Yes, tigers could survive in Africa. I have tentatively argued that the reason why tiger are not in Africa is because at one time, millions of year ago, Africa was disconnected by water from the area where tigers were found which prevented them spreading to Africa. In other words tigers aren’t in Africa because the habitat is unsuitable.
Tigers are primarily found in India, Bangladesh and Russia. They are also in Bhutan, 4,000 feet up.
A large part of the continent of Africa is dissimilar to say India in respect of habitat but there are areas in Africa where the habitat is similar to that found in India. Therefore certain parts of Africa would be very suitable.
However, the important point to make is that:
“Tigers are not tied to a particular habitat type or temperature regime”
Tigers are content to live in a great variety of habitat types. They are flexible and adaptable. You can see the tiger in the mangrove swamps of the Sundarbans of Bangladesh and India and, as mentioned, at 4,000 feet in the snows of Bhutan in the Himalayas. You will also find tigers in monsoonal forests in Indo-Malaysia and the coniferous and birch woodlands of Siberia. Therefore in terms of habitat Africa does not present a problem for the tiger.
Tigers can also cope with a wide range of climates and temperatures. The tiger can cope with temperatures as low as -40 degrees centigrade despite mainly living in hot climates.
Another factor is the availability of prey. Tiger density (the number of tigers in an area) is dependent on the abundance of large terrestrial prey. The tiger needs large prey. Would there be sufficient prey for the tiger in Africa? Humans also kill the prey that large wild cats eat.
In terms of what nature has to offer the tiger could live in Africa. However, we know that the lion population is rapidly diminishing in Africa because of increased human activity which reduces prey numbers and habitat. There is also trophy hunting of lions and other large animals. Further, farmers poison lions and other large wild cats to protect their livestock.
These detrimental factors which are all related to humans would quite possibly prevent the tiger’s ability to survive in Africa.
P.S. There would be an interesting clash between tigers and lions if tigers lived in Africa. They would fight for territory and prey. This brings to mind the eternally interesting question (to some) of which cat would win in a fight. My current research indicates that the lion would possibly win more fights than lose. If that were the case the tiger would also have to contend with predation by lions.
P.P.S. In the past I figured that the tiger would win.