There are fewer than 3 500 tigers left in the wild, compared to 7 000 a decade ago and 40 000 in the 1950s. There are more tigers in captivity in Texas than in the wild throuhout Asia.
There are currently 6 subspecies of tigers. The different subspecies are found in areas of Asia, India and Russia. The largest subspecies is found in snowy areas of Russia. The smallest and darkest subspecies is found farther south, in the jungles of Indonesia. Tigresses (females) are always smaller than males.
SIBERIAN OR AMUR TIGER - the largest of the tiger subspecies, males can be as long as a station wagon. These tigers also have the palest orange coat and the fewest stripes.
BENGAL OR INDIAN TIGER - This is the most common subspecies of tiger.
INDOCHINESE TIGER - These tigers are about 20% smaller and are darker than Bengal tigers.
MALAYAN TIGER - This subspecies was proved to be a "true subspecies", living in Thailand and Malaysia in 2004. A group from the U.S. National Cancer Institute, the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity, studied the tiger and discovered the new classification. The Malayan tiger is one of the smallest subspecies of tigers, along with the Sumatran tiger.
SOUTH CHINA TIGER - These tigers are slightly smaller than the Indochinese subspecies. In the 1950s the Chinese government ordered that these tigers be destroyed because they were viewed as pests. Today, there are less than 30 South China tigers left in the wild. Thankfully, the Chinese have taken steps toward a plan to protect the remaining South China tigers.
SUMATRAN TIGER - Even though the Sumatran is one of the smallest tiger subspecies, it still is a pretty big cat and is the length of a school cafeteria table!