<html> <head> <title>Albert van der Sel : The Tiger.</title> <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1"> </head> <body bgcolor="#D8D8D8" link="blue" alink="blue" vlink="blue"> <font color="black"> <h1>A few notes on the Tiger.</h1> <font color="black"> <font face="courier" size=3 color="black"> By: Albert<br> Date: 31/08/2017<br> Version: 0.7<br> Remark: Please refresh the page to see any updates.<br> <br> <hr/> <br> Everbody knows the Tiger ofcourse. So, why would some "Albert"<br> write a note about them? Sounds like a waste of time...<br> <br> Maybe, but I have an obsession for the Tigers... I think that this is the real reason.<br> <br> If I would have a hundred billion dollars (, or said in Dutch: "honderd miljard"), then at least<br> half of it would go to all sorts of preservation projects for the tigers.<br> <br> It would also mean buying or leasing large area's of space in the countries where they are still around,<br> and trying to establish new territories in countries where they used to be.<br> <br> I would also mobilize and use sciencists, <B>TO THE MAX</B>, for this Project to succeed.<br> <br> One problem is: Tigers need so much space for a territorium...<br> Another problem is, how to let them coexists, in some way, with farmers and livestock.<br> Still another problem is how to convince/educate certain people that "tiger material" cannot<br> help in medical- or other problems, which sadly some people <I>do believe is true</I>.<br> <br> The other money would be spend on other projects (like the "clouded leopard") and many other things<br> for preservation in general. But, I would keep a few million for myself.<br> <br> You might ask: <I>"Well, surely, then you must have often seen them in the wild, didn't you?"</I><br> <br> Sadly: No. I never did see them in the wild. That's really "shit". Ofcourse, like almost everybody else,<br> I obviously did see them in captivity (like zoo's) or in some special small parks.<br> Some parks were a real dissapointment,like again exploiting the Tiger for commercial reasons,<br> or for some other BS reason (sorry for that).<br> <br> But I have seen a few other larger cats "in the wild" in a few occations. Like a single Leopard in Africa,<br> closeby, just a few meters away (where I was alone), and smaller cats like a Serval etc.. etc..<br> And, really long time ago, I was pretty close to a Puma (about 400m) in the US, which was truly<br> an abnormal fortunate occasion (since it seems it's almost impossible to see them in the wild).<br> <br> I live in Europe, and in the '80's, and '90's, it always was quite hard to find and watch, for example, Lynxes,<br> e.g. in Spain, and some other mountainous terrains in Europe. But, with lots of effort, it could be done.<br> <br> However, lately (say, since the 2000's), I have not seen them at all, anymore !<br> True, this example animal is very illusive anyway, but even "marks" and tracks seems to be missing.<br> <br> Lot's of (special) animals and vegetation disappeared in my observations.<br> Nature is shutting down fast, and <I>I sincerely believe that this is true.</I><br> <br> Even today, we have people denying the climate problem, and somehow we are not able to<br> properly regulate or temper events like "deforestation".<br> <br> And, if you look at what is happening <I>to lots of people today</I>, then (I am really sorry to say),<br> one is simply forced to conclude that our global society is as sick as hell.<br> <br> Now the Tiger... it beats everything !!!!!<br> <br> However, the animal is extremely endangered.<br> <br> People who qualified to do so, estimate that only about 3900 specimens are alive today, in the wild.<br> Other researchers are even more pessimistic: as low as 3200 - 3600 living tigers in the wild<br> <br> These numbers are <I>so horribly and heartbreakingy low</I>, that I am terrified that we will loose<br> this fantastic animal soon.<br> <br> <font color="green"> <B>Note: <I>would I really spend nearly 100 billion on preservation, if I would have such<br> a large sum of money?<br> <br> You probably think I am lying, or, once having such a fortune, would completely<br> alter my behaviour. I don't think so, really. I would love to have a sailing boat of 12, 13 meters or so,<br> but that's about it ! But I must admit, that there are more "humane" affairs that can use<br> a large sum of money.<br> But I do not have these funds, unfortunately. So, I am afraid I can't help the Tiger....</I></B><br> <font color="black"> <br> <font color="blue"> <h1>1. The subspecies which are still alive Today.</h1> <font color="black"> Most scientists say that 4 subspecies are still alive today, in small numbers.<br> <br> Once, and even not so long ago (couple of hundreds of years), it's likely that<br> probably 8 subspecies could have been identified.<br> <br> <I>Note: some scientists even have arguments to discriminate between only two main species: the "continental-"<br> and "island" subspecies. It's for the scientists in the relevant fields, to determine the best<br> fitting classifications.<br> These lines of reasoning (only two main subtypes) are actually rather recent.</I><br> <br> Everybody knows how a Tiger looks like, ofcourse. However..., Each subspecies has quite distinctive features<br> which sets them apart from the other subspecies.<br> <br> You are absolutely invited to Google on images of the Siberian Tiger, Sumatran Tiger, and the Bengal Tiger.