Amur Tiger (Siberian)
The amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) is a rare subspecies of tiger (P. tigris). Also known as the Siberian, Korean, Manchurian, or North China Tiger, it is the largest natural animal in the feline family Felidae.
The amur tiger is critically endangered. In the early 1900s, it lived throughout the Korean Peninsula, northeastern Mongolia, southeastern Russia, and northeastern China. Today, it has virtually disappeared from South Korea and is largely confined to a very small part of Russia’s southern Far East. There are very few tigers in Manchuria (northeastern China) and fewer still in North Korea. Captive breeding and conservation programs are currently active.
The tiger population in the Sikhote-Alin was 250 in 1992, increasing to 350 as of 2004. Illegal poaching has been brought under control thanks to frequent road inspections. It is rumored that there are still around 20 of these tigers in the Mount Changbai area of China.
As the total population of these tigers fell to 150 in the wild, many subpopulations are possibly not genetically viable. They are subject to potentially catastrophic inbreeding. However, Russian conservation efforts have led to a revival of the subspecies. The number of individuals in the Primorsky region of Russia has risen from 450 to 500 in the past decade, indicating positive growth.
An amur tiger named Hodori was chosen to represent the 1988 Summer Olympics held in Seoul, South Korea.
The male amur tiger can weigh as much as (700 lb) 318 kg. In past years, scientists believed that these cats could weigh up to 800 lb (350 kg), a supposition based largely on the estimates of hunters. On average, a tigress weighs about 352 lbs (160 kg), and a male weighs about 496 lbs (225 kg). At these sizes, the amur tiger is the largest natural creature of the cat family. It is not as large as the liger, a panthera hybrid generally only found in captivity. The largest captive amur tiger was 12 ft (3.7 m) long and weighed over 932 lbs (423 kg). This is compared to the largest captive African lion that weighed 806 lb (366 kg). Siberian tigers can grow from 10 to 12 feet long! Apart from its size, the amur tiger is differentiated from other tiger subspecies by its paler fur, dark brown (rather than black) stripes and diverse diet.
Like all other cats, the amur tiger is a carnivorous predator. It preys primarily on wild boar, roe deer, sika deer and goral, but will also take smaller prey like lagomorphs (hares, rabbits, and pikas) and fish, including salmon. Unlike the Bengal tiger, the amur tiger rarely attacks humans. It has sometimes even been known to kill and eat Asiatic black bears and even brown bears. Since it is estimated that 85% of an amur tiger’s diet is composed of red deer and wild boar