tiger in water
A Bengal tiger in water MJ Boswell/CC

While the world remains in shock over Cecil the lion and his killer US dentist Walter Palmer, today (29 July) is also International Tiger Day, a species on the brink of extinction, with about 100 killed every year to meet consumer demand in Asia.

To mark the day, here are some sad facts about the problems facing the species.

Amur tigers caught on film playing in China WWF

The number of tigers living in the wild is now just 3,200. The speices has suffered a catastrophic decline over the past century – in 1900 there were estimated to be 100,000 tigers in the wild.

tiger poaching
Two dead Sumatran tigers found in a village in northern Sumatra Reuters

Global initiatives are working to save the species through conservation and anti-poaching measures, but the threats they face are ever increasing. Habitat loss is expected to worsen over the coming decades as a result of an increasing need of land for palm oil and pulpwood plantations, along with climate change. As well as this, canine distemper virus (CDV) has been identified by scientists as being responsible – in part – for the decline of Russia's Amur tiger population.

tiger habitat loss
Habitat loss is a major problem facing the species Reuters

Their shrinking habitat is increasingly bringing them in contact with humans – particularly in India. When they then attack or kill, authorities often hunt the animal.

tiger poaching
Demand for tiger parts is still large in China reuters

The demand for tiger parts is still massive, with China fuelling the trade where wealthy people buy skins, paws and bones to make tiger wine. On kg of tiger bone sells for around $400 (£255, €362). Tiger skins and rugs cost thousands.

amur tiger family
The Wildlife Conservation Society released the first photos of an Amur tiger family in the wild in 2015 WCS

We still understand very little about wild tigers and their behaviour. Earlier this year, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) released the first ever photos of an Amur tiger family – including the father. This behaviour, where both the mother, father and cubs are seen together, has never before been captured on film and shows that, at least some of the time, males participate in family life.

javan tiger
Photo of live Javan tiger taken in 1986 – the subspecies is now exticnt Andries Hoogerwerf /CC

Tigers have been on Earth for two million years yet they could go extinct within the next 20 years if problems facing the species persist. Three subspecies of tiger – the Bali, Caspian and Javan tiger – have already gone extinct.

Tiger attacks on humans are rare although the predators are known to turn on their keepers
Tigress and her cub in London Zoo Dan Eaglesham

There are now more tigers in captivity than there are in the wild.