Are There Tigers In Africa? Tracing The Journey Of The Tiger

Martha Martins
Oct 19, 2023 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Oct 30, 2021
Siberian tiger in the forest.

A tiger is an absolutely dangerous animal that's part of the wildlife of Asia and is the national animal of India.

This animal with striped and orange fur wandering around nature among trees so slowly and calmly is a sight to behold. Like a lion, leopard, and cheetah, a tiger is an apex predator with an unparalleled drive to hunt across its range of habitat.

In Africa, you can go on safari rides and see different animals that make up the African wildlife. But, you would definitely notice tigers missing among the lion, leopard, and cheetah that you meet. Why? Because there are no tigers in Africa!

I know. You might have imagined them among African trees, hiding behind trees to hunt prey. Save your imagination from running wild, because tigers never lived in Africa. Want to know why?

After you have read all information on these wild cats and their habitat range in Africa, do read are tigers endangered and are tigers bigger than lions.

Why are there no tigers in Africa?

It is surprising to know that the vast African continent with a number of wild animals never had a tiger among them. But it is true; there are no wild tigers in Africa. Shocking, right? Despite being known as the home of various big cats, Africa never had tigers among these big cats.

Are there tigers in Africa? The simple answer is no.

Then how come there are other big cats residing on the African continent? The fact is lions, leopards, tigers, and some other big cats belong to the Felidae family of cats.

They have a common ancestor and are originally a native of Africa. Due to a migration east to Asia almost 2 million years ago, these cats underwent changes which resulted in these tigers that we see today.

However, after they migrated, our beloved tiger never felt the need to return to Africa. Why these wild tigers decided to abandon their African land while other family members still inhabit the African continent is still a mystery to many. They might have found the climate in Asia very comfortable and just perfect.

Another possibility could be that the orange, striped body of the tiger is pretty hard to go unnoticed in the lands of the wide-open African continent. The dense forest in Asia resolved this issue for tigers.

Whatever the reason, several million years ago, tigers left Africa and never came back. Even now, you won’t spot wild tigers in Africa.

Where did tigers originate from?

Although ancestors of these big cats are from Africa, the modern tiger has never lived in Africa. Tigers are from Asia, mainly India and south China. Now, you can find tigers all over the world even though they are an endangered species.

There are many subspecies of tigers. Initially, tigers inhabited different countries in Asia.

But gradually, they started migrating to different countries outside Asia. Despite having many subspecies, tigers are endangered animals in the present day.

The number of tigers is decreasing with each passing day. The tiger population is in a dangerous state in India, Russia, Nepal, Indonesia, and several other places due to habitat destruction and poaching.

The decreasing number of prey in forests also threatens the food availability of the tiger. If there is no food to hunt, the tiger species is bound to be extinct in time.

It doesn’t matter if tigers are originated in Asia, the low amount of food and the increasing threat to the habitat of wild tigers can eventually result in no tigers anywhere in the world.

The ancestor of the tiger and other cat families is said to have originated from Africa. But, the modern orange tiger with stripes underwent evolutionary changes in Asia.

So technically, what we address as the tiger can be said to have its origin in Asia. Various subspecies of the tiger, like the Bengal tiger, is a result of changes that happened much later.

Top Predators In Africa

Although you won't find any wild tigers in Africa, there are plenty of other predatory animals that live in Africa. So don’t be quick to come to the conclusion that there are very few predatory animals in African countries. Besides, you can find tigers in Africa in a national park or in other conservation spaces.

Some vicious predators that live in Africa give nightmares to their prey. Lions, leopards, hyenas, and cheetahs are some well-known predators in African countries. The wildlife in Africa is rich with these predators.

The lion is the most vicious predator in African regions, no doubt. If both the lion and the tiger were present in Africa, the poor prey would have had a miserable life. While the lion rules African countries, the tiger rules mangrove swamps and forests in Asia.

Since there are no tigers in Africa, the food availability for predators has no threat of competition. The smartest predator in Africa is the leopard. Its hunting abilities are top-notch.

