An animal’s habitat is the area in which it would naturally choose to live. Generally, each species will have a fairly specific habitat that displays certain characteristics and boasts particular features that cater to that animal’s needs. Tigers can live in a wide range of habitats, and are commonly found in:
A malayan tiger taking a drink from a
• Evergreen forests
• Mangrove swamps
• Tropical rainforests
• Rocky mountains
The ideal habitat needs to fulfil three main requirements for the animal. There needs to be 1) shelter, 2) food and 3) water. Tigers require shelter to remain concealed from potential prey as they stalk their victim and threats (which are, usually, from human sources), as well as for protection when the female has cubs. Food comes in the form of prey, for which the tiger spends much of its life hunting. When there is interference with the population numbers of the prey, the tigers’ lives are in serious danger. In terms of water, there needs to be enough to sustain the tigers themselves as well as their prey. They are also susceptible to high temperatures and enjoy cooling down in refreshing water. They are excellent swimmers and can pursue their prey into relatively deep water.
These requirements are fulfilled in various areas around the world. However, Asia is certainly the most abundant home of these endangered creatures. The most prolific areas in which to find the various subspecies of tigers are the whole of India, the lower parts of the Himalayan mountain range, the mangrove swamps of West Bengal and the dense vegetation of the various forests of the Far East. In more general terms, tigers are most commonly found in China, Korea, Russia and Southeast Asia. Sumatra is the only island inhabited by tigers today. The wide variety of different habitats that tigers occupy is testimony to their adaptability to various conditions.
Today, the main threat to the survival of tigers is the loss of their natural habitats. Forests, grasslands and swamps are being developed into cities, towns, farming regions and industrial areas. Tigers are solitary animals and require space in which to hunt. In a similar vein, the less of their natural habitat that is available to them, the fewer species of prey they have from which to choose. Since the beginning of the year 2000, the natural habitat of the tiger has shrunk by an astounding 93%.
Africa, Europe and America are not the natural habitats for tigers. However, tigers survive remarkably well in captivity. This is not optimal, as tigers love to roam vast plains or jungles. Still, parks and nature reserves actually protect and conserve their numbers, and need to be supported. Countries like Africa, Europe and America, therefore, have parks and reserves in which tigers live. This gives people in these lands a chance to see these magnificent animals and to be educated about their preservation.