Amur Tiger

ZOO LOCATION: Asian Highlands

Lifespan: Up to 15 years

Wild Diet: Wild boar, elk, deer, moose and brown bear

Zoo Diet: Feline diet with two fast days per week; bones

Predators: None

SSP: Yes

IUCN Status: Endangered

Habitat/Range: Boreal forests in mountainous terrain of northern Asia, North Korea and the Soviet Union. They are now only found in a small portion of China.

Characteristics: Amur tigers have long, pale orange hair and black stripes. Their bellies are typically white, extending onto their flanks; tails are white with black stripes. The back of their ears are black with white tips. They can withstand winter temperatures as low as -30 degrees. Amur tigers are the largest subspecies of tigers. Males may weigh up to 500 pounds and be more than a dozen feet in length; females are typically smaller. Like other cats, tigers have rasping papillae on their tongue enabling them to clean meat off bones in only a few licks.

Behavior: Amur tigers are usually nocturnal, and generally solitary. They are mostly terrestrial as adults, climbing less because of their great size. These tigers are good swimmers and, unlike other felines, they enjoy water. They wander more during cold weather, mostly in search of food. Rasping papillae on tongue enables the cleaning of meat from bones in only a few licks. Stealthy hunters, tigers are able take down large deer and boar. They will travel great distances in search of food or prey upon domestic dogs and livestock when food is scarce. This causes problems with their survival because of human/tiger conflict.

Reproduction: Female Amur tigers have a gestation of 105-110 days with litters of one to four sightless young born which weigh 2-3 lbs. each. In six weeks, cubs are able to follow their mother. In 6-7 months, they can kill independently. Female cubs will stay with their mother for about two years, males for one year. They reach sexual maturity in three years.

Conservation: Amur (Siberian) tigers are considered endangered in the wild by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Once ranging from the Korean Peninsula to southeastern Russia, the Amur tiger has virtually disappeared but for small areas in the Amur region of eastern Russia. The 2005 population census for the IUCN shows just under 400 tigers in the wild, fewer than 100 of which are subadults (20-36 months old). This is a slight increase from the 1996 population census, justifying that the current populations are stable enough to be down listed from Critically Endangered to Endangered. There are still numerous and serious threats to the remaining population, including poaching, human/tiger conflict, loss of habitat and lack of prey. Should the Amur tiger populations again start to decline they will be relisted to Critically Endangered.

Want to do something to help Amur tigers? Recycle all the aluminum you use! "Bauxite" a sedimentary rock, naturally occurs in tiger habitats. This rock is essential to making the aluminum that we use in cans, soda, etc. every day. You can help protect tigers and their habitat by recycling as much aluminum as possible. Recycling lowers the demand for creating new aluminum, and thus the need to log and mine in wild tiger habitat. Recycle your aluminum cans today and help save tigers!