Tails From The Zoo

Amur Tigers – CJOB Zoo Knew December 4, 2009

Amur tigers were discussed on “Zoo Knew”, Sunday November 29, 2009 on the CJOB 68 Weekend Wakeup Show with Chris Reid and Scott Gray.

Amur (Siberian) Tigers

Tigers at the Assiniboine Park Zoo:

  • Kendra – 10 years old. Arrived in 2007 from St Louis zoo via Memphis Zoo.
  • Baikal – 13 years old. Arrived in March 2009 from Toronto Zoo via the Cherrybrook zoo.

Tiger Subspecies and Population Estimates (from the IUCN Red list):

Living subspecies:

Amur tiger = ~500 (with a biologically effective breeding population of ~35)

Sumatran tiger = 400

Northern Indochinese tiger = 1000

Indian (Bengal) tiger = 1850 – 2460

Malayan tiger = 400 – 500

South China tiger = 30 (functionally extinct)

Extinct subspecies:

Caspian tiger – Extinct in 1970

Javan tiger – Extinct in 1976

Balinese tiger – Extinct in 1930

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Timeline Highlights:

1900: Estimated population of 100,000, which included 40,000 in India

1906: Last known tiger shot in Pakistan

1922: Last known tiger shot in Georgia

1930’s: Bali(nese) tiger becomes extinct

1940’s: Amur tiger (in Russia) fell below 30 animals

1950’s: Tigers disappear from South Korea

1959: Chinese government declares the South China tiger a pest and encourages its persecution

1970: Last known tiger killed in Turkey

1970’s: The Caspian tiger goes extinct

1976’s: Javan tiger goes extinct

1996: Amur tiger listed critically endangered

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Tiger Ecology:

Amur Tiger Distribution: Russian far east and Northern China

Habitat: Boreal forest

Life span: 10 -15 years in the wild, up to 20 years in zoos

Speed: 65km over short distances (house cat = 50km/ cheetah = 100km)

Diet:

  • Their main diet includes deer and wild pigs. Will also take birds and carrion.
  • Requires 150kg of meat a month
  • Kill with a bite to the back of the head or neck

Size and Weight:

  • 95 to 300kg (250 to 650lbs). The Amur is the largest subspecies
  • Average 2.2 lbs at birth
  • Males can reach 3 metres in length (that’s as long as a station wagon)
  • Stand 3 ft at the shoulder

Sexual maturity: 4-5 years for males and 3-4 years for females

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    Fast Facts about tigers:

    • Amur tigers have the palest colour and the fewest stripes
    • Can eat 30 to 40lbs of meat in one sitting
    • Must catch prey at least once a week to survive
    • 5% to 10% success rate in hunts
    • Were once known as Siberian tigers, but have been reclassified as Amur tigers because they are only found there.
    • Good swimmers, often found near streams and lakes
    • No two tigers have the same stripe patterns and each side of the tiger is different.
    • They are stalk and ambush predators
    • Require lots of cover and lots of space to roam and hunt
    • There are 36 species of wild living cats (22 of which are listed as vulnerable or endangered)

    Compiled by Scott Gray, Education Director, Zoological Society of Manitoba

    References: IUCN Redlist, Arkive, San Diego Zoo, National Zoo, APZ Reference books

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