Panthera tigris altaica
Predominantly Eastern Siberia, but may roam to southeastern Siberia and Northern Manchuria, China
Dense coniferous forests, woodlands of deciduous trees
Wild pigs, wild cattle, and several species of deer
Siberian tigers are the largest cats, weighing up to 700 pounds and measuring between 4½ to 9½ feet. They are orange with black stripes with white markings on their underside and faces. No 2 tigers have the same stripe patterns. They have forward facing eyes that provide excellent binocular vision.
The Siberian Tiger is both powerful and lithe, making it an excellent hunter. It is mainly solitary and highly territorial. Hunting grounds may stretch to 1,600 sq. miles, with its perimeter marked by urine, feces and scratching of trees. The tiger’s soft, broad pads on its feet allow it to walk silently as it stalks it prey. The rough surface of its tongue is covered with tiny spines that it uses to scrape flesh from skin and bones, lap water and clean.
Tigers may mate at any time of the year, but winter seems to be the most popular time. A female is receptive for 3 –6 days and after mating, the male leaves the female. After a gestation period of about 110 days, the female gives birth to a litter of about 2 to 4 cubs in a secluded place. If all of the cubs die, the mother can produce another litter within 5 months.
Tigers are critically endangered. 3 subspecies became extinct since the 1950s, and only 5 subspecies exists today. Tigers are prized for their fur and medicinal purposes and these have been the main reasons for their decline. There are numerous campaigns and projects that seek to educate the public and protect the tigers. There are about 400 Siberian tigers in the wild and about 560 protected in captivity.