Tigers at a glance

William Blake’s poem ‘The Tyger’ characterises their striking and bold colouration as “burning bright”. But despite our fascination and awe for them, the tiger’s future is far from bright.

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

The number of tigers left in the wild


The amount that tiger populations have decreased in the last century


The year that Sumatran tigers could become extinct in the wild

Tiger Species and Status

Tigers are true big cats – a distinct group within the Felidae family that counts only the lion, jaguar, and leopard as its other respective members. This group are unique among cats for having the ability to roar – thanks to a special two-piece hyoid bone in their throat.

There are six sub-species of tiger. The amur (or Siberian) tiger is the largest known species of big cat in the world, but unfortunately one of the most threatened. Then there is the Bengal tiger, Sumatran tiger, South China tiger, Indochinese tiger, and Malayan tiger. In the last century, we have already lost three further tiger subspecies to extinction – the Balinese, Caspian, and Javan, alongside a 96% drop in tiger numbers overall.

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) is protecting tigers by funding and supporting frontline conservation projects in India, Thailand, and Russia. You can find out more about the work we do below.

Artwork by Davina Bosanquet
David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

“You can always build another Taj Mahal, but you can never build another tiger.”
David Shepherd

Craig Jones
David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

How to Protect Wild Tiger Populations

The illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth as much as $23 billion, meaning it is one of the world’s most lucrative black markets, threatening the survival of thousands of species, including tigers.

Tiger parts are highly valued across China, Thailand, and the much of Asia as an ingredient in unethical traditional remedies, claimed to cure everything from impotency to rheumatism. Even their whiskers are said to cure toothache. However, despite there being no truth or scientific validation to these claims, tigers have still been pushed to the brink of extinction by greed and the power of belief.

As wild populations dwindle, rather than heeding the dire warning of their disappearance, tiger breeding farms have been established to meet the ongoing demand for tiger products. Providing a constant supply into the market, this practice compounds the problem by validating the demand and further puts the species at risk. Unfortunately, any legal market that puts animal products on a pedestal in this way, ensures black markets will still flourish as they attempt to satisfy the out-of-control demand.

Even more tragically, as tigers are now so rare, lion parts are being substituted in their place – proving claims about the unique properties of tiger parts are undoubtedly false.

Surya Ramachandran
David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

And the threats don’t stop there. Tiger habitat is being lost at an irreplaceable rate, and as apex predators, they are targeted for retaliatory killings in instances of human-wildlife conflict.

For tiger conservation to work, we need to safeguard them as a species and their vanishing habitat – from Asian jungles to Siberian plateaus and woodlands. We also need to reduce human-carnivore conflict and achieve human-wildlife co-existence for the communities living alongside tigers in their core areas. Then, through scientific research and monitoring, we can better inform existing conservation strategies.

DSWF is committed to all these aspects, as well as the complete eradication of the illegal trade in tiger parts. The projects we support and fund in India and Russia directly combat poaching and the illegal wildlife trade whilst engaging and empowering local communities to forge new connections with this iconic species.

As few as 4,000 Left

Today, all surviving tiger species are either endangered, critically endangered, or threatened with extinction, according to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), with as few as 4,000 left in the wild. There are now more tigers in private ownership across the USA than in their natural habitat.

Yet it’s not too late to help them.

Surya Ramachandran
David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
Adopt a Tiger

Tiger Art

Founded by renowned wildlife artist and conservationist, David Shepherd, CBE, DSWF continues his legacy and remains rooted in the art world. Today, through the sale of artworks varying from David Shepherd original masterpieces to the latest pieces from our Wildlife Artist of the Year exhibition, we raise vital funds for the frontline projects we support.

Look out for our ‘Artist of the Month’ and ‘Art for Animals’ special events that often feature specific pieces centred around our chosen species.

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
Photograph by Craig Jones

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All donations will help us continue our vital work conservation work to protect endangered species and turn the tide on extinction.

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