Tiger in Assam, India
© Sandesh Kadur/Minden Picture
Info. Tiger camouflaged amongst tall grass, Assam, India
Hundreds of thousands of tigers once roamed across Asia, eastern Russia and various islands of the Indian Ocean. But over the past century, hunting and habitat loss have reduced their range and populations by more than 90 percent. Today, the World Wildlife Fund estimates there are fewer than 4,000 tigers in the wild. While the numbers have stabilised a bit recently, these solitary animals continue to be gravely endangered. India is home to the largest number of wild tigers in the world. The massive cats have always played an important cultural role here, and perhaps because of that, the Indian government has set up over 50 tiger reserves across the country. Despite these efforts, the mighty cat still faces a lot of dangers, including an increase in poaching, often because of illegal trade for tiger parts used in traditional medicines.