Amur or Siberian tiger -- Panthera tigris altaica

Amur - Page 1&2: In The Wild | 3: In Captivity | 4&5: Subspecies Description| 6: Weight & Length Figures |
7: Conservation

Threats to the Amur tiger:

In the 1900s, the building of the Chinese Eastern Railway resulted in the Amur tiger being hunted mercilessly; this activity was banned in 1947.  

These days the biggest threat to this subspecies is logging and loss of habitat in Russia. One third of the world's trees are found here and the area is a magnet for logging companies who compete for clear felling rights.

Poaching has been on the increase since the dissolving of the USSR (Soviet Union). Between 1990 and 1994 an estimated 60 tigers were poached each year. The opening of borders between Russia, North Korea and China have meant more trade in tiger parts and created a relatively new pressure on the Amur tiger. Worsening economic conditions in Russia will inevitably lead to increased poaching as the people search for ways to make money and ease poverty.

Now suggestions have been made of a new threat to the Amur tiger looming on the horizon. A slowly changing climate may result in a rise in temperature of up to 2°C. Though this sounds very little, the effect would be to cause the collapse of pine and other forests, further stripping the big cat of its already reducing habitat.  

Loss of prey species:

Male Amur tigers have a particularly large home range and it is not uncommon for this to extend for up to 4,000 square miles.

Territory size among tigers is heavily influenced by the availability of large prey. As this reduces, so the tigers are forced to hunt further afield and the risks of contact with the human population increase.

An example of this was seen in January, 1987 when a lack of prey caused two Amur tigers to appear in the snowy streets of Vladivostok. They were shot and killed.

Though some areas have seen an increase in prey animals during recent times, it seems the tigers have learnt local cattle are an easier source of food. Mount Changbai is one spot where they continue to stalk domestic livestock and in one three month period killed over 40 oxen. This does not endear them to local villagers who live on the edge of Wildlife Reserves like  Huangnihe.

The Amur tiger and conflict with man:

Despite the sometimes close proximity of tigers to people, attacks by the Amur tiger on humans are extraordinarily rare, with most occurring when a tiger is surprised and feels threatened.

The native populace has a great deal of respect for the tiger, with the Udege people of the Russian Far East referring to Amur tigers as "Amba" (translation: Great Sovereign). They also consider this cat to be protector of the medicinal plant, ginseng.


Amur - Page 1&2: In The Wild | 3: In Captivity | 4&5: Subspecies Description| 6: Weight & Length Figures | 7: Conservation

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Photography With Thanks To Ralf Schmode
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