How Many Tigers Are Left In the World? Encouraging Fact on Wild Tiger Numbers

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Animals | April 1, 2024

Tiger in its native habitat answering the question how many tigers are left in the world and what types of tigers are left, where do tigers live, what do tigers eat and other tiger population, lifespan, and tiger hunting facts.

You may have heard about the declining rate of the current tiger population and have wondered, how many tigers are left in the world?

Most estimates state that there are about 4,000 tigers left in the wild which is a far cry from their previous 100,000 population.

Fortunately, the news is not altogether bad as one encouraging fact about wild tiger numbers is that tigers in the wild are 40% more than previously estimated.1

Additionally, Tigers in captivity make up for the lost number of tigers in the wild.

The following guide explains the answer to the question, how many tigers are left in the world, their the population crisis and other tiger facts that can help you support the re-population of this crucial endangered animal.


(Panthera tigris)

Tiger along with cubs in an oval frame on a green background.
  • Family: Felidae
  • Genus: Panthera
  • Common Traits: Largest member of the cat family, can run up to 60 miles an hour, strong and powerful, like to live alone
  • Diet: Meat
  • Natural Habitat: Mangrove swamps, savannas, grasslands and rainforests
  • Average Weight: Male 90 – 310 kg, Female 65 – 170 kg
  • Average Length (or Height): 2.5m (8ft) to 2.9m(9.5ft)
  • Habitat: Mangrove swamps, savannas, grasslands and rainforests
  • Endangered Status: Tigers are an endangered species

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Ranking



Image Credit: StockSnap19

Types of Tigers

Tigers have only one species but a wide range of subspecies. A subspecies refers to a group within a species that is different from the rest either genetically or physically.

Tigers have nine subspecies and three of them are extinct. The current existing subspecies and types of tigers include:

  • Bengal
  • Indo-Chinese
  • South China
  • Amur
  • Sumatran
  • Malayan

The extinct subspecies include:

  • Caspian
  • Bali, and
  • Javan

Bengal Tiger

The scientific name of the Bengal Tiger is the Panthera tigris tigris.6

It’s also known as the Royal Bengal Tiger or the Indian Tiger and is found in the Indian subcontinent.

Wide shot of a Bengal Tiger resting on a rock showing its brownish-orange coat with black stripes.

(Image: Edo Emmerig11)

Previously, the Bengal Tiger roamed in a wider area but it’s now found in:

  • Nepal
  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • India

This tiger subspecies is on the list of endangered animals. It’s the most common, well-known, and largest Tiger found in the wild.

The weight of a male Bengal is about 390 to 570 pounds and the weight of a female is about 220 and 350 pounds.

White Tiger: If you happen to spot a White Tiger, you should know that the pigmentation results from genetic mutation or it’s an Albino Tiger. If the Tiger has blue eyes and black stripes, then the discoloration is caused by Leucism, a genetic mutation that affects Bengal Tigers.

Both parents must have the Leucism gene to give birth to a white cub. This mutation is rare and has a likelihood of occurring in one out of 10,000 births.

On the other hand, Albino Tigers are white (with faint or no stripes) and have pink eyes. Tigers of this kind do not survive well in the wild because they lack camouflage which protects the tiger.

Siberian Tiger walking on snowy ground showing thick light orange fur with black stripes, white fur on chest, and yellow eyes.

(Image: Marcel Langthim12)

Siberian Tiger

The scientific name of the Siberian Tiger is the Panthera tigris altaica. It’s commonly known as the Korean Tiger, Manchurian Tiger, Ussurian Tiger, or Amur Tiger.

It is commonly found in Northern Asia in areas around Korea, Russia, and China. Human encroachment took most of the Siberian Tiger’s habitat.

Although the Bengal Tiger is the largest in the wild, Siberian Tigers in captivity are much larger. This makes the Siberian Tiger the largest purebred cat worldwide.

When you crossbreed a male lion and a female tiger, you get a liger which is larger than a tiger and weighs up to 1600 pounds.2 A liger is three times the size of a Siberian and Bengal Tiger.

Additionally, when these two species are crossbred, they create cubs that are larger than them.

The heaviest Siberian Tiger in the wild weighs 660 pounds which is much smaller than the Bengal Tiger. The standard weight of a wild male Siberian is 390 to 480 pounds and a female Siberian weighs between 261 and 304 pounds.

The Siberian Tiger also has a large skull and broad chest. Moreover, it has a thick fur coat that makes it adaptable to Northern Asia’s harsh winters.

The color of its coat is a less vibrant orange than other subspecies.

