This curious subspecies (technical name Panthera tigris virgata) was once the western-most of all wild tiger subspecies. Its home range included Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and portions of Russia. These are the tigers that lent their imagery to the many tiger-laden artistic representations of the mighty Ottoman and Persian Empires.

The Caspian subspecies is also considered unusual because it inhabited a terrain as unique for its arid characteristics as the Siberian tiger's northern regions are for their snow and the Sumatran tiger's home is for its densely overgrown forests.

Sadly, the last formally documented observation of the Caspian tiger occurred in the 1950s, and the animal is therefore now universally presumed to be extinct. There have been recent reports of large cat sightings close to the Caspian Sea coast, where the border of Iran and Turkmenistan meet. Some believe these are tigers; others are sure they are Persian leopards. The Tiger Foundation, in collaboration with Boomiran - an Iranian nature conservation NGO - is currently conducting a on-site investigation of these reports and, at the same time, preparing an extensive report on the Caspian Tiger's likely extinction. Please see the Caspian Tiger Project page in this web site for details.

Sumatran, Indo-chinese, Southchinese, Bengal, Siberian, Caspian, Javan, Balinese