Tiger (Panthera tigris)
Tiger (Panthera Tigris) by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest of all the wild cats, yet the tiger is also the most endangered and some populations have already gone extinct. In spite of many conservation programs it is estimated the tiger population has declined by over 95% in the past 100 years, primarily due to poaching and habitat loss. Besides being the largest of the big cats, tigers have a unique coat pattern of only stripes. Other cats may also have stripes on parts of their coats but markings will also include spots, rosettes or blotches.

Panthera Lineage

1. Tiger (Panthera tigris)

2. Lion (Panthera leo)

3. Jaguar (Panthera onca)

4. Leopard (Panthera pardus)

5. Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia)

6. Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa)

7. Sunda Clouded Leopard (Neofelis diardi)

Key Facts about Tigers

~ Largest wild cat species ~

~ Striped coat pattern ~

~ Highly endangered ~


Tiger (Panthera tigris) Classification

Tigers belong to the big cat genus Panthera and the full taxonomy or scientific classification of the tiger species (Panthera tigris) is as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia (animals)

Phylum: Chordata (vertebrates)

Class: Mammalia (mammals)

Order: Carnivora (carnivores)

Suborder: Feliformia (cat-like)

Family: Felidae (cats)

Subfamily: Pantherinae (big cats)

Genus: Panthera (big cats)

Species: Panthera tigris (tiger)


Panthera tigris tigris

Panthera tigris sondaica

The scientific name for tiger is Panthera tigris which is also known as the tiger binomial name, tiger species name, tiger latin name, tiger biological name and tiger zoological name. Some call it the tiger botanical name however that term is applicable to the plant kingdom (botany) and not the animal kingdom (zoology).

Panthera Genus Big Cat Chart
Free Panthera Genus Chart by Wild Cat Family
Tigers of the World Print
Tigers of the World Print by Roger Hall
View Tigers of the World Print

In association with NHBS - Everything for wildlife, science & environment

The Great Soul of Siberia: In Search of the Elusive Siberian Tiger

Feline Behaviour and Welfare

Tigers: Artists for Nature in India

Tiger (Panthera tigris) Subspecies

Tiger Lower Classifications

As at the last IUCN Red List assessment of tigers, six extant (still in existence) subspecies of tiger were described as well as three tiger subspecies that have already gone extinct, totaling nine tiger subspecies:

Extinct (EX)

  • Bali Tiger Panthera tigris balica
  • Javan Tiger Panthera tigris sondaica
  • Caspian Tiger Panthera tigris virgata

Critically Endangered (CR)

  • South China Tiger Panthera tigris amoyensis
  • Malayan Tiger Panthera tigris jacksoni
  • Sumatran Tiger Panthera tigris sumatrae

Endangered (EN)

  • Amur / Siberian Tiger Panthera tigris altaica
  • Indochinese Tiger Panthera tigris corbetti
  • Bengal Tiger Panthera tigris tigris

However the current Felidae taxonomy revision proposes only two tiger subspecies based on comprehensive genetic studies. Thus the tiger lower classifications (or subspecies) at present are:

  1. Panthera tigris tigris - Mainland : larger size, paler coat with fewer stripes
  2. Panthera tigris sondaica - Sumatra : smaller size, darker coat with more stripes

Tiger Conservation

The global conservation status for tigers is Endangered (EN) and populations are declining.

The following global organizations are all fighting to conserve our iconic tigers amidst ever growing human populations and illicit poaching:

Please support these organizations with their important work. No matter how small or large your contribution, every bit helps!

Bengal Tiger Ranthambhor National Park
Bengal Tiger Ranthambhor National Park
© Jagdeep Rajput / www.ardea.com
Wild Cats of India Chart
Wild Cats of India by Rohan Chakravarty

More Wild Cat Posters »

Tiger Facts and Information

The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on tigers:

Books about Tigers

Tigers Forever by Winter and Guynup
Tigers Forever
By Steve Winter & Sharon Guynup


Tigers of the World, Second Edition: The Science, Politics and Conservation of Panthera tigris
Tigers of the World
Editors Tilson and Nyhus
(academic - eTextbook available)
The Vanishing Tiger 2003
The Vanishing Tiger by V.R. Sinha

Tiger Art Prints by Barbara Keith

Images copyright Barbara Keith

Tiger Art Print
Opulent by Barbara Keith
Tiger Wall Art by Barbara Keith
Silent Partners by Barbara Keith
Tiger Poster by Barbara Keith
Forceful by Barbara Keith