Sumatran Tiger

Its scientific name is Panthera tigris sumatrae. It’s the smallest among all the tiger subspecies and its natural habitat is the island of Sumatra in Indonesia.

It is isolated from other tigers due to its natural island habitat. This isolation has resulted in genetic differentiation from other subspecies.

Sumatran Tiger walking into a shallow river showing brownish coat with well-defined black stripes.

(Image: Penny13)

Sumatran Tigers are critically endangered.7 Two other tiger species that occupied the same habitat (Bali and Javan Tigers) are now extinct.

The weight of the Sumatran Tiger is half the weight of the Siberian and Bengal Tigers. Male Sumatrans weigh between 221 and 311 pounds while females weigh between 165 and 244 pounds.

They are among the animals that will be extinct by 2050.

The Bengal and Siberian are only slightly taller than the Sumatran. This means that the Sumatran has a better body weight distribution with a slight build compared to other bulkier subspecies.

The Sumatran also has well-defined and dark stripes that cover its entire body.

Indo-Chinese Tigers standing on huge rocks with one of them showing large canine teeth.

(Image: Lotse15)

Indo-Chinese Tiger

The scientific name is Panthera tigris corbetti. It’s also called Corbett’s Tiger, named after Jim Corbett who was a famous hunter in the early 20th century.

He hunted a lot of Man-eating Tigers.

Hunting and habitat encroachment has critically endangered the Indochinese Tiger.

Its native to Southeast Asia in areas such as:

  • Vietnam
  • Burma
  • Laos
  • Thailand
  • China

The decrease in Indochinese Tiger population results from high demand and illegal trade of tiger parts. The current total population of Indochinese Tigers is 300 – 400 Tigers.

Their body parts are used for:

  • Rituals
  • Meat
  • Jewelry
  • Medicines
  • Clothes
  • Wines

Almost all parts of the tiger are in high demand. This subspecies has narrow, single stripes.

The weight of the male is between 330 and 430 pounds while that of the female is between 221 and 291 pounds.

Malayan Tiger

The scientific name of the Malayan Tiger is Panthera tigris jacksoni or Panthera tigris malayensis. It’s found in Southeastern Asia in Malaysia, Thailand, and Burma.

The appearance of the Malayan Tiger is similar to the Indo-Chinese Tiger though it is slightly smaller. The males weigh between 220 and 308 pounds and the females weigh between 160 and 245 pounds.

Malayan Tiger standing next to some plant species showing dark orange coat with black stripes.

(Image: F. Muhammad14)

How many tigers are left in the world? The Malayan Tiger population is shockingly low with less than 200 breeding adults worldwide.

This number is declining rapidly making the subspecies critically endangered.

South China Tiger lying sideways on the ground covered with dry leaves showing orange fur with black stripes and white fur on chest.

(Image: J. Patrick Fischer16)

South China Tiger

The scientific name is Panthera tigris amoyensis.

It’s also called the Amoy Tiger, Xiamen Tiger, or the Chinese Tiger.

It is native to Central and Eastern China though over the last few decades, not a single one has been spotted in the wild.

The South China Tiger is among the smallest tiger subspecies though not as small as the Malayan Tiger and the Indo-Chinese Tiger. Males weigh between 285 and 385 pounds and females weigh between 220 and 255 pounds.

How many tigers are left in the world? There are only 20 to 40 South China Tigers left in the world and all of them live in captivity.

In the 1970s, more than 4,000 South China Tigers lived in the wild. Then the Chinese government cleared their habitat for land development and had the wild tigers killed, clearing the wild population of these tigers.3

One of the facts about the environment is that the more you alter it, the more it destroys the ecosystem. Once the habitat was cleared the South China Tigers would not have survived.

Blue Tiger: Several people have reported sightings of Blue Tigers in the Fujian Province mountains in China. The Tigers have black or gray stripes on a pale grayish-blue body.

These features result from genetic mutation similar to that of the Bengal Tiger.

The Extinct Tiger Species

Unfortunately, Tigers have three extinct species as a result of illegal poaching and habitat loss. These species include:

Caspian Tiger

A large powerful tiger that used to live around the Caspian Sea. Its coat had muted almost gray color that resulted from genetic mutation.

Bali Tiger

It was native to Indonesian Islands and was the smallest tiger worldwide. The average weight of the male was between 210 and 230 pounds while the female weighed between 145 and 176 pounds.

They haven’t been spotted since the late 1930s. The evidence that Bali Tigers existed are the remains of their skulls and bones preserved in several museums.

Javan Tiger

This tiger was among the last of the three living in Indonesia along with the Sumatran and Bali Tigers. It was just a bit larger than Bali and was extinct in the 1970s.8

Facts About Tigers: Are Tigers Endangered?

