Caspian tigers were slightly smaller than Bengal and Amur tigers, with the longer fur characteristic of Amur tigers. Caspian tigers inhabited the dense riparian thickets associated with large rivers in Turkestan, Afghanistan, Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkey. Tigers were extirpated from this region about 40 years ago, through prey depletion and conversion of tiger habitat for agricultural production.
Until recently, the Caspian tiger was considered extinct. However, recent genetic analyses suggest that genetic differences are insufficient to separate Caspian and Amur tigers into separate subspecies. Studies that evaluated the prospects of reintroducing Amur tigers to the former range of Caspian tigers have identified several sites with suitable habitat but insufficient prey. Efforts to restore prey populations to densities capable of supporting tigers are currently underway.
The last confirmed sighting of a Bali tiger occurred in 1937. The Bali tiger was the first of three tiger subspecies classified as extinct by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and was likely driven to extinction through a combination of trophy hunting, habitat loss and prey depletion. Historically found on the Island of Bali, the Bali tiger was the smallest of the 9 tiger subspecies, weighing approximately half as much as Amur tigers. Bali tiger fur was short, and dark, with occasional spots between the stripes. Unfortunately, no Bali tigers remain in zoos and very few museum specimens are known to exist worldwide.
The Javan tiger (pictured) was endemic—found there and nowhere else—to Indonesian island of Java, and was the most recent of the tiger subspecies to go extinct, with recorded observations of tigers occurring as recently as 1976. Javan tigers were intermediate in size between Bali and mainland tiger subspecies. This subspecies was driven to extinction by a combination of factors, including a rapidly growing human population, poisoning of tigers and their prey, and the loss of the tigers’ primary prey, the rusa deer, to disease. Like the Bali tiger, no Javan tigers remain in zoos and museum specimens are extremely limited.
To learn how you can help the world’s remaining tigers, visit the Tiger Conservation Campaign website.