Siberian Tiger – Panthera tigris altaica
With the tiger being the largest of the big cats, the Siberian Tiger has a very prestigious title. This is because it is also the largest of the different tiger species. As their name indicates they are found in Siberian. Unfortunately that is their only natural habitat remaining as they have been destroyed in Asia and Russia over the years. What is very scary is that they are very genetically close to other species of tigers that have already become extinct. This tends to lead one to expect that is the future for them as well.
Today they are found in the higher mountain areas where they are far away from humans. Those that used to live in the lower levels have either been destroyed by humans through hunting or by them clearing out the forest areas. Finding adequate supplies of food though at these higher levels can prove to be extremely difficult. They tend to consume wild boars and certain types of deer that are found in these thick forest areas.
There are very few accounts out there of the Siberian Tiger attacking humans in any type of setting. However, due to their size and their appearance many people find them to be intimidating. In 2007 one did escape from a zoo in California and kill a person that had been pestering the tiger throughout the day. This got a great deal of media attention and gave the impression that these particular tigers seek out feeding upon humans but that isn’t true at all.
This particular tiger can be up to 10.5 feet long and weight about 650 pounds. This makes the equivalent to a man that is 6 feet tall. They are extremely fast animals with colorful stripes on them. They are extremely strong and powerful which is why the Siberian Tiger is often found as a symbol in popular culture. Yet this also makes them a huge trophy for some hunters that want the thrill of finding such an animal that they can kill.
Both hunting and poaching of them continues to be a concern. In the isolated areas out there though it is hard to make sure such actions don’t occur. There isn’t enough manpower to continually keep hunters and poachers out of the areas where the Siberian Tiger is found.
A huge problem for the future of Siberian tigers though due to low numbers is there genetic profile. This particular species has very little variation as it is when it comes to distinctive genetic factors. So when you are also talking about populations out there in the wild that are very closely related you run into even larger problems. Inbreeding can result in offspring that is very poor genetically and this isn’t going to help them with their quest for survival.
While they do breed in captivity very well, the issue becomes the quality of the offspring and not just the number of them. Helping to preserve the overall good genetics of this breed of Tiger is very important. In China there are many areas where Siberian Tigers are carefully bred in an attempt to get more diversity in their genetic pool. Hopefully these types of experiments will be useful for them in their overall survival and the quality of this species of tiger.
Hopefully the information we have about other species of tigers including those that are now extinct will help the Siberian Tiger to be one that survives. There are only a few hundred of them remaining in the wild today. It is going to take a great deal of action from many organizations out there in order to help keep this species of tiger alive.