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The Bali tiger, or Panthera tigris balica is one of the three sub-species of tiger that is now extinct. The smallest sub-species, Bali tigers are believed to have been extinct since around 1937 due to the deforestation of their habitat and hunting. They were only found in a very small area, the Indonesian island of Bali, which measures only 2,175 square miles (5,632 square kilometers) in total.
There are eight sub-species of tiger in the world, three of which are extinct - the Bali tiger, the Caspian tiger and the Javan tiger. Tigers are large felines known for their beautiful orange and black fur and white markings, which is one of the major factors that exposed them to extinction by hunting. The Bali tiger, while being the smallest of the sub-species, still measured up to 7 feet (2.13 m) long and 200 pounds (90.72 kg) in weight, the females being slightly smaller than the males.
A number of factors contributed to the extinction of the Bali tiger. The fact that Bali is a small country and an island was a major one. With the influx of humans and deforestation, their habitat became smaller, they were more exposed to hunters, and due to Bali being an island, they had nowhere else to go. Also, despite the fact that they are small tigers, they are generally solitary in nature which made them easier to hunt.
Tigers, including the Bali tiger, have a relatively long reproductive cycle. That is, the Bali tiger had a reproductive period of about two to three years which included mating, gestation, birth and rearing. Each litter was between two and three cubs and the cubs often fell prey to predators making it difficult to increase numbers of the tiger population, and their subsequent extinction.
The five remaining tiger sub-species' namely Siberian tigers, Bengal tigers, Indochinese tigers, South China tigers and Sumatran tigers are all in severe danger of extinction and are classified as endangered. They exist mainly in the forests of India, but also in some parts of Russia, China, Indonesia and Manchuria. They are all solitary creatures and highly territorial, making them extremely sensitive to deforestation.
The demise of the Bali tiger should be seen as a cautionary tale — without dedicated efforts at conserving the remainder of the tiger's habitats, their extinction may also be imminent. They are meat-eating carnivores, so the conservation of their food supply, which ranges from small prey such as monkeys all the way to large prey such as elephants, is also vital to their survival.