The Indochinese tiger or Corbett’s tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti) is a subspecies of tiger found in Cambodia, China, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. The “Corbett’s” name stems from the scientific name of the subspecies, Panthera tigris corbetti, which in turn is named in honor of Jim Corbett.
Male Indochinese tigers measure 8.37 to 9.35 ft (2.55 to 2.85 m) in length, weigh 330 to 430 lb (150 to 195 kg), and have a greatest skull length of 13 to 14 in (319 to 365 mm). The average male Indochinese tiger is approximately 9 ft (2.74 m) in length and weighs about 400 lb (180 kg). Large individuals can weigh well over 551lbs (250 kg).
Female Indochinese tigers measure 7.55 to 8.37 ft (2.30 to 2.55 m) in length, weigh 221 to 287 lb (100 to 130 kg), and have greatest skull length of 11 to 12 in (275 to 311 mm). The average female Indochinese tiger is approximately 8 ft (2.44 m) in length and weighs about 250 lb (115 kg).
Indochinese tigers are very powerful. In Vietnam, there is a documented case of a large male killed in 1984 near the border Vietnam-Laos. This tiger, with a total length of 9.19 ft (2.8 m) and weighed about 551.15 lbs (250 kg), had rained terror for the nearby villages for a long time before it was trapped. It had killed more than 10 buffaloes of the villagers. Despite the villagers’ effort to build 10 ft (3 m) high fences surrounding their cattle enclosure, this tiger managed to jump into the enclosure. It killed a calf and jumped out of the fence holding the kill, in its mouth. The tiger was finally killed when it came back to the village field. It killed a large buffalo with its powerful forepaw swipe and dragged the prey away. The villagers appeared in time, scared the tiger off, and made a gun trap on the dead buffalo. In the next evening, when the tiger came back for the prey, it stumbled on the trap. The body was found by a stream 1.2 miles (2 km) from the trap. This tiger was still able to flee quite a long distance after suffering the mortal wound.
The Indochinese tiger hunts antelope, wild boar, wild pig, wild deer, monkeys, baby elephants, and wild cattle. Occasionally they will kill leopards, bears and other tigers. They are also known to feed on fish and turtle, when ungulate preys are short.
Population & Threats
Estimates of its population vary from 1,227 to 1,785, but it seems likely that the number is in the lower part of the range. The largest current population is in Malaysia, where illegal poaching is strictly controlled. All existing populations are at extreme risk from habitat fragmentation and inbreeding.
In Vietnam, almost three-quarters of the tigers killed provide stock for Chinese pharmacies. Also poor natives see the tigers as a resource through which they can ease poverty.
The tiger’s numbers will be difficult to increase unless residents can see that a live tiger is more valuable than a dead one. Some are starting to realize this and are hoping to use the tiger as a draw for ecotourism.