Lions, Tiger, and Bears! Oh my!! Yes we are all familiar with the typical tiger. The orange, black and white large cat that everyone loves to see in the zoo but would not want to get anywhere near in the wild. Just like many other beautiful animals, most tigers are endangered, specifically this subspecies. We may all know them as Siberian Tigers but they can also be called Amur Tigers. Their latin, scientific name is Panthera tigris altaica.
These creatures used to live in a variety of places such as Russia, China, and Korea, but have been greatly reduced to only Russia. It is a big shock to discover that there may only be around 500 Siberian Tigers left in the world! At one point around the 1940s, this species was almost run to extinction due to hunting where there couldn’t be more than 40 individuals in the world. It was only saved by Russia when it granted tiger’s full protection within its country.
These large cats, as they are known, truly are the largest! They can be as long as 10.75 ft long and weight around 660 lbs! Imagine this guy standing in your dorm room. These animals are incredibly powerful and are very skilled in hunting their prey. Tigers normally live alone, viciously scenting land marks to keep other rivals out of their territory. Surprisingly, they actually use their coats as camouflage with hunting, stalking and wait for the perfect moment to creep close and pounce on their victims. Their prey can include bears, deer, elk, boar, and whatever else they can find. They can eat as much as 60 lbs. in ONE sitting!
We have all heard of the tigers that raid towns close to their habitats and intentionally hunt or kill humans. This is actually very unlikely because tigers will try to avoid humans as much as they can. Those that do become dangerous man-eaters are usually sick and cannot hunt their normal food or live in home where their prey is disappearing.
No two tigers look exactly the same! Just like a person’s finger print, every tiger’s stripe pattern is different. Siberian tigers specifically look a little different than the normal tiger because their stripes are fewer and paler than what we normally see. Also because they have manes. Not the huge manes we see on lions, but a larger amount of hair around their head.
At one point in time there were 8 subspecies under the tiger but sadly three have already become extinct during the 20th century. Like many other animals I have discussed, habitat loss is a very large contributor to the extinction in the Amur/Siberian Tiger. Their homes are used for logging, agriculture, urban expansion, mining, fires, road construction, and so much more. Much of these activities killing the animals such as logging are illegal. Although human expansion is very dangerous for the tigers, the most immediate threat to this specific tiger would be illegal wildlife trading/ poaching. A new breed of poachers have actually been created but to hunt these tigers. They are better armed, faster, and more organized as they stalk the tigers, killing them for their skins.
It kills me every time I learn about these wonderful animals just like the Siberian Tiger who are hanging on to life by a thread. Imagine if the human race only had 500 individuals left! There would be so much word done to prevent our extinction. We as humans and fellow inhabitants of the Earth need to make sure that we keep all other species alive. How can we afford to lose such beautiful and unique animals in our world?