In the wild, tigers prey on herbivores and play a key role in the population control of these plant-eaters. If the tiger was to suddenly disappear, it is likely that the herbivore population would begin to grow exponentially. The obvious problems with this is the increased consumption/destruction of crops, and the ecosystem as a whole.
Some scientists believe the South China tiger is now functionally extinct. This means that there may be a few left, but their hope for survival is slim, as little to no habitat or prey is left for them. A South China tiger has not been spotted in the wild for 25 years.
Interestingly, the Tasmanian Tiger, which was thought to have been killed off in the wild in the early 1900′s and had its last member die in captivity in 1936, may still be around. The chances are slim, but researchers found droppings that they believe belong to the cat from the 1950s and 1960s. They feel that if it could have survived that long (after the last cat was thought to have died) without detection, it could still be alive.
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