The tiger is the largest member of the cat family found in the wild. It is native to much of eastern and southern Asia. The word “tiger” is taken from the Greek word “tigris”, which is possibly derived from a Persian source meaning “arrow” – a reference to the animal’s speed and also the origin for the name of the Tigris River.
There are currently six subspecies of tigers, including (in descending order of wild population) the Bengal Tiger, the Indochinese Tiger, the Malayan Tiger, the Sumatran Tiger, the Siberian tiger, and the South China Tiger. All of these subspecies are endangered, with several of them being very close to extinction.
The tiger’s life expectancy is between 10 and 15 years in the wild and more than 20 years in captivity.