The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the world’s biggest living cat and belongs to the Panthera genus. Dark vertical stripes on orange-brown fur with a paler underbelly distinguish it the most. It’s an apex predator that mostly eats ungulates like deer and wild boar. It is a territorial and solitary yet gregarious predator that requires huge continuous regions of habitat to meet its prey needs and brood rearing. Tiger cubs stay with their mother for roughly two years before becoming self-sufficient and establishing their own home range.
The tiger was first formally described in 1758, and its range formerly stretched from the Eastern Anatolia Region in the west to the Amur River valley in the east, and from the Himalayan foothills to Bali in the Sunda Islands in the south. Tiger populations have been extirpated from Western and Central Asia, the islands of Java and Bali, and extensive portions of Southeast and South Asia and China since the early twentieth century. The tiger’s range is now fragmented, ranging from Siberian temperate woods to Indian subtropical and tropical forests, as well as Sumatra.
The IUCN Red List classifies the tiger as Endangered. The world wild tiger population was estimated to be between 3,062 and 3,948 adult individuals as of 2015, with the majority of populations residing in tiny, isolated enclaves. India has the world’s greatest tiger population. Habitat degradation, fragmentation, and poaching are all major causes of population reduction. Human–wildlife conflict also affects tigers, particularly in range nations with dense human populations.
The tiger is one of the world’s most well-known and popular charismatic megafauna. It has appeared on numerous flags, coats of arms, and as mascots for athletic teams throughout its historical range, and continues to be shown in current cinema and literature. It has also appeared on numerous flags, coats of arms, and as mascots for athletic teams. The tiger is India’s, Bangladesh’s, Malaysia’s, and South Korea’s national animal.
Old French tigre, via Latin tigris, is the source of Middle English tigre and Old English tigras. This was a combination of Classical Greek ‘tigris’ and a foreign borrowing of unknown provenance meaning ‘tiger’ and the Tigris River. Although these terms are not known to have any connotations linked with tigers, the origin might be the Persian term tigra, which means ‘pointed or sharp,’ and the Avestan term tigrhi, which means ‘arrow,’ maybe referring to the speed of the tiger’s jump.
Panthera is derived from the Latin term panthera and the Ancient Greek word v, which means ‘panther.’ p-ara is a Sanskrit term that signifies ‘pale yellow, whitish, white.’
Several tiger specimens were described and designated as subspecies after Linnaeus’ original descriptions of the species. In 1999, the validity of many tiger subspecies was called into question. Fur length and coloration, striping patterns, and body size were used to separate most putative subspecies reported in the 19th and 20th centuries, resulting in features that varied considerably across populations. Tigers from various places have similar morphologies, and gene flow between populations in those areas is thought to have been feasible during the Pleistocene. As a result, only two tiger subspecies were proposed as legitimate, P. t. tigris in mainland Asia and P. t. sondaica in the Greater Sunda Islands.
Sumatran tiger skulls differ from Indochinese and Javan tiger skulls, according to the results of a craniological investigation of 111 tiger skulls from Southeast Asian range nations, although Bali tiger skulls are comparable in size to Javan tiger skulls. The authors advocated that the Sumatran and Javan tigers be classified as separate species, P. sumatrae and P. sondaica, respectively, with the Bali tiger being classified as a subspecies, P. sondaica balica.
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