The wild tiger’s shrinking numbers are due to habitat loss caused by human encroachment, poaching fueled by greed, and starvation from lack of prey. Wild tigers need plenty of room to roam and the tiger’s contiguous territory is shrinking. Human populations and economic expansion has led to the razing of tiger habitats for plantations, mines and other agriculture. Over development by humans has left the tiger population in fragmented groups, leading to smaller genetic units with limited availability of prey animals. The tigers caught in these tiny territories are the most vulnerable to the most pressing threat; poaching.
To make matters worse, the increasing captive tiger population camouflages the severity of the wild tiger crisis. So many captive tigers estimated at over 5000 in the United States alone, may make it hard for the average person to fathom that tigers are at risk in the wild.