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What facts contribute to tigers being an endangered species?

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Quick Answer

The main factors contributing to the endangerment of tigers are hunting and loss habitat because of deforestation, road building and rising seas. The term "endangered" means the species faces extinction in the near future. Some subspecies of tiger are already extinct, including the Balinese, Javan and South China tigers. Experts estimate there are about 3,000 tigers in the wild as of 2015.

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Full Answer

Tigers, which scientists estimate numbered about 100,000 at the beginning of the 20th century, have lost 93 percent of their habitat. A relatively large tiger population lives in the Sundarbans mangrove forest on the coasts of India and Bangladesh, but rising sea levels are reducing this territory and may obliterate it by 2070. In other places, deforestation and road building destroy or fragment the fledgling tiger habitat. Inbreeding occurs when circumstances force tigers to live in smaller areas and isolate them from other tiger populations.

Smaller ranges also make tigers more vulnerable to poaching. Individuals continue to hunt tigers for sport as wel as their pelts and organs, which some believe to have medicinal properties. Others kill or capture tigers when they prey on livestock. Another problem tigers face is the loss of prey due to habitat loss and the hunting of species that tigers prey on.

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