The Siberian Tiger: A Great Hunter in Danger of Extinction
The Siberian tiger is a beautiful mammal, a skilled hunter... and is in danger of extinction. Today we'll tell you more about this majestic giant.
The Siberian tiger is one of the most outstanding tiger species on the planet. It’s one of the most-named animals in the world today… so much so that it has long inspired songs, novels, and poetry. However, and quite unfortunately, the Siberian tiger is in danger of extinction. In the following article, we’ll tell you more about this beautiful and interesting animal.
The Siberian tiger: A lone hunter
Tigers are solitary animals that usually live in different wooded areas on our planet. The Siberian tiger–as its name indicates–inhabits the frozen region of Siberia. However, there have also been sightings of these giant mammals in China and North Korea. Also known as the Amur tiger, the scientific name for this subspecies is Panthera Tigris.
The characteristics of the Siberian tiger
These great wild felines possess almost the same qualities as their relatives. For example, they have horizontal stripes that serve as camouflage and eyes that are very sensitive to light. What’s more, they have athletic bodies that have adapted to the conditions in their habitat. It’s interesting to know that tigers are incredibly similar to domestic cats, sharing 95% of their DNA.
Their coat is the lightest among all of the subspecies of tigers–perhaps allowing them to blend into their environment more easily. In addition, they possess a thick layer of fur that protects them from the harsh cold climate where they live.
They are also the heaviest among the tiger (Panthera tigris) subspecies. The average male weighs a bit over 700 pounds, with females weighing in at an average of almost 400 pounds. There are also some unverified reports of Siberian tiger specimens weighing over 880 pounds.
A good and fast hunter, but in danger of extinction
These tigers possess shorter legs, but with the same strength and rigidity as their cousins. Experts believe that they are among the fastest animals on the planet. In fact, on flat terrain, they can reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour, a characteristic that makes them excellent predators. The Siberian tiger tends to hunt on its own, crossing the plains and hills of the Siberia, China, and North Korea.
As for human activity, their environment has shrunk to a very small size, which is a source of concern for global conservationists. They used to inhabit almost the entire territory of Russia, Mongolia, and Manchuria. However, deforestation and other activities have decimated the natural habitat of these animals.
Siberian tigers are carnivores and depend on various sources for their food. Their diet consists of wild boars, deer, moose, and even small bears. Given the geographic conditions of their habitat, they don’t have a constant food source. As a result, they must consume as much meat as they can from each kill. As a matter of fact, Siberian tigers can eat up to 66 pounds of meat in one sitting with the objective of keeping up their energy.
It’s worth pointing out that it’s very uncommon for one of these felines to attack a human being. Rather, they tend to stay as far away from humans, unless a lack of another food source leaves them with no choice.
These animals reach sexual maturity at four years, which is fairly late compared to other animals. As for gestation, it takes approximately three months for them to carry a litter of two to four babies to term. These cubs remain with their mothers some 18 months in order to learn how to hunt. After that, they begin their journey in search of a territory of their own.
Currently, there are farms that increase the genetic make-up of Siberian tigers. Given the lack of specimens, these animals have lost a great part of the genes that they originally possessed. Sadly, this has opened the door to illnesses and other syndromes.
Illegal hunting for their skin, a decrease in habitat, deforestation of their surroundings, and the disappearance of their natural prey are all a threat to Siberian tigers. As a result of these factors, only about 500 Siberian tigers exist in the world. For this reason, this tiger subspecies finds itself on the UICN endangered animals list.
Traditional Chinese medicine considers the skin and bones of these animals to possess healing properties. Therefore, they are the constant target of those who look for this sort of ingredient.
More interesting facts about the Siberian tiger
- A Siberian tiger by the name of Hodori was the official mascot of the Soccer World Cup of 1988 in South Korea.
- What’s more, the image of a Siberian tiger also appears on this nation’s national soccer emblem.
- The shield of the city of Vladivostok also contains the image of this tiger.
Source of images: Appaloosa and Johan Spaedtke aka Spade