The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s International Affairs Program coordinates domestic and international efforts to protect, restore, and enhance the world’s diverse wildlife and their habitats with a focus on species of international concern. We envision a world where all people value nature and conserve living resources for the well-being of life on Earth.
At the turn of the last centry in Asia, tigers ranged from the Russian Far East to the Indus River in the Indian subcontinent. By the 1990s, their population had decreased to 5,000-6,000 individuals, and all five tiger subspecies were threatened with extinction. Today, more than 95 percent of the tiger’s historic distribution has disappeared due to poaching, loss of prey because of overhunting, and habitat loss. Around 4,000 tigers are currently found in ten range countries in Asia including Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, and Thailand. Tigers are currently extinct in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
The three species of rhinoceroses found in Asia roamed across much of the continent in the 1900s, but poaching – primarily for their horn – resulted in their extinction in many countries. The greater one-horned rhino was found across a wider swath of the Indian subcontinent from northeastern Pakistan to northeastern India. Currently around 3,700 individuals are found in a few protected areas in Nepal, and the states of Assam and West Bengal in India. The Javan rhinoceros was found in India, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Peninsular Malaysia, and Indonesia (Sumatra and Java). Today the Javan rhino (around 75 individuals) is restricted to one national park in Java. Like the historic range of the Javan rhino the Sumatran rhino was found in India, Myanmar, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra (Indonesia). Today around 80 individual Sumatran rhinos are dispersed around a few protected areas in Sumatra.
Due to these threats to the survival of African rhinos and Asian rhinos and tigers, Representative Jack Fields (R-TX) sponsored the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act, which was passed by Congress on October 22, 1994.