The siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) or the Amur tiger is a rare cat that lives in the Russian Far East. The largest population is found in the mountainous regions of Sikhote Alin. The cat was once widely distributed throughout northeast China and Korea, but today there are only 393 tigers living in the wild. Siberian tigers are also known as the Manchurian tiger, Korean tiger, and Usurian tiger.
Features and description
Adult Siberian tigers weigh up to 318 kg (701 lb) with a body length of up to 350 cm (140 in). Males are larger than females. The average weight of males is 180-306 kg (397-675 lb) while females have an average weight of 100-167 kg (220-368 lb). The tiger has a fairly dense coat that protects the animal from the extreme cold of Siberia. Siberian cats have a 15 to 17 mm (0.59 to 0.67 inch) long coat on their back. Whiskers are 90-115 mm (3.5-4.5 inches) long. Siberian cats are not only the largest cats, but also the largest carnivorous land mammals. They are remarkable swimmers and tigers have been known to follow their prey into the water. They are adapted to live in extremely cold climates unlike the Asian subspecies that live in warm habitats.
Amur tigers feed on a wide range of species including Siberian roe deer, Manchurian wapiti, elk, Manchurian sika deer, long-tailed goral, wild boar, Siberian musk deer, salmon, hares , pikas and rabbits. They can also kill Asian black bears and Ussuri brown bears.
Range and habitat
Siberian cats live at high altitudes that measure up to 500 to 800 m (1,600 to 2,600 ft) above sea level. The Siberian tiger is believed to be found primarily in the Russian Far East and eastern Siberia. It also lives around Lake Baikal. They are likely to form habitats in the deciduous coniferous forests, the alpine broadleaf forests of Korea, and the northern boreal complex.
Territorial and social behavior
Amur tigers will travel up to 1,000 kilometers. They have large ranges, but Siberian cats actively defend the territories. Siberian tigers are excellent swimmers. The tiger is likely to recognize its territory, which is abundant in hollow trees, caves, and thick vegetation. They do this to protect themselves or probably their cubs from other land predators.
Amur tigers do not appear to have a specific mating season, as the females remain receptive throughout the year. The gestation period is approximately 3 to 3.4 months, after which 2 to 4 cubs are born. Litter size can be up to 6. Males will reach maturity between 4 and 5 years of age. Siberian cats have an average life expectancy of about 10 to 15 years.
Conservation and population
Siberian cats are endangered cats with a world population of only 310 to 393 that survive in the wild. Amur tigers are endangered mainly due to massive deforestation and habitat destruction. Humans are primarily responsible for pushing tigers out of their native habitat. In fact, it brings humans and tigers closer together. The close encounter of humans with tigers has made many tigers superfluous in their own habitat.