Tigers are one of the most recognizable animals in the natural world. They are known by the species name Panthera tigris, which falls within the Felidae family of cats. This family also includes two other genera – Acinonyx and Felis. From an evolutionary perspective, the family Felidae originated from Africa. However, around 2 million years ago, an offshoot of Felidae migrated towards Asia. Eventually, these ancestors evolved into the tigers that we know today. The world’s largest wild cat is the Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica). Also called the Amur tiger, this massive animal weighed an average of over 300 kgs (males). On the other end of the spectrum are the Sumatran tigers – which are the smallest tiger subspecies, weighing an average of 120 kgs (males). It is also worth noting that the number of tigers around the world is currently dwindling due to loss of habitat, poaching and black market trade. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that there are between 3,062 and 3,948 tigers remaining in the wild (2015).
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