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Map of Tiger Population

Map by leaflet

Country Estimated Tiger Population
India 3167
Russia 433
Indonesia 371
Bangladesh 300–500
Nepal 355
Thailand 189
Bhutan 89–124
Malaysia 80–120
China 55
Myanmar 22
Laos 14
Vietnam 5
Cambodia 0


Tigers, majestic and endangered creatures, have long been at the forefront of conservation efforts worldwide. In the 1990s, a groundbreaking approach called Tiger Conservation Units (TCUs) was developed to preserve these magnificent animals. In this blog post, we will delve into the concept of TCUs, explore the global wild tiger population, discuss major threats they face, and highlight successful conservation efforts in India, Russia, China, and Indonesia.

I. The Concept of Tiger Conservation Units (TCUs)

Tiger Conservation Units, or TCUs, are designated blocks of habitat with the potential to support tiger populations. These units encompass 15 different habitat types within five bioregions. Carefully identified and prioritized based on factors like habitat size, integrity, poaching pressure, and population status, TCUs serve as critical areas for tiger conservation. Ranging in size from 33 to 155,829 square kilometers (13 to 60,166 square miles), these units play a vital role in ensuring the survival of tigers in the wild.

II. Global Wild Tiger Population Estimates

In 2016, during the Third Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation, an estimate of the global wild tiger population was presented. Approximately 3,890 individual tigers were reported, marking the first increase in a century. This positive trend indicates the effectiveness of conservation efforts and provides hope for the future of these magnificent creatures.

III. Major Threats to Tiger Populations

Tigers face numerous threats that endanger their existence. Habitat destruction and fragmentation pose significant challenges, with only 11% of historical tiger habitat remaining in India due to human activities. Poaching, driven by the demand for tiger fur and body parts, has also severely impacted tiger populations worldwide. Additionally, the use of tiger parts in traditional Chinese medicine has contributed to the decline of these beautiful animals.

IV. India: Home to the Largest Population of Wild Tigers

India boasts the largest population of wild tigers globally. In 2014, a census estimated the population at 2,226, representing a 30% increase since 2011. The success of India's Project Tiger, initiated in 1973 by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, played a crucial role in tripling the number of wild Bengal tigers. However, a 2007 census revealed a decline in tiger numbers due to poaching. In response, the Indian government pledged $153 million to combat poaching, established tiger reserves, and relocated villagers to reduce human-tiger interactions. India's commitment to tiger conservation has yielded remarkable results, with the population reaching 3,167 tigers as of the recent Tiger Census in 2023.

V. The Siberian Tiger in Russia

The Siberian tiger, on the brink of extinction in the 1940s, experienced a resurgence thanks to anti-poaching measures and protected zones implemented by the Soviet Union. However, the collapse of the Russian economy in the 1990s led to a resurgence in poaching. Preserving the species remains challenging due to the extensive territories individual tigers require. Russian conservationists have leveraged the competitive exclusion of wolves by tigers to convince hunters to tolerate the big cats. Efforts by local governments, NGOs, and international organizations continue to protect the Siberian tiger population, which currently stands at an estimated 433 individuals.

VI. Conservation Efforts in China

Tigers faced significant threats in China due to large-scale "anti-pest" campaigns, deforestation, and resettlement of people. However, China shifted its stance and became a party to the CITES treaty in the 1980s. The country banned the trade in tiger parts by 1993, reducing the use of tiger bones in traditional Chinese medicine. The Tibetan people's trade in tiger skins also posed a threat, but attitudes have shifted positively over the years. The concerted efforts have led to the extinction of tigers in southern China since 2001.

VII. Sumatran Tiger Conservation in Indonesia

Indonesia, particularly Sumatra, faces unique challenges in tiger conservation. The Sumatran Tiger Project (STP) was launched in 1995 to ensure the viability of wild Sumatran tigers. Evaluating potential tiger habitats revealed that only a fraction could support tiger populations. To address human-tiger conflicts, a community-based conservation program was initiated, providing comprehensive data for conservation authorities to make informed decisions.

VIII. International Collaborations and Conservation Sites

International collaborations between organizations like the Wildlife Conservation Society and Panthera Corporation have led to remarkable tiger conservation efforts. Tigers Forever, a collaboration spanning multiple countries including Myanmar, India, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and the Russian Far East, focuses on protecting tiger populations. Notable tiger reserves and conservation sites worldwide contribute to the preservation of these majestic animals.

IX. Techniques Used to Study Tiger Populations

Studying tiger populations requires innovative techniques. Traditional methods like plaster casts of pugmarks have been supplemented by modern approaches such as camera traps, DNA analysis of tiger scat, and radio-collaring. These methods aid researchers in tracking and understanding tiger behaviors and population dynamics.


Mapping the population of tigers provides valuable insights into the conservation efforts dedicated to protecting these iconic creatures. While challenges like habitat destruction, poaching, and illegal trade persist, initiatives like TCUs, government interventions, and international collaborations offer hope for the future of tigers. By raising awareness and fostering continued conservation efforts, we can work towards securing a thriving and sustainable future for tigers across the globe. Let us stand united in protecting these magnificent animals and preserving the rich biodiversity of our planet.