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The extent of area occupied by tigers is estimated at less than 1,184,911 km The global population in the wild is estimated to number between 3,062 and 3,948 individuals, down from around 100,000 at the start of the 20th century, with most remaining populations occurring in small pockets isolated from each other, in which about 2,000 tigers live on the Indian subcontinent.
Tigers are among the most recognisable and popular of the world's charismatic megafauna.
One conservation specialist welcomed this proposal as it would make captive breeding programmes and future rewilding of zoo-born tigers easier. This population occurs in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, foremost in alluvial grasslands, subtropical and tropical rainforests, scrub forests, wet and dry deciduous forests and mangrove habitats. The population inhabited forests and riverine corridors south and east of the Black and Caspian Seas, from Eastern Anatolia into Central Asia, along the coast of the Aral Sea and the southern shore of Lake Balkhash to the Altai Mountains.
One geneticist was sceptical of this study and maintained that the currently recognised nine subspecies can be distinguished genetically. Males have a head and body length of between 190 and 230 cm (75 and 91 in) and weigh between 180 and 306 kg (397 and 675 lb), while females average 160 to 180 cm (63 to 71 in) and 100 to 167 kg (220 to 368 lb). This population inhabits the Amur-Ussuri region of Primorsky Krai and Khabarovsk Krai in far eastern Siberia, with a small population in Hunchun National Siberian Tiger Nature Reserve in northeastern China near the border to North Korea.
The original source may have been the Persian tigra meaning pointed or sharp and the Avestan tigrhi meaning an arrow, perhaps referring to the speed with which a tiger launches itself at its prey.
The validity of several tiger subspecies was questioned in 1999.
It is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
The tiger is the national animal of Bangladesh, India, Malaysia and South Korea.