The Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica), also known as the Amur Tiger, is a type of tiger that mostly lives in the Sikhote Alin mountain region in eastern Russia. This beautiful big cat is the star of Siberian Storm, of course. But they need help in the wild. They have become one of the most endagered animals on the planet.
In 2005, there were over 300 adult tigers in the region thanks to extensive conservation work. The population has been stable for more than a ten years but worries continue after a survey conducted in 2005 suggested that the Russian tiger population is in decline. The Siberian tiger is the largest living cat.
The Siberian tiger is reddish-rusty or rusty-yellow in color, with narrow black transverse stripes. They are usually around 1 an a half metres long, and taller than their cousin: the Bengal tiger, and they can weigh over 360 kg (males) and 130 Kg (females). They can reach speeds of up to 80 km/h.
The skull of the Siberian tiger is large size, (a similar size to the skull of a lion).
The habitat of the Siberian Tiger in Far East Russia spans almost 1,000 km from south to north throughout the Primorsky Krai and into the south of Khabarovsk Krai east and south of the Amur River. You may also bump into one on the Eastern Manchurian mountain system, which seperates Russia from China. This is a hilly region, with some peaks reaching 1,000 m or so.
Most of the Siberian Tiger population is in Russia, although there are a few individuals in China (only around 20 it is thought). Their favourite prey include red deer and wild pigs, but they may also feed on brown and black bears- they compete with wolves for many of these animals. Of the 2 species, the tigers seem to have the upper hand if left to their own devices. Tigers have been known to chase wolves from their kills, while wolves scavenge from tiger kills.
A Siberian tigress hits sexual maturity at 4, and they can mate at any time of the year, even in mid-winter (it's those warm coats!). A female will mark trees to attract the boys, and she'll spend almost a week with the male, during which they can mate during 3 days. Gestation takes around 3 months, and the tigresses can have between 2 to 6 cubs (4 is the usual maximum). The tiger cubs are blind at first and spend their first weeks in a den and are left on their own when the female hunts for food.
Female cubs stay with their mothers longer, and they eke out territories close to their original homes. Males, on the other hand, go walk about, a riskier way of life due to them bumping into poachers and other tigers.
Unfortunately, poaching of tigers and their prey is harming tiger populations. They have been endangered in the past, most notably during the Russian Civil War. Tiger hunting is now prohibited in Russia.
China and Russia have agreed to increase conservation efforts and cooperation in protected areas in a transboundary area for Amur tigers. China has held a number of public awareness drives including the first Global Tiger Day in July 2010
Siberian Tiger Video
There are many groups working tirelessly for the conservation of these and other animals. Organisations such as the Global Tiger Iniciative, for example, and Save Tigers Now, a campaign set up by the World Wildlife Fund. A hundred years ago there were 100,000 tigers in the wild. Now there are as few as 3,200.
Many of these organisation require funding, so please donate where you can, to save these wonderful cats from extinction. Panthera also does some great work.