The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest member of the cat family. It is easily distinguishable with its red-orange coats with black stripes, white bellies, sharp fangs, and long whiskers. There are nine subspecies: the extinct Bali, Caspian, and Javan subspecies, and the living Malayan, Sumatran, South China, Indo-Chinese, Bengal, and Amur (or Siberian) subspecies. The Amur is the largest subspecies while the Sumatran is the smallest. The Bengal is the most numerous, accounting for half of the total tiger population in the world.  

Guide for different species | Source: Pinterest/Annette Stephenson / Owlocation

Tigers have been culturally significant, especially in Indian and Chinese cultures. They are the subject of myths and legends of different cultures in India, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. For example, they are worshipped as the vahan (vehicle) of the goddess Durga, one of the major deities in Hinduism. In China, they are the king of all animals, one of the super-intelligent creatures, and the ruler of the West. They have also been symbols of strength, majesty, anger, and ferocity in Asian cultures.  

These animals are used in cultural art | Source: Pixabay

These creatures are classified as endangered species, with a population of around 3,900 in the wild. Many threats to their population include loss of habitat, human-wildlife conflict, poaching, and illegal wildlife trading. The Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia created Global Tiger-Day on July 29, 2010, to raise public awareness of tiger conservation. Many celebrate this holiday annually, with great success. To celebrate, in 2022, South Korean singers Hoshi and Tiger JK released a single called “Tiger”.  

Tiger Banknotes

India 10 Rupees | 2013 | Source: Banknote World

The 10 Indian rupee notes issued from 1996 to 2018 features the creature on its reverse side, along with the rhino and the elephant. Though the population of the Indian rhino, Indian elephant, and Indian tiger increased in the past few years, they are still vulnerable to poaching and loss of habitat.  

South Vietnam 500 Dong | Source: Banknote World

The 500 dong note from South Vietnam, issued in 1972, also featured the tiger. The Indo-Chinese tiger is native to Southeast Asia, especially in Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Their population, however, has declined and remained in Myanmar and Thailand.  

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