Episode #8 of the course “The Most Endangered Species in the World”
There are only 8 subspecies of tiger currently remaining in the world, 4 of which are endangered and 2 of which are critically endangered. The remaining types of tigers in the world are: Bengal, Indochinese, Siberian, Malayan, South China, and Sumatran. A water-friendly cat, tigers also climb trees and are found throughout the forests of India, China, Russia, and other areas of Asia. They are the national animal of five countries.
One of the most recognizable of the big cats, tigers are easily identifiable by their orange and black stripes, although albino or “white tigers” occur naturally. Tigers can grow up to 850 pounds, depending on their species, and run up to about 40 miles per hour. Their natural habitats range from wooded and jungle areas to snowy mountainous regions. Tigers’ stripes are evolved for their lurking through tall grasses to stalk prey, and they may work with other tigers when on the hunt. Tigers are largely solitary, but they can also be social as adults after learning social skills as cubs.
Tigers are closely associated with many societies’ folklore and ancient tales and are often involved in religious ceremonies. In some places, the appearance of a rare white tiger is considered a good omen, but in other places it may be unlucky.
Poaching tigers for their beautiful fur and human expansion into the tigers’ habitat reached critical levels for tigers in the 19th and 20th centuries. Some areas of Asia also believe that tiger body parts are potent medicinal ingredients, which has created a high demand even through today. During the 20th century, three species of tigers became extinct, prompting conservation efforts to begin in the 1960s.
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