Extinction of Amur tiger

April 13, 2023, 12:19 p.m.

The Amur tiger is one of the largest land predators on our planet. The only one of its relatives who mastered life in the snow.

There’s something special about the Amur tiger. As the largest of all tigers, this subspecies is known for its power, strength, and stealth. But what makes it truly unique is its spirit.

Sadly, the Amur tiger under threat of extinction for many decades and in recent years the situation has only worsened.

There are several reasons for this. The first and main one is poaching, and not only the shooting of predators themselves, but also the hunt for herbivores that the tigers feed on.

Poaching. Research has demonstrated that human-caused mortality accounts for 75-85% of all Amur tiger deaths. Current estimates indicate that 40-60 tigers are poached in the Russian Far East each year, although actual numbers may be higher. Population modeling field data suggests that poaching rates exceeding 10% of the adult female population could have dangerous repercussions, especially as tigers have fairly low population growth rates compared to other big cats. Analysis of mortality data in Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve indicates that poaching rates may be at least this high in a significant area of Russian tiger range.

The second is the death of tigers at the hands of local residents, whose cattle from time to time turned out to be prey for the predators. The third is deforestation and reduction in the area where tigers feel comfortable.

The main threats to the survival of the Amur tiger are poaching, habitat loss, and illegal hunting of ungulates, which are tigers’ main prey. Because they increase access for poachers, roads are another important threat to the Siberian tiger. Intrinsic factors such as inbreeding depression and disease are also potential threats to this big cat, but are less understood.

Tigers are most commonly poached for their fur and for their body parts, such as bones, that are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Poaching problems are further exacerbated by low incomes in many rural areas of the Russian Far East – sale of a tiger skin and bones represents a substantial source of income for poor people in remote villages.

Amur Tiger is also known as Siberian tiger, Altaic tiger, Korean tiger, Ussuri tiger. Estimated numbers left in the wild: Approximately 400.

About 95% of the total population lives in the Russian Far East, 5% in China; individual specimens are found on the territory of another 12 Asian countries.

The number of roads in Amur tiger habitat is increasing steadily as logging activities and development push into even the most remote regions. Besides allowing greater access for poachers, roads increase tiger mortality from vehicle collision, and increase the probability of accidental encounters between tigers and people, leading to tigers being shot out of fear or opportunity. Roads also provide poachers greater access to ungulate habitat, which reduces tiger prey abundance.

The Amur tiger is an important part of the ecosystem as it helps keep the population of other animals in check.

The extinction of the Siberian tiger would have a devastating impact on the environment and local communities.

The loss of this apex predator would upset the delicate balance of the ecosystem, leading to a proliferation of prey animals and a deterioration in the quality of the forest habitat.

What do you think should be done today to ensure the survival of a unique tiger species?

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