Are There Tigers in the Philippines? A Historical Explanation

There are no tigers present in the wild of the Philippines. One of the most recent discoveries has proved that there were tigers in the Philippines too. Paw bones of the tigers were excavated in the Philippines.

Filipinos still wear amulets of tiger teeth and bones as a sign of fashion.

Are There Tigers in the Philippines

Are There Tigers in the Philippines?

There are currently no tigers in the Philippines. Tigers are long extinct there. They are unable to survive in the closed tropical islands of the Philippines. However, once upon a time, tigers used to roam the islands of Palawan when the nature there was not so tropical, and open woodlands were visible.

An excavation in 2004 conducted in the Ille cave and Rockshelters has unearthed paw bones of tigers. These bones date back to 12,000 years. Recently a toe bone was also found in the islands of Palawan in the Philippines.

Experts have stated that tigers used to live in the Palawan islands once. They think that the animals entered the Philippines from Borneo during the period of 620,000 to 420,000 years ago. The gap between the islands was only a few kilometers during that time. They used to swim all the way from Borneo to the Philippines.

However, their quest from Borneo to the Philippines stopped once the sea level rose. It increased the gap between the two islands. The gap got too wide for the tigers to swim across.

Gradually the tigers left on the other side were isolated. Furthermore, climate change continued. The open woodlands were changed into closed tropical jungles.

The climate gradually got hotter and in the disfavor of the tigers. On top of that, the number of prey decreased gradually. All these reasons caused the tiger to become extinct.

Ancient Artifacts That Prove the Existence of Prehistoric Tigers

There were indeed tigers in the Philippines and Borneo. Many ancient arts prove this.

Ancient paintings

10546147 drawing a tiger on the wall in a chinese temple

Many ancient paintings of the Bornean tiger are found in Buddhist temples. The paintings show that the tiger’s ferocity was the same as today. In fact, they were even bigger and stronger.

According to the data found from the fossils, many modern-day artists have also tried painting the Bornean tiger. A fossil of the mandibular bone discovered of the Bornean tigers has proven that their dimensions were way bigger than today’s tigers.


Anting- anting is a special kind of Filipino amulet. They are carved of tiger bones and teeth. The Filipinos believe that regular usage items, if carved with some special symbols, can protect and heal them. Thus, they etch tiger bones and teeth with special good luck symbols as per their local beliefs and wear those on the neck as amulets.

Are There Any Big Cats in the Philippines?

The Palawan leopard cat and the Visayan leopard cat are currently the Philippines’ two living wild cat breeds. However, there are white lions in the Philipines also. They are on the verge of extinction. Only 10 of them are in the wild.


Are there tigers in the Philippines? No, there are not. Yet there used to be tigers roaming in the Philippines. Many archaeological discoveries have proved their existence.

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Team Animalia Facts

"Team Animal Facts" is an expert group of wildlife enthusiasts who are impassioned for mysteries of animal life and dedicated to exploring them.

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