Isolated Tigers Travel Surprising Lands to Find Mates
Protecting undeveloped land could save the big cat, scientists say.
The remaining tigers are only surviving by moving through critical—but unprotected—corridors of land that link distant populations, a new study says.
Using hair and fecal samples, Sandeep Sharma, of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, and team studied genes from 273 individual tigers that live in four distinct locations within India's 17,375-square-mile (45,000-square-kilometer) Satpura-Maikal region.
Tigers once roamed across Asia from Turkey to the Russian Far East, but have vanished from over 93 percent of that range. (See tiger pictures.)
The 20th century was especially tough on the now-endangered beasts, when three subspecies became extinct, leaving six—all of which are at risk. (See a National Geographic magazine interactive of big cats in danger.)
At a glance the region's tigers seem to