Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Environmental Studies Program


Philip J. Nyhus

Second Advisor

Catherine Ashcraft

Third Advisor

F. Russell Cole


Tigers are currently found in 13 countries. Three of eight recognized subspecies are extinct and the other subspecies are considered endangered throughout their range. Major threats to tigers include habitat and prey loss and poaching. Most studies of tiger decline, to date, have explored direct threats. This study uses a range-wide approach to explore possible underlying drivers of tiger decline. I used recent tiger population estimates and identified 6 biological measures and 27 socioeconomic measures to ask why some countries are more successful in conserving tigers than others. Data were analyzed using correlation and regression analyses in SPSS. Higher rates of education, greater democracy, and lower levels of poverty were significantly associated with successful tiger conservation. These factors likely promote more successful conservation due to increased levels of citizen support, greater local participation, increased scientific and implementation capacity, and increased funding for conservation. Furthermore, countries with an internal commitment and external non-governmental involvement, such as Nepal, can succeed at tiger conservation even without good measures of the identified factors. The factors found to significantly contribute to successful tiger conservation are also likely to impact conservation of other species throughout the world.


tiger, conservation, Asia, education, democracy, poverty