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


The status of the Amur tiger is critical and without careful handling this subspecies could be extinct in the wild within only a few years.

Amur tiger status in Russia:

The 1992 Law of the Russian Federation on Environmental Protection and Management gave the Amur tiger full legal protection. In February of the same year the Siberian Tiger Project commenced capturing Amur tigers for examination and radio transmitter fitting. Eleven tigers have since been collared and though two have died, and one collar has ceased to operate, the remaining collars continue to provide scientists from the United States and Russia with invaluable information. Unfortunately, the feedback from this collaring technique takes years to produce the answers required.

Other  improvements designed to protect this cat include increased anti-poaching squads, extended habitat preservation and more effective law enforcement.

Prior to this 1992 Russian scientists had spent decades conducting limited studies of the Amur tiger. Due to the narrow focus of these studies experts still lack a great deal of vital information about this subspecies:

    • How much land is required by individual tigers?
    • Preferred habitats.
    • Preferred prey species and amount of prey available.
    • Reproduction.
    Protected areas and habitat regeneration:

    There are three protected areas for tigers in Russia. These are the Sikhote-Alin, Lazovsky and Kedrovaya Pad Reserves.

    Four Russian foresters have visited Minnesota (USA) to study the regeneration work being carried out on eastern white pines. They are hoping to use the same techniques to encourage re-growth in the  Korean pine in Siberia. This is very important as the pine provides food for animals like the boar; they, in turn, are prey species for the tiger.

    After extensive logging work now only scattered remnants of the Korean pine remain. The few trees are unable to produce enough seed for new growth, so the forests are stagnating.

In recent times, the forest area of Sikhote-Alin was decimated by two large fires. It is considered the primary breeding ground for the Amur tiger and these fires burnt directly through important tiger habitat. The big cats were seen retreating before the flames.

Amur tiger status in China:

The situation in China is much more severe, and Amur tiger  habitat has been steadily decreasing since the Qing dynasty ban on forest exploitation was repealed in 1870. Japanese occupation resulted in severe devastation, as did post-1950 economic development.  

In recent times, action has been taken in an effort to protect the few remaining tigers.

Five years ago the Jilin Provincial Government imposed a hunting ban in the Changbai mountain area. This has resulted in a steady increase of large prey animals. This area is a prime example of the extent of deforestation within China. Changbai mountains had reduced from 14,185  square kilometres in 1870 to only 573 square kilometres in 1980.

Huangnihe River Nature Reserve is northeast of Mount Changbai; this area contains four to six Amur tigers and will soon be upgraded to a National Park. The status of the Amur tiger in China is so bad that it was seen as vitally important they have the slightly increased protection provided by the designation National Park.

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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