The tiger is a predominantly solitary creature, spending the majority of the year living and hunting alone. Generally, the tiger will occupy and defend a territory against intruders of the same sex. The male tiger has a larger territory that overlaps the territories of several females, with whom the male tiger will then mate.
Individual tigers mark the boundaries of their territory with urine and scrapes, and scent is sprayed onto trees, bushes and rock faces. Faeces and scrapes are also left along trails and in conspicuous places throughout the territory to advertise to other tigers that the area is occupied.
The tiger has disappeared from much of its former distribution including the Caucasus/ Caspian Sea and the islands of Java and Bali. The South- Chinese tiger stands at critical numbers of 20/30, and if not is probably extinct. The tiger is an endangered species, with the majority of the world’s tigers now living in captivity. Several subspecies, Javan, Bali and Caspian are now extinct and there are five subspecies left but are critically endangered. Humans are the tiger’s most significant killer, as tigers are taken illegally for their bones and all other parts, for use in traditional Chinese medicine.
Habitat destruction is now reaching critical levels, placing tigers under further threat from inbreeding. This initially means that cubs are born with deficient immune systems, then with internal organ problems, and finally with deformities. There are probably less than 2,500 left in the wild and they are being killed at an average of 1 ½ a day.