Scientists have differing opinions on why tigers were not native to Africa, but all are speculation. University of Minnesota professor J.L. David Smith said, "The best explication is time." Geographic boundaries and glaciers proved too big a barrier to cross in the evolutionary process of the tiger.
Tigers have lived on Earth for two million years, originating in Asia. They once lived in much of Asia, spreading toward Europe as their populations grew. They did not reach India until 16,000 years ago. However, before populations grew large enough to force lions to cross barriers into Africa to find food, they began to decrease. As the populations decreased, tigers became an endangered species. As man has cleared forests and other habitats for these animals to make way for himself, the tiger population has dropped. In the 1990s, the area inhabited by wild tigers had decreased to 457,500 square miles and has grown smaller since then. As of 2014, the Wildlife Conservation Society reported that less than 3,000 wild tigers remain in the wild.
Man has introduced tigers to Africa. Using the same techniques that brought the white rhino back from extinction, researchers have transported tigers to a wildlife reserve where they learn to hunt and live in the wild, with hopes that their offspring develop survival skills that facilitate their return to Asia.