Siberian Tiger: Description, Habitat, & Fun Facts

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Siberian Tiger Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Felidae

Genus: Panthera

Species: P. tigris

Siberian Tiger in snow

Siberian Tiger Description

A tiger subspecies, known as the Siberian tiger is native to far eastern Russia, China, and North Korea. Genetically, the Caspian tiger native to Central and Western Asia is extinct now and closest to Siberian Tiger.

The body of these tigers comprises notorious transverse strips all over the body with red-rust or rust-yellow colored coarse fur. In comparison with other tiger species, the ground coat of the Siberian tiger is often pale and changes between seasons and populations.

These tigers have strong legs and a long tail with relatively short and extended bodies. The length of the Siberian tiger is up to 60 inches and they weigh up to 675 lbs. historically, larger tigers were targeted by hunters, even females weighing at least 220 lbs with most remaining tigers falling short of this.

Generally, tigers are solitary animals. They are territorial animals and claim their large territories by scent-marking. They hunt any prey that falls within their territory and aggressively defends it. The large deers and boars, young of even larger animals are the prey of Siberian tigers.

On availability, they also eat rabbits and badgers. They track their prey and then camouflage to ambush it. The females give birth to two to six cubs at a time after a 3-month pregnancy. The male tigers are involved a little in the parental care of cubs.

The cubs are unable to hunt for 18 months and remain with their mother for at least two to three years and then find their territory. In some cases, the female offspring shares a part of their territory with their mother when they become adults.

Current and Historic Range of Siberian Tiger

The historical range of the Siberian tiger ranges from the Korean Peninsula, northern China, and Mongolia. In different regions, they are also known are “Amur tiger”, “Manchurian tiger”, “Korean tiger”, and “Ussurian tiger”.

Now the remaining population is found in a mountainous area in southwest Primorye Province of Russia and a part of Siberia, thus they get the name “Siberian Tiger”. Only about 350 tigers remained in wild in 2005 but currently, the population is stable since, even increasing to about 550 individuals in 2014 due to intensive conservation efforts.

Habitat loss and illegal poaching are the major threats to the viability of tigers. Now, Siberian tigers are listed as “endangered” by the IUCN.

Fun Facts About Siberian Tiger

Tigers are the most famous animals in the world. They are well known for their mysterious, elusive, dangerous, and beautiful characters. In the 20th century, 3 species from a total of 9 tiger subspecies went extinct, and even more, are endangered. So this proves that we are failing to conserve them despite the collective awareness.

i. The Great Traveler

According to various genetic studies, the Siberian tigers share common ancestors with Caspian tigers. They traveled from Eastern China via the Gansu-Silk Road corridor, colonized Central Asia, and ultimately reach Siberia.

The Siberian tigers are also known as great travelers and travel for large distances. They even travel up to 1000 km in search of prey or mates, but their range is now limited.

According to some records, the Siberian tigers travel up to 60 km per day. Thus, tiger conservation essentially requires the conservation of large areas or tracts of undisturbed wilderness.

ii. Rare Neighbors

Besides the tiger, another large feline also lives in this region. Generally, leopards live at a higher elevation than tigers but the Amur leopard’s habitat overlap with a Siberian tiger in the Changbai Mountains. The Amur leopards are one of the most evasive cats in the world. The IUCN listed these leopards as critically endangered.

iii. Not a Man-eater

The Siberian tigers look very dangerous and are often seen as a threat but opposite to this, they are very elusive and avoid humans to eat. In all cases, when they are reported becoming aggressive towards humans, it is mainly due to any injury or being ill.

Occasionally, an individual tiger does such behavior due to the dwindling population of prey species. However, there are some terrifying exceptions to this rule. John Vaillant, in this book “The Tiger”, described the story of a hunter named Vladimir Markov, a poacher in Far East Russia.

Before stealing a part of its kill, he shot and wounded a tiger. The injured tiger stalked the hunter and waited at the door for him to come home before it killed him and ate him. This rare case is an apparent act of vengeance in which the tiger waits up to two days for the hunter before killing him.

Although in India, some populations of tigers kill humans relatively regularly, this is thought to be an extraordinarily rare behavior of these tigers. The retaliation killings by people led by this, which further increase the threat to their populations.

Siberian Tiger Citations

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