Indochinese tiger - photo by Wudidiz (Flickr) Creative Commons license.
The Indochinese tiger is a subspecies of the tiger that has, apparently, the greatest genetic diversity of all the tiger subspecies. However, taxonomy, the classification of species, is a slightly fluid concept. There are different opinions on what constitutes a subspecies. There appears to be no firm criteria on how to divide a species. How different does one animal have to be to another to be classified as a separate species? And what is the advantage of fine or rough divisions?
In the case of the Indochinese tiger the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ (Red List) has agreed (provisionally) to list what was once the Indochinese tiger living in the Malaysian Peninsula as a separate subspecies called: Panthera tigris jacksoni. This division was made on the basis of DNA testing. There are no clear differences in appearance or form and shape, however. Neither is it clear what the geographical division is between the jacksoni and corbetti
The Indochinese tiger is also called the Corbett's tiger and the scientific name is named after Jim Corbett who was one of the big game hunters and a supposed conservationist. The scientific name is: Panthera tigris corbetti. From what I read about Corbett I don’t like what he did although it was a different world when he was around. I say he was a fraud.
Tigers in the southern areas such as the Sumatran tiger are smaller than those living in the north (Siberian tiger). The same principle applies for the Indochinese tiger. Here is weight comparison (but please bear in mind that figures are not always absolutely precise).
|Tiger Species||Weights lbs (Wikipedia®)|
|Indochinese||Average male 420|
|Siberian||Males: 419 to 675|
|Bengal||Average male 488|
The colouring and patterns are the same across all tigers. See Siberian Tiger Picture.
This cat is classified as endangered by the Red List:
The assessment is based on these appraisals:
- the population of this wild cat is low and declining….
- the “total population is unlikely to be greater than 2,500” (Red List) yet they also says that the total population is 630 with 315 mature cats. I am obviously missing something. While the authors at Wikipedia® say the population is “1,227 to 1,785, but it seems likely that the number is in the lower part of the range”. The tigerhomes.org website says that the likely figure is between 1,200 and 1,800. The indiantiger.org website says between 1,000 and 1,700.
- subpopulations are less than 250 cats, estimated (inbreeding is a threat). Subpopulations are isolated populations.
- there is a need for a survey of the Laos population
- there would seem to be general uncertainty on population size
- there are very low densities in Myanmar
- the estimated population in Cambodia is a meagre 11-50. Is that a supportable population size?
- poaching for sale commercially of body parts…”In Vietnam, almost three-quarters of the tigers killed provide stock for Chinese pharmacies” (Wikipedia®)
- human activity generally including the fragmentation of the habitat (a common cause that results in non-viable small populations).
- the Wikipedia authors mentions a loss of large prey base that forces the tiger to feed on small prey that is insufficient to sustain it and to reproduce.
Range – Habitat
The Indochinese tiger is found in (source: Red List):
- Viet Nam
The indiantiger.org website says it is also found in Southern China.
Here is a map:
Please note: There is no official map of the tiger’s range. I have presented the countries and some information (not much however). It is all but impossible to locate the parks using Google maps in these Asian countries.