New Tiger subspecies discovered

"Malaysian Tiger" has distinct genetic differences with relatives

Malayan Tiger © WWF Canon Elizabeth Kempf
Read out

An American research team has probably discovered a new tiger subspecies with the help of genetic testing. So far, it was assumed that the predators living on the peninsula of Malaysia to the Indochinese tigers (Panthera tigris corbetti) count. However, according to the scientists who studied 134 animals, the genetic differences are so great that one must start with their own subspecies.

According to the WWF, the "Malay Tiger" would be the ninth subspecies of the big cat described. With the Caspian, the Java and the Bali Tiger, three subspecies have already died out in the last century. The discovery must now be confirmed in a lengthy scientific process.

Meanwhile, a dispute about the zoological name of the big cats has already flared up. While the US researchers with the designation "Panthera tigris jacksoni" want to set a memorial to the tiger-protector Peter Jackson, Malaysian zoologists call for a name with "Panthera tigris malayensis", which refers to the habitat of the tiger.

"The description of the Malaysian Tiger as a separate subspecies also requires better protection of the endangered cat, " says WWF conservationist Stefan Ziegler. According to the WWF, around 3, 000 tigers still lived in Malaysia in the 1950s, before the stock dropped dramatically to 250 in the 1980s. Only through comprehensive protection measures, the population recovered to 600 to 650 tigers, which roam across the peninsula in scattered populations.

The nature conservation organization WWF is committed to tiger conservation areas and sustainable forest management. The WWF is successfully pursuing educational campaigns to ensure the coexistence of humans and tigers. Thus, in recent years, the number of Tiger attacks on humans and livestock has been significantly reduced. "The majestic big cats are threatened throughout Asia. An estimated 100, 000 tigers lived 100 years ago, but today there are only about 7, 000 ", says Ziegler. display

(WWF, 10.11.2004 - NPO)