Why the Regal Tiger Is on the Brink of Extinction

Once considered a conservation success story, they are again sliding toward extinction. This time the world's nations may not be able to save the great cats.

Nir Elias / Reuters

On the prowl
A South China tiger in his cage at the Suzhou South China Conservation Base

The great beast seems to materialize out of the dusk -- a striped vision of might and mystery. Emerging from a thicket in southern India's Nagarahole National Park, the Bengal tigress is hungry and ready to begin another night's hunt. To nourish her 500-lb. body, she must kill a sambar deer, a boar or some other big animal every week of her adult life. Fortunately for her, Nature has given tigers the prowess to prey upon creatures far larger than the cats are. Her massive shoulders and forelimbs can grip and bring down a gaur, a wild, oxlike animal that may...

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