Amur Tiger

Panthera tigris altaica

Quick Facts

Height: Up to 3 feet
Weight: Males: 320 to 675 pounds; females: 220 to 370 pounds
Distribution: Northeast China, eastern Russia, southeastern Siberia, and Manchuria
Habitat: Snow-covered deciduous, coniferous, and scrub mountain forests
Wild Diet: Red deer, wild boar, and Sitka deer are the largest portion of their diet; they may also take smaller mammals and birds and domestic goats or sheep
Zoo Diet: A commercial horse meat product, "Nebraska Premium Canine," mixed with ground pork; shank bones and whole prey; plus liver and chunk meat for training and treats

The Biggest Big Cat

Power personified

Amur tigers are the largest cat in the world. They have excellent vision, hearing, sense of smell, and equilibrium (balance). They are nocturnal (active at night). Their eyes have adapted to reflect back light in a way that produces a better image in low light. This enables them to see approximately six times better than a human can in the same light. Big cats such as Amur tigers also have very developed binocular vision (with two eyes working together at the same time), giving them great depth perception. Their ears are large and cup-shaped, which enables them to catch and focus sounds. They also use their long, stiff whiskers as feelers to help them sense branches and other objects as they move around in the dark.

Description

Amur tigers are sexually dimorphic (with two distinct gender forms). Males are larger than females. Their body is covered with narrow, vertical black, gray, or brown stripes, and they are the only large cats that have a striped coat. The long, thick fur on their neck and back is yellowish in the winter and reddish in the summer. However, a white coloration extends from their belly onto their sides, while their tail is also white and black.

Status in the Wild

This subspecies of tiger is very rare in Manchuria and Korea. In the past, they have been hunted for sport, as a pest of domestic herds, and out of fear, although Amur tigers have rarely ever eaten humans. Habitat destruction through deforestation, elimination of their natural prey, and the spread of agriculture is an even greater threat to the tigers' future. However, protection in the Ussuri region of Russia appears to have resulted in increased numbers and distribution. Poaching remains a significant threat to Siberian/Amur tigers. Poaching is driven by the possibility of profit from body parts sold to traditional medical markets.

The Amur tiger population was reduced to about 40 individuals in the 1930s. This bottleneck has reduced the overall genetic variability in the current population of ~350. The recovery from this tenuous population size suggest the Amur leopard population could similarly grow.

Some 80% of Amur tiger mortality is caused by humans: habitat encroachment, depletion of prey, or poaching. Areas with road access have higher mortality.

From www.wcsrussia.org: each female tiger requires ~250 to ~450 square km, therefore the largest protected area in tiger range—the Sikota-Alin Reserve—shelters only 10 to 15 tigresses.
 

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