The physical makeup of the Siberian Tiger is an adaptation to its harsh habitat in the Russian Far East. The coat is thick and insulated by a layer of fat underneath on flanks and belly, in protection against the unforgiving Siberian winter. Fur grows longer and denser than the other tiger subspecies in winter months. Coat color is whiter in comparison to other tigers, possibly to aid in camouflage against the snow. Stripes are also less pronounced, particularly on limbs where they are absent on the outer surface of front legs. Coloration of skin and stripes is lighter, being golden and brown respectively. Paws are also padded with fur, to enable the big cat to tread comfortably on its snowy terrain.
Residing in the Conifer and Broadleaf forests east of the
The Siberian Tiger inhabits the Boreal forests in Far Eastern Asia, residing largely in
The tigers are known to mate at any time during the year. The receptive female advertises her presence by leaving urine and scratch markings on trees. She is in estrus typically for three to seven days during which the pair mates several times. Like all big cats, the courting individuals focus less on hunting during this time and are particularly hostile to any intruders. Up to six cubs are born after a pregnancy lasting between three to three and a half months, though three to four is the average litter size. Blind and helpless they are sheltered in a den by the ever watchful mother who seldom leaves them during the early weeks, going out only for hunting. The young open their eyes at two weeks and begin to venture outside at around three months. They are weaned off at around six months and begin to accompany their mother at her hunting trips at this age. Small prey is successfully taken down by the cubs at less than one year of age, and large prey at twice that age. They stay with their mother at up until three to five years of age after which they begin to venture and establish their territories and fend for themselves. Males generally move farther away from their realm, making them easier targets for poachers. As a result adult male tigers are outnumbered by females three to one on average. Lifespan is known to be up to twenty five years.
Amur Tigers were freely hunted in the early part of this century, bringing them to near extinction in most territories. In 1947 hunting was outlawed in the former
Hundreds of Amur Tigers exist in captivity around the world. The captive bred tigers are thought to have even greater genetic diversity than their wild cousins. In general the captive breeding of Siberian Tigers has been very successful. One breeding centre in
The Siberian Tiger still needs our dedicated monitoring. Building of new roads and logging is having an adverse impact on the tiger numbers and the fragile ecosystem requires continuous surveillance to boost the number of tigers and ungulates in the woods of