- Six different sub-species of tigers exist today, scientists confirmed on October 25, amid hopes the findings will boost efforts to save the fewer than 4,000 free-range big cats that remain in the world.
- The six include the Bengal tiger, Amur tiger, South China tiger, Sumatran tiger, Indochinese tiger and Malayan tiger, said the report in the journal Current Biology.
- Three other tiger subspecies have already gone extinct: the Caspian, Javan and Bali tigers.
- Key threats to tigers’ survival include habitat loss and poaching. How to best conserve the species and encourage both captive and wild breeding has been a matter of debate among scientists, in part because of divisions over how many tiger sub-species exist.
- Reversing the decline of tigers means “maximizing the efforts to preserve the genetic diversity, evolutionary uniqueness, and potential of the species Panthera tigris,” concluded the study.