Bengal tigers range across 1.2 million km2 of the Indian subcontinent, and are the most numerous tiger subspecies, with an estimated 1,700 occurring in India, 440 in Bangladesh, 155 in Nepal, and 75 in Bhutan. Previously considered the largest-bodied subspecies, recent work has indicated Bengal tigers are comparable in weight, but of shorter length, than Amur tigers. This subspecies has been declining for the last 20-30 years, but recent estimates suggest that populations in India may have increased slightly since 2006, largely due to increased densities, and despite a decline in total occupied range.
As indicated by the total loss of tigers from several reserves, and the nearly continuous stream of high-profile busts of international wildlife smugglers, the poaching of tigers to satisfy demand for tiger parts remains the primary threat to Bengal tigers. For example, from 1994 to 2009, over 893 tigers are estimated to have been killed in India alone. The continued degradation—reduction in quality—of tiger habitat, small size of existing populations, and poisoning of tigers that kill livestock, also represent constant threats to this population.
Current conservation efforts for the Bengal tiger focus on improving connectivity among populations by identifying important habitat corridors, reducing human-tiger conflict through education campaigns, reintroducing tigers and reducing tiger poaching by increasing anti-poaching patrols. To learn more about how you can help tigers, visit the Tiger Conservation Campaign website.