<br> <br> I would love to place pictures here. However, images of Tigers in captivity, or otherwise in un-natural<br> conditions, somehow are not very appealing to me. On the other hand, <I>the very true pictures</I> showing them<br> <I>"in the wild"</I>, might be protected by copy rights, so I am a bit reluctant to show any picture.<br> But that does not matter at all: pictures are all over the Internet.<br> <br> So, please <U>do</U> Google on images of the Siberian Tiger, Sumatran Tiger, and the Bengal Tiger !!!<br> It's important to appreciate the specific distinctive features of those animals.<br> <ol> <li><B>Amur Tiger</B>: First, we have "Amur" tiger, or, as it is also called, the "Siberian" Tiger.<br> This is the largest of all cats. It's not uncommon for a healthy adult male Tiger,<br> to reach a weight of 350 kg (although many wiki's state a maximum of about 300 kg).<br> I am afraid that the criterium of "healthy" will certainly not apply for many specimens today.<br> This animal is under an enormous pressure, and it's estimated that a number of 400 to 500 still<br> exist in the wild.<br> <br> Their appearance is quite robust or rugged compared to other species. They are reported to live in patches of<br> Amur-Ussuri region in Siberia, and some patches in China, bordering Siberia, and North Korea.</li> <br> <li><B>Sumatran Tiger</B>: Today, it can only be found on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.</li> It's the smallest and lightest of all Tiger subspecies.<br> <br> A healthy adult male, could reach a weight of about 140 kg. Compare that to the 300+ kg Amur Tiger.<br> But it's an astonishing beautiful animal. However, it is under an enourmous pressure too.<br> It's estimated that less than 400 specimens live in the wild today.<br> Unfortunately, deforestation plagues Indonesia, and poaching is a serious threat too.<br> <br> In some National Parks in Sumatra, the tigers are protected. I optionally plan to visit Sumatra<br> at some time in the next three years. However, really seeing them "in the wild"<br> could be something like "mission impossible".<br> An alternative to my plan above, might be a visit to the Sundarbans in Bangladesh, which might<br> be home for the Bengal Tiger (see below).</li><br> <br> <li><B>The Bengal Tiger</B>: It's the most familiar subspecies. Most zoo's, and parks etc..,<br> host the Bengal Tiger. In numbers, it is the most abundant tiger, although that number is<br> ofcourse absurdly low, like in the order of 2000 specimens.<br> <br> Ofcourse, people are more important, but the animal <I>may suffer too</I> from the recent floods (august 2017)<br> in Bangladesh and India.<br> <br> An adult healthy male, generally reach a weight of about 200 - 250 kg, which makes it the second most<br> heaviest tiger (after the Siberian Tiger).<br> However, in more than a few cases, weights were reported of 300 - 325kg.<br> <br> The animal lives in patches in India and Bangladesh, and exist a very small distribution in<br> Nepal and Bhutan too. Ofcourse, a sighting in some neighbouring nation is still possible.<br> <br> The Bangladesh Sundarbans, might be "home" for a relatively large population of Bengal Tigers.<br> Generally, scientists seem to estimate this population to be in the order of 200 - 400 specimens.<br> It is mainly a mangrove forest, near the coastline, and it actually forms a delta throughout the whole area.<br> <br> As already said above, I fear that the recent floodings might have had a large impact on the population.<br> At this time, it is not easy at all, to determine the exact impact.</li> <br> <li><B>Indochinese tiger:</B> Does the animal still exist in the wild? It's a legitimate question.<br> The question also expresses the fact that this subspecies is either totally critically endangered,<br> or already gone.<br> <br> However, some wiki's still say that several hundreds specimens still exist in Thailand and Myanmar.<br> <br> Some other articles state that the Dawna Tennaserim area's in Thailand-Myanmar, might still be home<br> to this subspecies.<br> <br> After a small survey, I am still not sure at reasonable estimates. This all may sound strange, but in fact, it seems to me<br> that a reasonable answer on the question of how many are still alive in the wild, seems impossible to provide.<br> <br> However, a number of specimens are alive in several zoo's and Parks, in quite some countries.<br> <br> If we would go 100 years back, then we might have said that Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar,<br> and patches in South China, were "home" for the Indochinese tiger.<br> <br> In appearance, the Indochinese tiger is breathtaking. It's somewhat smaller and lighter compared<br> to the Bengal Tiger. An adult healthy male, generally reach a weight of about 150 - 200 kg.</li> </ol> We have seen which subspecies still exist today. Let's spend a few words on the subspecies<br> that became extinct, rather recently.<br> <br> <font color="blue"> <h1>2. Extinct subspecies.</h1> <font color="black"> This will be a very short section. For a good orientation on Tigers, you should know<br> which subspecies are still alive in the wild (see Chapter 1). But you should also have<br> an idea which main subspecies have become extinct, that is, totally gone.<br> <br> There were at least 8 subspecies of Tigers. Some scientists have reasons to say that there<br> were in fact 9, or even up to 11 subspecies. I must say that it also matters which<br> historical perspective one uses. For example, one can "go" a many thousends of years back in time.