CaspianTiger -- Panthera tigris virgata

Caspian - Page 1: In The Wild | 2: Subspecies Description | 3: Photographic Records | 4: Weight & Length Figures

A description of the Caspian tiger:

There are some skins from the Caspian tiger in museums around the world, and a limited number of photographs showing live Caspians are available. From these we can gain some idea of the appearance of this cat.

The body of the Caspian was quite stocky and elongated with strong legs, big wide paws and unusually large claws. The ears were short and small and gave the appearance of being without hair on the tips. Around the cheeks the Caspian was generously furred and the rest of the pelage was long and very thick.

The British Museum has one skin specimen which is a yellow-gold over the back and flanks, while the sides of the body are lighter than the back and the striping also varies from light to dark brown.

The chest and abdomen is white with yellow stripes, while the facial area is yellow with brown stripes on the forehead and obvious white patches around the eyes and cheeks.

Outer portions of the legs are yellow and the inner areas white. The tail is of yellow and yellowish white stripes.

The Nature & Wildlife Museum of Iran also has a skin which is pictured here. In this specimen the pelage colour is ochre with dark, blackish, narrow stripes.

Specialists have both examined photographs and also considered its age (about 65 years old) in trying to determine the origin. At the present time they believe there is a 90% chance of it being from a Caspian. Absolute confirmation of this will come when the results of DNA testing arrive back from America.

The two skulls shown here are in the collection of the Siberian Zoological Museum. On the left is a male while the one shown above is a female. The male originated from the Tigrovaya Balka area which was the last stronghold of the Caspian tiger in the Soviet Union. Though the big cats were reported as being found here until the mid 1950s, the reliability of these claims is unknown.

Caspian - Page 1: In The Wild | 2: Subspecies Description | 3: Photographic Records | 4: Weight & Length Figures

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Photography With Thanks To The Nature & Wildlife Museum Of Iran (Photos 1, 4)
Siberian Zoological Museum (Photos 2-3)

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