Tigers are among the most courageous, awe-inspiring wild animals in the world today. They are the world’s largest cat species originating from:

  • Far-East Russia
  • Parts of North Korea
  • China
  • India
  • Southwest Asia
  • Sumatra (Indonesian Island)

At the moment, the increasing human population has led to the encroachment of tiger habitat causing a decrease in territory. Shrinking food supply, illegal killing, and habitat loss has led all Tiger species to be part of the endangered list.

Related Reading: Where Does Deforestation Occur the Most? 39 Statistics, Graphs Show True Forest Loss

Here are some facts about tigers that you need to know:

  1. Tigers are the largest among cats: Among all cats, tigers are ginormous.
    They measure up to 10 ft long and weigh close to 650 pounds.4
  2. Tigers are meat eaters: In the wild, they eat any animal they can hunt down and in captivity they are fed domestic animals.
  3. You are more likely to see a Bengal Tiger than any other tiger: There are 2,500 Bengal Tiger species left in the wild.
    They are found in Bhutan, Nepal, and India. Poaching and habitat loss are a threat to the Bengal Tiger population.
  4. The Siberian Tiger is the biggest subspecies: This Tiger subspecies measures up to 11 ft and weighs close to 700 pounds.
    They are located in Korea, China, and Russia and they are an endangered species
  5. Tigers can run up to 50 mph: Tigers are among the fastest big cats globally.
    The fastest subspecies is the Bengal Tiger which can sprint up to 50 mph and the second fastest is the Siberian Tiger with a speed of 40 mph.
    The slowest tiger is the Sumatran with a speed of 30mph.
  6. The tigers’ fur is striped to help them camouflage with their habitat: The strips of a Tiger help them hide in grasslands or forests.
    They break up the tiger’s body outline making it difficult for prey to spot them. The stripes also cool the tiger on hot days.
  7. Like human fingerprints, each tiger has its own unique stripes: Tigers are the only animals in the Cat family with stripes and each tiger has its own unique set of stripes just like human fingerprints.
    Each Tiger has a different pattern making it easy to identify them even in the dark.
  8. Tigers are endangered: Tigers are among the most endangered species with an estimate of about 4,000 left in the wild.

Where Do Tigers Live?

You may wonder; where do tigers live? Tigers live in diverse habitats such as:

  • Mangrove swamps
  • Savannas
  • Grasslands
  • Rainforests

For instance, Siberian Tigers live in the mountain forests of eastern Russia. The Tigers here have adapted to heavy winters and other harsh conditions by developing a thick fur coat that helps them regulate their body temperature.

Related Reading: Tropical Rainforest Animals: List, Names, Pics of Species That Live in Rainforests

They need an adequate prey supply to live, such as antelope and wild pigs.

White Bengal Tiger lying sideways on grassy ground showing white fur all over its body with dark brown stripes.

(Image: Andrew Swinfield17)

Tigers once occupied vast areas in Asia but sadly, the global tiger population has decreased by 97% over the last century. At the moment, tigers in the wild occupy the following countries:

  • Vietnam
  • Laos
  • Cambodia
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • China
  • Russia
  • Myanmar
  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • Nepal
  • India

Out of these 13 countries 70% of the population of tigers living in the wild are from India.5 It’s important to note that more tigers live in captivity than in the wild.

There are approximately 8,000 tigers living in captivity and most of them are found in the US.

What Do Tigers Eat?

What do tigers eat?9 Simply speaking, tigers eat meat.

If they are in the wild, they will hunt any wild animal they find such as deer, wild pigs, and boars.

If they are in captivity they will eat meat given to them by humans including beef, rabbit, and chicken. Many zoos allow you to sponsor an animal allowing you to buy them food, medicine, and other necessities.

How often do tigers eat and how much do tigers eat? Tigers in the wild eat about 75 pounds of meat in a day and hunt once a week.

They can go for two weeks without food after consuming 75 pounds of meat in one sitting. Tigers in captivity eat about 13 to 15 pounds of meat a day though they can eat more than this.

What Is the Tiger Lifespan?

Tigers in the wild live up to 13 to 15 years. Those in captivity live up to 20 to 26 years.

Evidently, the tiger lifespan increases when they are in captivity than when they are in the wild. This is because tigers in captivity do not have the worry of hunting for food and they are not exposed to harsh weather conditions.

How Many Tigers Are Left in the World: All About the Current Tiger Population

One encouraging fact about wild tiger numbers is that there are 40% more tigers in the wild than previous estimates. This means that the tiger population amounts to 5,578 though they are still endangered species.

