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Siberian Tiger Profile

The Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) or Amur tiger is a rare cat that inhabits the Russian Far East. The largest population occurs in the mountainous areas of Sikhote Alin. The cat was once widespread throughout northeastern China and Korea, but today there are fewer than 393 tigers living in the wild. Siberian tigers are also known as Manchurian tiger, Korean tiger and Assyrian 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. Males average 180–306 kg (397–675 lb) while females average 100–167 kg (220–368 lb). The tiger has quite thick fur that protects the animal from the extreme cold of Siberia. Siberian cats have a long coat of 15–17 mm (0.59–0.67 in) on the back. Whiskers are 90–115 mm (3.5–4.5 in) long. Siberian cats are not only the largest cats but also the largest carnivorous land mammals. They are excellent swimmers and tigers are known to follow their prey in the water. They are adapted to live in extreme cold weather, unlike the Asian subspecies that live in warm habitats.

Diet

Amur tigers hunt a wide range of species such as Siberian roe deer, Manchurian wapiti, moose, Manchurian sika deer, long-tailed goral, wild boar, Siberian deer, salmon, hares, pikas and rabbits . They can also kill Asiatic black bears and Ussuri browns.

Mountain range and habitat

Siberian cats make homes at high altitudes reaching 500 to 800 meters (1,600 to 2,600 ft) above sea level. The Siberian tiger is believed to occur mainly in the Russian Far East and eastern Siberia. It also lives around Lake Baikal. They are likely to establish habitats in coniferous-deciduous forests, Korean alpine broad-leaved forests, and northern boreal assemblages.

Territorial and Social Behavior

Amur tigers will travel up to 1,000 kilometers. They have long home ranges, but Siberian cats actively defend territories. Siberian tigers are excellent swimmers. The tiger is likely to recognize its territory which is abundant in hollow trees, caves, as well as dense vegetation. They do this to protect themselves or possibly their young from other terrestrial predators.

Reproduction

Amur tigers do not appear to have a specific mating season as females remain receptive throughout the year. The gestation period is about 3 – 3.4 months after which 2 – 4 young are born. Litter size can be up to 6. Males will mature at 4 – 5 years of age. Siberian cats have an average lifespan of about 10 to 15 years.

Conservation and Population

Siberian cats are critically endangered cats with a global population of only 310 to 393 surviving in the wild. Amur tigers are at risk mainly due to massive deforestation and habitat destruction. Humans are primarily responsible for driving tigers out of their natural habitat. It really brings humans and tigers closer to each other. The close encounter of humans with tigers has made many tigers redundant in their own environment.

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