Amur Tiger

Amur Tiger

[ Panthera tigris altaica ]

Quick Facts

BODY LENGTH: 4.2 to 9 feet
TAIL LENGTH:

2 to 3 feet

WEIGHT: male: 320 to 675 pounds; female: 220 to 370 pounds
WILD DIET: elk, wild boar, deer species; occassionally birds, fish, and mice
ZOO DIET: carnivore diet and shank bones
DISTRIBUTION: northeast China, extreme eastern Russia, and along the northern border of Korea
HABITAT: deciduous and coniferous forests, and mountainous scrub forests

 

The Biggest Big Cat

Power personified
Amur tigers are the largest cats in the world. Males can weigh up to 600 pounds and stand more than three feet high at the shoulder. They have massive front legs and shoulders that allow them to hunt large prey like deer, wild goats, and sheep. They have even been known to hunt and eat bears.

As strong as they are, though, even the most successful tiger captures prey only about one in ten tries. But when they are successful, they eat a lotup to 80 pounds at a time!

The feline formerly known as...
Amur tigers live in a region surrounding the Amur River in eastern Asia. The Amur river runs through parts of Russia, China, and North Korea. Amur tigers used to be called Siberian tigers because they were found in a small part of the Siberian region of eastern Russia. Now they are officially known as Amur tigers to more accurately describe where they live (in the wilds of China, Russia, Siberia, and Manchuria).

Roaring, chuffing, and other tiger "talk"
Tigers roar, but not as often as lions do (lions live in groups and communicate with each other more often). Tigers also "chuff," making a noise just like the word sounds, when greeting other tigers. They usually live alone, except for the mother and cub relationship, and the brief time adult males and females come together to mate. So tigers often communicate in less obvious ways, such as marking trees with urine and scratches. 

Why do Amur tigers need to leave these subtle signs? Because tigers have really large home ranges (the area where all their activities take place). The home range of male tigers can be more than 1,000 square miles, and they can cover almost 40 miles (60 kilometers) in one day. Communication is important in order for tigers to protect their home ranges.

It's all in the latitude
Amur tigers live farther north than any other kind of tigers, and in the coldest climate. Animals that live in the cold north tend to have certain traits that southern members of the species do not. For example, Amur tigers have large, heavy bodies and thick fur that retains body heat in the frigid northern winters. Their coats are pale orange with light stripes, which blends in pretty well with the whites and tans of their habitat. 

Tigers in turmoil
Amur tigers are critically endangered, especially in recent years. Forested lands that were wild before the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991 are being logged as the new government looks for ways to make money. Amur tigers have less space to live than they used to. Poachers also take their toll on Amur tigers. The beautiful coats sell well in the illegal animal trade, as do the big cats’ bones. Tigers are also hunted for sport, out of fear, or when they kill domestic livestock. For these reasons, there are only about 200 to 400 Amur tigers left in the wild.

Amur tigers at Brookfield Zoo
Amur tigers inhabit the rocky outdoor exhibits at The Fragile Kingdom.

Brookfield Zoo is part of the Amur Tiger Species Survival Program (SSP), a cooperative program between zoos that plans the breeding of this highly endangered species.

Get Involved

Conservation Fund of the Chicago Zoological Society