another litter again in five months.
They gain independence at about two years of age and reach sexual maturity when they’re three or four years old for females and four or five years old for males.
13. According to tiger life span facts, they live up to 11 years in the wild and 20–25 years in captivity.
For cubs, however, survival is quite difficult. In fact, approximately half of them die before reaching the age of two.
According to Guinness World Records, the oldest tiger alive in captivity is Bengali, born on August 31, 1995. He lives in Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary in Texas, USA.
14. They typically don’t prey on humans.
You may not expect this to be one of the tiger characteristics, but they are rather wary of people. Nonetheless, if their encounters go wrong, a tiger will attack a human. From time to time, a man-eating tiger may appear, in which case they are usually eliminated.
15. Unfortunately, tigers are on the verge of extinction.
As we mentioned, there are around 3,900 tigers left, whereas a century ago or so, there were 100,000 wild tigers in Asia.
The leading causes are human-wildlife conflict and illegal hunting/capturing. Believe it or not, there are more tigers captive in America than free-roaming wild tigers worldwide.
How big are Siberian tigers?
The Siberian tiger’s size is around 10.75 feet (3.27 meters), and they weigh 660 pounds (300 kilograms) or so.
(National Geographic, 2022)
Do tigers have predators?
The tiger is a so-called apex predator, i.e., a predator at the top of a food chain. It means they have no natural enemies.
Which tigers are extinct?
Sadly, three subspecies are extinct — Balinese tigers (Panthera tigris balica), Caspian tigers (Panthera tigris virgata), and Javan tigers (Panthera tigris sondaica).
Balinese tigers ceased to exist primarily due to human settlement and demand for agricultural land. Caspian tigers’ disappearance was largely influenced by hunting, loss of habitat, and loss of prey. Javan tigers also became extinct owing to hunting and habitat destruction.
(Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary, 2022)
Do tigers eat fish?
Yes, they do.
They are often called hypercarnivores, which means their main food is meat. Tigers are solitary hunters, eating rabbits, deer, wild pigs, tapirs, and other animals, depending on where they live.
(Discovery Channel UK, 2022)
Why are tigers important?
As previously mentioned, by preying on other animals, they maintain the balance in the habitat. In addition, forests protected for tigers store more carbon than other habitat types, thus helping mitigate climate change.
Having read this article, hopefully, you’ve learned many new things. Many facts about tigers are impressive, but some are very sad since these splendid wildcats are on the brink of extinction, making it crucial to raise awareness of the issue.
- Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary
- Cryptid Wiki
- Defenders of Wildlife
- Discovery Channel UK
- Fauna & Flora International
- Guinness World Records
- National Geographic
- National Geographic
- Nature on PBS
- South China Morning Post
- The Better India
- The Sun
- Tigers in America
- WCS Russia
- World Atlas
- World Land Trust
- Zoological Wildlife Foundation