Chinese officials are reporting that a man named Zhang has been mauled by tigers at the Ningbo Zoo, Dongqian Lake in eastern China’s Zhejiang province. Zhang was attempting to avoid paying the $15 entrance fee at the Zoo as he climbed in over a wall in the back of the Zoo entering the Tigers enclosure where he was met by Tigers.
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The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest cat species, most recognizable for its pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with a lighter underside. The species is classified in the genus Panthera with the lion, leopard, jaguar, and snow leopard. It is an apex predator, primarily preying on ungulates such as deer and bovids. It is territorial and generally a solitary but social predator, often requiring large contiguous areas of habitat that support its prey requirements. This, coupled with the fact that it is indigenous to some of the more densely populated places on Earth, has caused significant conflicts with humans.
Tiger populations once ranged widely across Eurasia, from the Black Sea in the west, to the Indian Ocean in the south, and from Kolyma to Sumatra in the east. Over the past 100 years, they have lost 93% of their historic range, and have been extirpated from Western and Central Asia, from the islands of Java and Bali, and from large areas of Southeast, South, and East Asia. Today, they range from the Siberian taiga to open grasslands and tropical mangrove swamps. The species has been classified as endangered in the IUCN Red List.
Major reasons for population decline include habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation and poaching. The extent of area inhabited by tigers is estimated at less than 1,184,911 km2 (457,497 sq mi), a 41% decline from the area estimated in the mid-1990s. The global wild population is estimated to number between 3,062 and 3,948 individuals, down from around 100,000 at the start of the 20th century, with most remaining populations occurring in small pockets isolated from each other, in which about 2,000 tigers live on the Indian subcontinent.
In 2016, an estimate of a global wild tiger population of approximately 3,890 individuals was presented during the Third Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation. The WWF declared that the world’s count of wild tigers has risen for the first time in a century. The tiger is among the most recognisable and popular of the world’s charismatic megafauna. It featured prominently in ancient mythology and folklore, and continues to be depicted in modern films and literature, appearing on many flags, coats of arms, and as mascots for sporting teams. The tiger is the national animal of Bangladesh, India, Malaysia and South Korea.
The word Panthera is probably of Oriental origin and retraceable to the Ancient Greek word panther, the Latin word panthera, the Old French word pantère, most likely meaning “the yellowish animal”, or from pandarah meaning whitish-yellow. The derivation from Greek pan- (“all”) and ther (“beast”) may be folk etymology. The word specific name tigris derives from the Classical Greek language τίγρις meaning “tiger” as well as the river Tigris. The Middle English tigre and the Old English tigras (a plural word) were both used for the animal. These derive from the Old French tigre, itself a derivative of the Latin word tigris.