<br> <br> I think it's important to use a view from which mankind really started to change his/her environment,<br> in a very dramatic way. Then I can identify three subspecies.<br> <br> <I>Note: some even have arguments to discriminate between only two main species: the "continental-"<br> and "island" subspecies. It's for the scientists in the relevant fields, to determine the best<br> fitting classifications.<br> These lines of reasoning (only two main subtypes) are actually rather recent.</I><br> <br> <B>The Bali Tiger:</B><br> <br> Indeed, they lived on the Indonesian island Bali. They became extinct due to intensive hunting,<br> and futher interference in the environment, by people. It's only quite recent, that they became extinct.<br> The latest report, or written account that I have heard of, stems from about 60 years back.<br> <br> It might have been the smallest of all subspecies. A healthy adult male probably reached a weight of 100 kg.<br> <br> <B>The Javan Tiger:</B><br> <br> More or less a similar story as with the Bali Tiger.<br> <br> This small tiger lived exclusively on the Indonesian island Java. Same story indeed: They became extinct<br> due to intensive hunting, and futher interference in the environment, by people.<br> <br> It probably was just a bit larger than the Bali tiger. It is believed that a healthy adult male<br> weighted in the order of 110 kg.<br> <br> They probably became extinct somewhere around the 1950's.<br> <br> <B>The Caspian Tiger:</B><br> <br> The Caspian Tiger, and the Siberian (or Amur) Tiger, are probably "genetically" very close.<br> The first one, was an enormous cat, only a little less than the Amur Tiger, in terms of length and weight.<br> <br> Although very detailed photography seems to be missing (in the public domain), arguably,<br> it might have been the most "striking" cat in terms of appearance.<br> If you google on images, actually many Siberian tigers (or other tigers) are in the result set.<br> <br> It's habitat was mainly in many patches around (south and east) of the Caspian Sea, but also in area's ranging<br> from Turkey, all the way east up to South-West China.<br> <br> It's fur was (partly) reddish, with dense brown/black striping, probably also depending on the season.<br> <br> The last sightings might have been in the 1960's of the former century.<br> It became extict mainly due to intensive hunting, and cultivation of it's habitat.<br> <br> <font color="green"> <h2><I>Did you see that? Three beautiful subspecies became<br> totally extinct, and all three of them just about 50 or 60 years ago...<br> When experts say: "It's really almost too late for the Tiger...",<br> then take it seriously....</I></h3> <font color="black"> <br> <font color="blue"> <h1>3. Some comments on the distribution of Tigers in the wild.</h1> <font color="black"> I am not sure if I am on the right track here. But, you can judge for yourself.<br> <br> Just suppose, one would like to see a map of the distribution of Tigers.<br> <br> This is pretty hard to do. With only about 3200 - 3900 specimens in the wild, the concept of a "map",<br> to me, seems a bit out of place. Ok, if there were something like 70000 tigers... it would make sense.<br> <br> You can find many (rather similar) maps, illustrating densities of tigers. However, most seem to be<br> seriously outdated. For example, some maps still mention the Indochinese tiger, but I personally have serious<br> doubts on any printed number with respect to this subspecies.<br> <br> Some maps even mention the Caspian Tiger, but we know that this presence, regrettably, only was true<br> in the past. This great animal is definitely gone.<br> <br> I personnaly fear the recent floods in e.g. Bangladesh, India, for loss of people and animals.<br> The tiger populations might have been hit hard.<br> <br> So, my advice is to be carefull in interpreting any map showing distributions of Tigers.<br> <br> However, there are some small succes stories as well. The article below is just an example.<br> Here we find a rather unexpected finding of a few Indochinese tigers in Thailand:<br> <br> <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-39423053">New population of rare tigers found in eastern Thailand (bbc.com)</a><br> <a href="https://news.mongabay.com/2017/03/worlds-second-breeding-population-of-indochinese-tigers-discovered-in-thailands-forests/">Similar as above (mongabay.com)</a><br> <br> Ofcourse, I did not really do, what the title of this chapter suggested. Sorry for that !<br> However, I will keep searching for reasonable sources of information.<br> <br> <font color="blue"> <h1>4. Other remarks.</h1> <font color="black"> Originally, I wanted to present an overview of parks, national parks, and "good" zoo's,<br> where tigers can be observed.<br> <br> However, first hand experience, can never be beaten.<br> <br> I will maintain this note, when something of importance has occurred, like what I have<br> seen in the Sundarbans, which I plan to visit somewhere in the next few years.<br> <br> To conclude this small note, here is a slogan which I found at the San Diego Zoo,<br> which is fantastic:<br> <br> <font color="green"> <h1><I>Tigers Now..., Tigers Forever !</I></h1> <font color="black"> <br> Ofcourse, the slogan originated from:<br> <br> <a href="https://www.panthera.org/initiative/tigers-forever">www.panthera.org (tigers forever)</a><br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> </body> </html>