From the Russian taiga to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, we profile the places and countries where you can see tigers in the wild
A century ago, as many as 100,000 wild tigers stalked the planet but by the dawn of the 21st century, that figure had plummeted by around 95% largely due to habitat loss and poaching. Current numbers are hard to confirm – tigers are masters of camouflage after all – but estimates by the Global Tiger Forum put the global population at approximately 5,574 in 2023.
Historically, tigers roamed widely across Asia but wild tiger populations are now restricted to just 13 countries, possibly even fewer. Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia and Thailand all have confirmed tiger populations. Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam only have anecdotal evidence; wild tigers may already be extinct in these countries.
Back in 2010, wild tiger numbers were at an all-time low of around 3,200 individuals. At the time, the WWF made a global goal to double wild tiger numbers by 2022 – the next Chinese Year of the Tiger – as part of a strategy known as TX2. While the organisation ultimately fell short, huge strides were taken in what is considered the most ambitious global recovery effort ever undertaken for a single species. The project marked a significant turning point for tiger conservation.
While tiger numbers are rising, there is still a long way to go for a species classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Responsible tourism can play a crucial role in conservation by raising funds for preservation efforts. Tourism can also help protect tiger habitats by encouraging sustainable land-use practices such as community projects and wildlife-friendly agriculture.
With that in mind, we profile below the countries where you can see tigers in the wild.
Countries where you can see tigers in the wild
Since 2017, the IUCN has recognised two tiger subspecies: the continental tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) which includes the Bengal, Malayan, Indochinese and Amur (Siberian) subspecies, all found on the Asian mainland, and the Sunda tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae), more commonly known as the Sumatran tiger, found only in Sumatra, Indonesia.
Tiger population: 3,682
Latest survey: 2022
India has 75% of the world’s wild tiger…