The primary reason that tigers are listed as an endangered species is because their habitats are being eradicated at a rapid rate. However, poaching and the illegal wildlife trade are important factors in their population decline as well. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the number of tigers in captivity in the United States outnumbers the total number of wild tigers in the world.
Currently, wild tigers are only found in parts of India, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia and Russia. A few may be found in North Korea and South China, but none have been seen in these locations for many years. Historically, tigers were found throughout East Asia as well as portions of the Middle East and Asiatic Turkey.
Tigers require large tracts of primary forest to survive. When their forest homes are logged or roads bisect patches of habitat, the tigers often disappear shortly afterward. Additionally, the prey of tigers requires very large, unbroken tracts of habitat to attain sufficient density to feed the tigers.
Humans also cause problems for tigers by creating a large demand for tiger parts. Tiger teeth, claws, skins, eyes and other organs are used in many traditional folk remedies. Additionally, many people seek tigers as pets, which further contributes to reducing wild populations.