The tiger is a mammal and a species of its own. Like the lion, it is one of the big cats and is the largest of the cat family. The males can grow up to a meter and eighty centimeters long, which is how tall a human is.
Tigers can be recognized by the stripes on their fur. The stripes are black on orange. Tigers are white underneath.
There are fewer and fewer tigers in the world. They still live mainly in East Asia. They roam as loners through tropical rainforests or northern fir forests, through grasslands and swamps. They mostly feed on larger ungulates.
How do tigers live?
Tigers roam the country singly and mostly at night in search of food. They cover amazing distances: up to 20 kilometers in one night. Unlike most other big cats, tigers love water and are excellent swimmers. But they can hardly climb trees because they are too heavy for them.
Thanks to the stripes, they look to other animals like a brown spot behind thin saplings. This makes it easier for tigers to sneak up on their prey. They eat both small and large animals, such as deer or wild pigs. Some eat more than twenty kilograms of meat a day.
Especially in the delta of the river Ganges, tigers regularly attack people. Old tigers are often no longer able to capture fast animals such as deer. They don’t sneak into the villages, but they regularly attack people who are cutting wood or collecting honey.
Tigers mark their territory with their urine and live alone. They only meet to mate, then the male moves on again. The female only carries her young in her belly for a little over three months. At birth, she usually gives birth to two to five young. When they are about three months old, they roam the area with their mother. They suckle milk from her for half a year.
The young animals can only hunt themselves when they are about one and a half years old. Until then, they eat the meat that the mother has captured. The young animals become sexually mature at about three years of age, so they can then have their own young. This lasts for about six to 12 years. Then they die. In captivity, they live a few years.
What types of tigers are there?
The Bengal tiger is also called the Bengal tiger or Indian tiger. He is the national animal of India. There are fewer than 2,500 of his animals left. He is considered endangered.
There are still about 400 adults and 100 young Siberian tigers. They live in a rather small area in northeast Asia and are considered critically endangered.
About 300 to 400 animals of the Indochinese tiger still live. Most of them live in Thailand, and the rest are in neighboring countries. The Indochinese tiger is considered critically endangered.
About 250 Malayan tigers still live in the wild, most of them in Malaysia and Thailand. He is considered critically endangered.
About 200 Sumatran tigers still live in zoos, about half of them in Europe. Also, about 200 animals still live in the wild. However, they are spread across individual areas and no longer have contact with each other. The Sumatran tiger is therefore threatened with extinction.
The South China tiger lives only in captivity. There are plans to release individual pairs back into the wild. Of all tiger species, it is the most threatened with extinction.
Three tiger species are already extinct: the Bali tiger, the Java tiger, and the Caspian tiger.
Why are tigers endangered?
Adult tigers are only killed by another animal in exceptional cases. Cubs are sometimes eaten by a bear. However, the biggest enemy of tigers is man, for several reasons:
Even though you shouldn’t actually hunt tigers, some people do it anyway. Some want to protect themselves from tigers. Others enjoy killing, and still, others believe tiger meat would make them healthy. Tiger skins and tiger teeth are still special things for many people that they want to put up at home.
However, it is often not the tigers themselves that are hunted, but man destroying their habitat. Many tiger species live in forests. However, many such forests have already been cleared. People want to sell the expensive wood or win the land. They used to plant rubber trees on it. Rubber was made from their juice. Today mainly palm oil plantations are planted.