Leopards are also experts in camouflaging. How about the high-speed cheetah in Africa? Its hunting speed and accuracy are dangerously sharp.

You can come across these predators while going on a safari through Africa. Just because there are no tigers in Africa doesn’t mean that other predators of these big cats are not present in the area. Apart from big cats, other species like vultures also occupy African wildlife.

Countries Where Tigers Can Be Found

Even though tigers are a no-no in Africa, they are seen in various other countries around the world. Domestic tigers are seen in national parks or other conservation areas in Africa. So where are tigers seen? Where do they love to stay and which countries are tigers seen in?

Tigers live throughout Asia but are known to occur mostly in 13 countries including Vietnam, India, Laos, Nepal, Indonesia, and others. India has most of the wild tiger population.

Even though they are endangered, the population of tigers has risen significantly in the present day. The Bengal tiger is seen mostly in Nepal. The Bengal tiger population in this country is slowly rising.

Russia is known for its successful tiger conservation methods. The harsh climate in Siberia is a well-suited habitat for tigers. Sundarban tigers are seen in areas of Bangladesh.

This species is trying to survive the poaching and other factors that are making it hard for the population. China has a considerable wild tiger population.

But at the same time, China is known to keep tigers captive to sell their skin. This country has a reputation of being a famous illegal market for poached tigers.

The Sumatran tiger species is seen in Indonesia. These countries have a significant number of tigers residing there. If these tigers are not given a proper habitat to live in, the number could decrease greatly.

Could tigers survive in wild Tanzania?

Tigers live in a diverse range of habitats ranging from rainforests, grasslands, and mangrove swamps. As we already know, such diverse habitats are seen vastly in Asian countries. Certain areas are a reserve meant for tiger conservation. Since the tiger is a native of Asian countries, have you wondered what would happen if they ended up in Africa?

Would the tiger survive in the African land? Tanzania is an African country known for its wild nature and habitats. The park situated in this area has a number of wild animals.

In Africa, tigers are seen in such a park since wild tigers do not live in the area naturally. What would happen if a wild tiger did live in Tanzania?

For starters, other big cats in the area would make it hard for the tiger to survive. Lions, leopards, and cheetahs reign in these regions. The tiger is a solitary animal who prefers hunting alone.

But on the other hand, lions are seen in groups. A single lion is powerful enough; imagine a group of lions. Cheetahs are fast runners and there is no question of who will win the hunt.

Leopards are also smart hunters. Living among these vicious predators, tigers would have a hard time hunting wildlife to save food for themselves.

They might have to starve. Due to this factor and also the difference in climate between Asia and Africa, a tiger might be best suited for Asian countries. With their strength, it is possible for them to survive in areas like Tanzania although it's better to just live where it is more comfortable.

What are the different types of tigers living today?

We have seen how evolutionary changes led the big cat to the tiger form that we see today. But the changes did not end there.

With time, different species of tigers emerged in different areas. There used to be nine subspecies of tigers. Among them, three species became extinct and the remaining six types of tigers are seen now around the world.

All of the different types of tigers are endangered species. There are Siberian tigers in north Asia. They are big in size with pale fur.

They are considered the biggest among the tigers. Bengal tigers seen in the Indian region are another type. This well-known tiger breed has orange fur with white tufts around the ears.

Indochinese tigers seen in southeast Asia have short and narrow single stripes on their body. The population of these tigers is decreasing rapidly. Malayan tigers are also very similar to Indochinese tigers and are seen in southeast Asia.

The south China tiger is also one of the rare tigers in the wild but south China tigers are almost on the verge of extinction. They are seen mainly around central and eastern China. Sumatran tigers in Indonesia are the smallest tigers.

They also have dark and well-defined stripes. These are the six tigers living now. The three extinct tigers are the Caspian tiger, the Bali tiger, and the Javan tiger.

Caspian tigers are a species with muted coloring in central Asia and the middle east. Bali tigers used to live in Indonesia and were the smallest tigers before their extinction. Javan tigers were inhabitants of Indonesia too.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for are there tigers in Africa then take a look at how much does a tiger weigh or bengal tiger facts.

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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