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Siberian tiger

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Siberian tiger
Siberian Tiger Laying.jpg
Scientific Classification
Trinomial Name
Panthera tigris altaica
Siberian TIger Close Up.jpg

Siberian tiger is a subspecies of tiger known by the scientific name Panthera tigris altaica. It is also commonly known as the Amur tiger and is the largest tiger of all. Their fur possesses the ability to change shades to help with camouflage. Because of the high poaching rate of these tigers, they nearly went extinct in the 1940s with only about 40 of them left, but thanks to WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) and other conservation groups, the number of Siberian tigers is kept around 400.

Body Design

A Siberian Tiger in its environment. Notice the length of the tail compared to the rest of the body.

The Siberian Tiger is the largest cat in the world, even though the male and female's weight are drastically different. Where the male weighs about 300 pounds, the female weighs around 400 pounds. Their average length is thirteen feet, with their tail being about three feet long. What makes them unique from other tigers is that they have fewer stripes that are more spread apart and paler than those of other tigers. Unlike the other tigers, a Siberian Tiger has a mane. The fur on their mane helps them keep warm in cold environments. [2] Their fur is orange with dark brown stripes and random white splotches. During the winter, their fur lightens, allowing for better camouflage while hunting and can grow to about twenty-one inches. They can reach a speed of fifty miles per hour while running in the snow. The Siberian tiger is about three-and-a-half feet tall to the shoulder. Even though the Siberian tiger's shoulders and front legs are stronger, it uses its hind legs, because of their greater length, for jumping. They use their tail, which is about 1/3 its body length, for balance, especially when in pursuit of prey. Their ideal time for hunting is during the night, because they are nocturnal. Their ideal vision, which is six times better than that of a human, helps them see well in the night.[3]

Life Cycle

A mama Siberian Tiger with her three cubs.

A Siberian tiger can live up to 25 years, when in its natural habitat. They reproduce sexually, and their mating season lasts all year, but the winter months of December and January are the most popular. The male leaves the female right after mating. If the first litter dies, the female can produce another one within five months.[4]The gestation period is about three to three-and-a-half months. Females give birth anywhere from two to six cubs. When they are first born, the cubs are the size of a house cat, blind, and have no teeth. They begin to establish vision and grow teeth at about two weeks old. Within their first year of life, the Siberian tiger's cubs begin to hunt by themselves and become independent by one-and-a-half years old. However, the cubs only leave their mothers when they are three to five years old. Since these tigers are endangered due to deforestation, on average, only one cub from each litter survives to maturity.[5]

Ecology

Siberian tigers are found in the wild in the Russian Far East, and the northeastern border of China

Siberian Tigers are found in the Russian Far East, Korean Pine, Mongolian Oak and near the Russian border of Northeast China. The Siberian tigers have the most unregimented population out of all the tigers. Most of the Siberian tigers that roam free in the Primorsky and Khabarovsky Krai, located in Far East Russia. A couple can be found on the Northeast China border. They usually live in woodlands, boreal and temperate mixed areas, or the mountains. The Siberian tiger distribution area was a lot larger before they became endangered. Therefore, today most of the Siberian tigers are held in reservations or zoos.[6] Like all tigers, the Siberian tiger is very territorial. Male cubs leave their mother anywhere from 16 to 22 months, whereas, the daughter may remain with her mother. Sometimes it takes a one hundred kilometer journey for a tiger to find an uninhabited land to claim. A Siberian tiger’s territory does not stay stable for long despite the fact that they do not migrate. It may gain territory when its neighbor dies or lose territory if it losing a fight against an invader.[7] Tigers need a territory large enough to provide for their nutrition needs. They Siberian tigers main prey is elk, wild boar, and sika deer. Their diet also consists of smaller animals like badgers and raccoons. During the summer time, they might even feed on black and brown bears. When the times are too difficult to find their usual prey, the Siberian tiger may feed upon domestic animals like dogs, cows, horses, etc. When hunting the tigers’ size, strength, and claws help them with their defense. They are extremely silent when hunting and prefer to do it alone. Like all tigers, the Siberian tiger will take extreme measures, such as fighting to the death, to protect their habitat, territory and young. [8]

On the Brink of Extinction

Some Siberian tigers are placed into zoos where they and their reproduction can be monitored.

The Siberian tiger was once found all over Far East Russia, the Korean peninsula, and northern China. However, many people hunted these animals not only for the meat, but also their fur for clothing, medicine, and home décor. This drove these tigers almost to extinction. By the 1940s only about 40 Siberian tigers were left in the wild. The first country to pass a law that gave these tigers full protection was Russia. Since a majority of the Siberian tigers lived (and still live) in Russia, by the 1980s there were around 500 of them. When the Soviet Union fell, the poaching of these tigers grew, but the Russian conservation efforts, along with the WWF, have attempted to stabilize the population, keeping the number now around 450. The Siberian tigers’ habitat is limited to the Primorski and Khabarovski provinces of Far East Russian and tiny areas of the Chinese border.[9] The biggest threat to Siberian tigers is deforestation. A couple other main threats are the excessive hunting of the tiger’s main prey, killing the animal for it body parts to be used in traditional medicines, and habitat loss, which results from fires,logging and development of cities.The WWF along with the Russian animal conservation and scientist have been working on several ways to protect the Siberian tigers and help the subspecies prosper. They have secured the Siberian tigers’ habitats. These include protected areas and conservation leases. They have also found millions of acres that can sustainable manage the tigers. Siberian tigers are also being placed into zoos and preserves where they can be watch, protected, and their reproduction can be managed. People are also working with hunting communities to protect the animals like deer, elk, and boar that the Siberian tiger hunts. The WWF is trying to create better logging and hunting laws that will be reinforced to protect the tigers’ habitats. They also advocate the importance of saving the Siberian tiger to people. They help host an annual “Tiger Day” in Vladivostok and other cities in the Primorskii Provinces, where the Siberian tiger population is high. [10]

Video

The Siberian tiger has a few other common names including the Amur tiger and the King of Taiga. There are only about 500 of these animals left in the world.

References

  1. Panthera tigris altaica Wikispecies. Web. Late Update September 5, 2013. Unknown Author.
  2. Smith, P.A. Siberian Tiger Animal Fact Guide . Web. Date of Access March 23, 2014.
  3. Siberian Tiger Basic Information Angel Fire. Web. Date of Access March 23, 2014. Unknown Author.
  4. Siberian Tiger Blank Park Zoo. Web. Date of Access March 23, 2014. Unknown Author.
  5. Tiger (Siberian) Young People's Trust for the Environment. Web. Date of Access March 23, 2014. Unknown Author.
  6. The Amur Tiger: Ecology WCS Russia. Web. Date-of-Access April 5, 2014. Unknown Author
  7. Tiger Ecology Tigris Doundation. Web. Date-of-access April 5, 2014. Unknown Author.
  8. Ecology and Lifestyle Siberian Tiger. Web. Date-of-access April 5, 2014. Unknown Author.
  9. Overview World Wildlife. Web. Access Date April 5, 2014. Unknown Author.
  10. Russia Wildlife Conservation Society. Web. Access Date April 05, 2014. Unknown Author.