Found in Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand and formerly in China, the Indochinese Tiger is also known as the Corbett’s tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti). The name corbetti was given to honor Jim Corbett, a great hunter and naturalist. These cats live in secluded forests in hilly to mountainous terrain, majority of which lies along the borders between countries. The population of the animal ranges from, 1,200 to 1,800. However, it is more likely that it is in the lower part of this range. In all the populations of the animal, scattered in different countries, there is risk of inbreeding and they are also at risk for habitat fragmentation. In Vietnam the tigers that are killed provide stock for Chinese pharmacies. Besides, the animals are also used as resources to try and eliminate poverty.
Tigers in peninsular Malaysia, formerly classified as Indochinese, have been reclassified recently as a separate subspecies, Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni). This effectively means that the actual number of Indochinese tigers is less than half of the above estimates.No member of the subspecies has been seen in China since 2007. It is believed that the last specimen was killed and eaten by a man now sentenced to 12 years and imprisoned for the crime.
Edward James “Jim” Corbett was born on 25 July 1875 in Nainital (India) and died on 19 April 1955 in Nyeri (Kenya) was a British hunter, naturalist and conservationist. He was famous for killing man-eating tigers and leopards in India. Having the rank of Colonel in the British Indian Army, Corbett was frequently called upon by the government of the United Provinces, now the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, to kill man eaters who had killed people in the villages of Garhwal and Kumaon hills. His reputation as slayer of man-eating wild cats earned him much respect and fame amongst the people living in villages of Kumaon. Many of them used to call him sadhu (saint). The Jim Corbett National Park in Kumaon was named in his honour in 1957.
Among Indochinese tigers, males measure from 2.55 to 2.85 meters (8.37 to 9.35 ft) in length and weigh between 150 to 195 kilograms (330 to 430 lb). Average male is approximately 2.74 m (9 ft) long and weighs about 180 kg (420 lb). Large individuals can weigh well over 250 kg (550 lb). Females are usually 2.30 to 2.55 m (7.55 to 8.37 ft) long and weigh 100 to 130 kg (221 to 287 lb). Average female is approximately 2.44 m (8 ft) in length and weighs about 115 kg (253 lb).
The diet of Indochinese tigers consists mainly of medium and large-sized wild ungulates or “hoofed animal” which include wild pigs, sambar deer, serow, and large bovids like banteng and juvenile gaur. This prey base too has seriously depleted in most of the Southeast Asian countries because of illegal hunting, resulting in the so-called “empty forest syndrome” – i.e. a forests which otherwise look undamaged are in fact devoid of most of the wildlife. Species, like kouprey and Schomburgk’s Deer, are already extinct, and Eld’s Deer, hog deer and wild water buffaloes are present only in a few relict populations. In such habitats tigers are forced to survive on smaller prey, like porcupines, hog badgers, muntjac deer and macaques, which are by itself not sufficient to meet the energy requirements of a large carnivore. This also hampers reproduction in tigers. This factor, in combination with poaching for traditional Chinese medicines, is the main contributor in the collapse of the subspecies population throughout its range.