Today marks the 6th year anniversary of international tiger day which is trending on twitter as #internationaltigerday. Unfortunately this day is more dedicated towards raising awareness about helping save tigers whom are rapidly becoming extinct, rather than celebrating the wonderful species.
What is happening to Tigers?
Tigers are becoming extinct at an alarming rate. According to ‘Tigers in Crisis’, there are nine original subspecies of tigers, which three of them have become extinct in the past 80 years. The main reason for tiger depopulation is because of poaching, habitat loss (through things such as war and deforestation) and fragmentation. Due to this, over 100,000 tigers have been killed since the 1900’s. The same thing still occurs today and now many tigers are kept in zoo’s or in captivity for protection. Some consider this a questionable issue because of the perspective that tigers should be able to live freely in their natural habitat.
Five of the Rarest Tigers
A common reason for rare tiger subspecies can be due to colour variation. Here are five of the rarest tigers subspecies to live/ are living today that have been recorded by environmentalists.
1) The South-China Tiger
The South-China tigers are considered to be one of the most rarest tiger subspecies since the 1950’s as the numbers of these tigers were very limited. Only 4,000 South-China tigers were around in the early 1950’s itself! However, numbers drastically decreased as by 2013 there were only around 50 considered to be alive in Chinese zoos. Unfortunately, as of today they are now considered extinct even after hunting the tigers was banned in 1979 by Chinese authorities.
2) White Tigers
As mentioned, colour variation plays an important part in tiger rarity. The white variation of tigers are considered extremely rare. In fact, their white colour is caused by a lack of a pigment called pheomelanin. Bengal tigers are considered to be one of the most commonly known white tiger variation albeit their numbers are very limited. As of today, only around 2000 of Bengal white tigers are seen. For white tigers themselves, only a shocking 12 have been spotted over the past 100 years. Most of these tigers now are kept in captivity to prevent them from becoming extinct.
3) Blue Tigers
Most commonly known as the Maltese tigers, these type of tigers are considered to be the rarest in colour variation. They may be mistaken for extremely dark grey tigers, however they have blue fur with dark grey stripes. Currently, no blue tigers are to be seen in zoos and only one was born in the U.S.A. in the 1960’s. They are beautiful looking tigers and sadly hardly seen at all nowadays. The famous saying “only seen once in a blue moon” is relevant to the blue tigers.
4) The Golden Tabby Tiger
The Golden Tabby tigers derive from colour variated tigers as well. The colour is said to be caused by a recessive gene within them. Only 30 of these tigers are considered to be alive in current day and age. However, there are some positive news as it is said that some tigers may still be carrying this recessive gene and if they breed, population numbers could hopefully be increased.
5) The Sumatran Tiger
Only less than 400 Sumatran tigers exist today. However, considering other rare tigers, they are considered to be less rare due to the current population of them. Nevertheless, they can be mistook for common orange and black striped tigers, but they are a subspecies found in Sumatra in Indonesia. According to the WWF, they are holding on for dear survival in Sumatra.
Tigers on whole are facing extinction and in my eyes are the one of the most beautiful and fierce looking animals after the lion. The variations of tigers are beautiful and it is extremely sad to see these limited numbers.