The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the world’s largest living cat and among the world's most highly threatened
animals. Around 4,000 tigers exist in the wild today, down from 100,000 at the turn of the 20th century.
Wild tigers call few places home today. Half of the wild population is in India, and the rest is scattered in Bangladesh, China
, and Russia. Historically, this magnificent cat could be found in the islands of Bali and Java, across Asia
, and all the way to eastern Turkey. Of the eight known tiger subspecies that once existed in this vast area, almost half are extinct in the wild.
Commercial poaching is the main cause of these declines. Tigers are one of the most sought-after victims of the wildlife trade. On the black market, a whole tiger is worth less than the sum of its parts. While a cat’s skin might sell for $10,000, its bones and body parts can fetch double or even triple that amount. Once sold, these parts often wind up on pharmacy shelves as traditional medicines and dining tables as delicacies across Asia.
This large predator requires sufficient space for it to thrive. As developing nations clear entire forests to meet the needs of their growing populations
, tigers are forced to roam around landscapes that are too small and fragmented to support their prey.
Our scientists are leading efforts to identify biodiversity conservation corridors
that support highly threatened species and human development by promoting conservation-friendly land uses where necessary.