The increase in number results from improved population monitoring. The current population is thought to be stable and increasing due to habitat protection and recovery.

How many tigers are left in the world? The current estimate is between 3,725 and 5,578 and this number is 40% more than the last assessment.

Even though tigers remain endangered, several habitat conservation programs have succeeded therefore increasing the wild tiger population. The major threats such as poaching of tigers, hunting and poaching of their prey, and habitat destruction are being monitored by several national governments.

These governments are connecting and expanding protected areas, working with local communities, and ensuring that habitats are effectively managed. The measures to protect these species have already yielded sufficient results.

How Many Tigers Are Left in the World? Effects of Tiger Hunting

Tiger hunting refers to the killing and capturing of tigers in the wild.10 Hunters are the largest predators of tigers.

Areas with tiger populations have cultural, mythological, and religious beliefs about these tigers. Almost all parts of the tiger are significant to locals including the skin, meat, and bones.

Two Sumatran Tigers resting on and by a rock showing bright orange fur with thin black stripes.

(Image: dolm0618)

Additionally, foreign invaders also hunted tigers and considered them a symbol of adventure and masculinity. In the early 20th century, tourists would visit the Asian Islands to hunt tigers as a sport.

In the early 1920s, tigers had an estimated population of 100,000; however, this population has decreased to less than 97% in the current century.

What Can You Do To Save Tigers?

You as a concerned citizen can take lots of steps to save tigers. First you should spread the word.

Tell all your friends and everyone around you that tigers are under threat. You can also create forums or join existing ones that discuss tiger conservation.

Second, if you love traveling, you should consider being a responsible tourist. This means that you should not pollute or disturb the wilderness when visiting.

You should not hunt wild animals even in areas that allow hunting. You should treat the wilderness as you would treat your home leaving it better for the next person.

Third, in areas that allow poaching or where illegal poaching is rampant, you should bring it to the attention of policy makers. Use all possible avenues available to talk to decision makers and raise concerns with the local community leaders.

Additionally, you can conduct awareness campaigns for areas that are misinformed about tigers.

Fourth, you can also help prevent wildlife trade by speaking against it and saying no to buying tiger parts. Try to persuade the traders and poachers to give up their occupation.

Lastly, you should contribute to removing pressure from animal habitat by stopping encroachment and preventing the destruction of natural forests.

In the last century, hunting tigers was popular and they were considered big game hunted for prestige and trophies. Many governments have made hunting of tigers illegal but this move is too little too late.

Additionally, illegal poaching continues to thrive in some areas in Asia. The end results, less than 6,000 tigers left in the wild.

Understanding how many tigers are left in the world can help people realize the importance of protecting their habitats, planting more trees and building stronger tiger communities for the future health of the planet.

Frequently Asked Questions About How Many Tigers Are Left in the World

What Are Some Animals That Will Be Extinct by 2050?

Some animals that will be extinct by 2050 include:

  • Gorilla
  • Polar Bear
  • Rhinoceros
  • South China Tiger
  • Bornean Orangutan
  • Hawksbill Turtle
  • Giant Panda

How Do You Sponsor an Animal?

Sponsoring an animal means paying for the animal to live well in captivity. There are several organizations that allow sponsoring of animals from wild to domestic animals.

How Many Elephants Are Left in the World?

To those asking, “How many elephants are left in the world?” There are approximately 455,000 elephants left in the world.

How Many Tigers Are Left in the World?

There are 8,000 tigers left in captivity and approximately 5,000 left in the wild.


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8Wikipedia. (2023, April 12). Javan tiger. Wikipedia. Retrieved May 18, 2023, from <>

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11Photo by Edo Emmerig. Resized and changed format. Pixabay. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from <>

12Photo by Marcel Langthim. Resized and changed format. Pixabay. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from <>

13Photo by Penny. Resized and changed format. Pixabay. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from <>

14Photo by F. Muhammad. Resized and changed format. Pixabay. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from <>

15Panthera tigris corbetti (Tierpark Berlin) 842-724-(118) Photo by Lotse / Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0). Resized and Changed Format. From Wikimedia Commons <>

162012 Suedchinesischer Tiger Photo by J. Patrick Fischer / Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0). Resized and Changed Format. From Wikimedia Commons <>

17Photo by Andrew Swinfield. Resized and changed format. Pixabay. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from <>

18Photo by dolm06. Resized and changed format. Pixabay. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from <>

19Tiger Animal Wildlife Forest Photo by StockSnap. (2017, August 1) / Pixabay Content License. Cropped and added text, shape, and background elements. Pixabay. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from <>