Four subspecies of tiger—the Caspian, Javan, Balinese, and South China tigers—have already gone extinct due to habitat loss and relentless hunting by humans. Five subspecies remain: the Amur, or Siberian, tiger, the Bengal tiger, the Indochinese tiger, the Malayan tiger, and the Sumatran tiger. All of these tigers live in parts of Asia, and all are hanging by a thread in the wild, with fewer than 3,000 remaining in total, and illegal hunting claiming more of them on a weekly basis. The main driver of this looming and seemingly inevitable extinction is the insatiable appetite for tiger bones, skins, eyes, and other body parts in China and Vietnam, where tiger organs are used to make an array of traditional folk medicines. In those countries the complete carcass of a single tiger can be sold for as much as U.S. $50,000, which means that a poacher who kills a wild tiger can earn enough money to support his family for several years. Because of this huge incentive, poachers—illegal hunters—are willing to take great risks to kill tigers.

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