There are few animals more majestic than the tiger. But as beautiful as these big cats are, so are they threatened by extinction.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, a catalogue of critically endangered species across the globe, classifies all tigers as endangered. But the Malayan tiger is one of the rarest of all — and .
Here’s everything you need to know about these big cats and what efforts are ongoing to try and save them from extinction.
What is the Malayan Tiger?
The Malayan tiger is a critically endangered tiger subspecies that lives only in the tropical rainforests of Malaysia. To give it its scientific name, it is Pantheris tigris ssp. jacksoni.
It was discovered in 2004 after a series of genetics studies revealed the tigers in this part of Malaysia are diverse enough to be considered their own subspecies, according to a report. Before being recognized as its own subspecies, it was known as the Indochinese tiger, according to the report.
Where is the Malayan Tiger from?
Malaysia is located on the southern most part of the Malay Peninsula in Southeast Asia, and is bordered on the north by Thailand. The Indonesian islands are to the south.
What makes the Malayan Tiger so special?
These tigers are particularly special because they are rare. Tiger numbers in general are dwindling, having lost 97 percent of their population in the last 100 years.
“What that means is that every tiger remaining in the wild is precious,” , Vice President of Conservation Initiatives at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, tells Inverse.
Malayan tigers are widely considered to be one of nine original subspecies. Three of the subspecies are already extinct, and a fourth, the South China tiger, is likely extinct in the wild. Tiger genetics and subspecies designations are still actively investigated and debated, so it’s possible that the categorization of the Malayan tiger will change. But regardless of how scientists characterize it, this group of tigers is disappearing quickly.