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Where do most tigers live?

Updated on February 23, 2011

Most tigers live in the United States. Ironically, it is hard to consider tigers to be wild animals any more and here is why.

A hundred years ago, there were about 40,000 tigers in India. Today there are between 2,500 and 5,000. Even more troubling is the fact that according to some scientists there are only between 5,000 and 7,500 wild tigers left alive on Earth.

On the other side, there are supposed to be 4,000 tigers kept as private pets in Texas state alone. The American Zoo and Aquarium Association reports that as much as 12,000 tigers are living in captivity in the United States.

Tyson and his tiger.
Tyson and his tiger.
Tigers can be privately owned and come at a low price.
Tigers can be privately owned and come at a low price.

Just to throw in a name, Mike Tyson personally owns 4 tigers. America’s huge tiger population is rooted in legislation. Only 19 states have banned the practice of the private ownership of tigers, other 15 require only a license, and 16 states don't regulate the field at all.

Tigers are not a very expensive commodity, either. $3,500 can easily buy you a pair of Bengal tigers and a fashionable blue-eyed tiger usually costs no more than $15,000.

Behind this trend we find the success of breeding programs at American zoos and circuses. Also, an abundance of cubs in the '80s and '90s lowered the prices greatly. (Anyway, cubs are priced around $1,000 today.)

According to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals there are half a thousand tigers, lions and other big cats in private property in the Houston area alone.

Wild tiger populations were greatly reduced during the 20th century. Tigers became extinct around the Caspian Sea by the '50s, and the tigers on the islands of Bali and Java died out between the '40s and the '70. The South China tiger has almost completely disappeared in the wild.

In spite of all the efforts of conservationists, all tiger species are expected to die out in the wild by the end of the our century.

Tiger trivia:

  • A domestic cat is about 1 percent the size of a tiger.
  • Tigers can't stand the smell of alcohol. They will savage anyone who has been drinking.
  • Tigers fade as they get older, and who can blame them.

White Tiger Video


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    • profile image

      Kelvin 3 years ago

      I don't think Curt would have much of a shot winning any elotcien. Is there anyone out there who actually likes him? For all he did for Boston, still every Boston fan I know doesn't really like him, they just respond to questions with something like, well, I'm really happy for what he helped accomplish for us, but he should shut his mouth because he's an idiot.As for Moose in Hall, I guess it makes sense that he not get in if we look at his peers who will be getting nominated around the same time- Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine, Randy Johnson, Clemens, Pedro. Those are all guys who were incredibly dominant. Moose, as great as he was, just wasn't in that league. While I have never thought much of Glavine, he does have the magic number and that's what counts to get him over the hump. As far as Moose playing on the Orioles in the 90s and Yankees in the 2000s, that's true that that probably helped him get some wins, but it's also true that pitching in the AL East probably took away it's fair share of wins from him. Facing at various times the Sox, Yankees, Orioles, and Blue Jays is not an easy task- far more difficult than playing in other divisions. This is the premier offense division and probably always will be.Side note: if Moose shouldn't get in before Blyleven- should Schilling get in before him? Or before Jack Morris for that matter? Schilling's got the 3000+ strikeouts, but he doesn't have the win total of Moose or Blyleven (who also has more Ks, as do Clemens, the Unit, Maddux, and Pedro). He also has the postseason record, making him similar to Morris. If you put those together does it make him Hall worthy? I don't know. I think right now people think he and Moose should get in, but in five years from now, with some perspective, I think people will answer no.'

    • Haunty profile image

      Haunty 7 years ago from Hungary

      Hey Sandy :) Hopefully, they will not. At least not completely, as they can be bred in captivity.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      It is sad to think these beautiful animals will die out at the end of the century.

    • Haunty profile image

      Haunty 7 years ago from Hungary

      I didn't know it either, until I had the idea to write about them. It's shocking and sad. Too bad some shallow people (tiger buyers) don't recognize this.

      A liger? A cross between a male lion and a female tiger? I didn't notice. It seems you're much more an expert than I am. :)

    • SiddSingh profile image

      SiddSingh 7 years ago

      I am an Indian, and did not know this fact - that there are more tigers in US (in captivity) than there are in India - both in reserves and captivity. Kind of shocking.

      More shocking is the fact that they are easily available for purchase - is that legal or allowed?

      Our conservation programs have failed abysmally - even reserves are no guarantee of the survival of tigers. Plus, humans come into direct conflict with tigers for the same forest cover. Add to this the corruption that is fed on greed and constant demand from China, and the going gets tougher for the tigers. The king is no more safe - not even its own den!

      I just hope that tigers don't become extinct from whatever is left of their natural surroundings.

      P.S. - The pic of the woman with the tiger - is it a tiger? it seems too large. I think it is a liger.

    • Haunty profile image

      Haunty 7 years ago from Hungary

      Yeah, people should think about how they would feel living in a cage themselves.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      Tigers are beautiful feral animals and it is depressing to think of so many of them caged as pets instead of living in the wild as nature intended.

      Thanks for this fascinating read, Haunty.