Wildlife Species of the Week

TIGER (Panthera Tigris)

Tiger, (Panthera tigris) is the largest member of the cat family (Felidae), mostly solitary, apart from associations between mother and offspring. There are two recognized subspecies of tigers:  the continental (Panthera tigris tigris) and the Sunda (Panthera tigris sondaica).

Tigers rely primarily on sight and sound rather than smell for hunting. They typically hunt alone and stalk prey. Individual tigers have a large territory, and the size is determined mostly by the availability of prey. Individuals mark their domain with urine, feces, rakes, scrapes, and vocalizing.

Furthermore, as top predators, tigers help to keep their environment healthy. It’s the way things naturally work in the wild – the predators prey on other animals, in this case, herbivores (plant-eaters) such as deer. But without enough tigers to eat them, herbivores can overgraze and damage the land, disrupting the balance of the local environment. Thus they have great role in balancing the ecosystem.

Local people also depend on a healthy environment for food, water, and lots of other resources. By helping to protect the tigers, we’re also helping to look after the places they live, which is ideal for all the people and wildlife sharing that environment. Tigers are classified as Endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list, as pressures from illegal killing, a shrinking food supply, and habitat loss continue to threaten the survival of the remaining subspecies.