Siberian (Amur) Tiger

Noah Burger

Species Information

The Siberian Tiger is the biggest cat in the world. Some can reach weights of over 650 pounds. It does not live in the jungle like the stereotypical tiger, instead it lives in Russian forests and other cold climates in the Far East region of the world. Temperatures of its habitat can fall to well below freezing. It has been hunted for many years, at one point causing its population to drop to less than 50. Because it was on the brink of extinction, the Siberian Tiger became protected, and its population has begun to rise. However, deforestation still threatens the species because it is destroying its habitat. If habitat destruction continues at its current rate, it is predicted that the number of remaining Siberian Tigers will eventually begin to decrease again.

Threats

One major threat to the Siberian tiger is habitat loss. It lives in the forests of the Far East, much of which is being rapidly destroyed. It is a problem in all areas, because those near civilization are removed for development purpose, while those more remotely located are logged to sell the lumber. A second major threat to the Siberian Tiger is poaching. The big cats continue to be hunted illegally for their paws, pelts, and as 'trophy' kills.

Current Conservation Efforts

The Wildlife Conservation Society, or WCS is the front-runner in protecting the Siberian Tiger. Its russian outlet, WCS Russia, documents the changes in the number of remaining Siberian Tigers, as well as changes in the amount of habitat loss. The World Wildlife Fund, or WWF, is another player in protecting these animals. They accept donations from anybody and use the money to fund conservation efforts of all kinds of species, with a subgroup dedicated to tigers in general. They even allow people to symbolically 'adopt a tiger', an interactive way to help conserve the endangered tigers. Furthermore, there are currently laws against hunting Siberian Tigers, however poachers still ignore the laws. If caught, illegal hunters are subjected to fines, and/or imprisonment.
Saving the Amur tiger

Impact

The Siberian Tiger is an essential species because it is a predator. Predation keeps the population of the animals in an ecosystem from becoming to dense for the habitat to support. It also has an impact on the economy, because when it is illegally hunted its spoils can sell for large amounts of cash. In addition, they effect the economy because their protection may lead to less revenues for Far East logging companies. More importantly, over any quarrel of people wanting to make more money, they have the impact of being miraculous and mysterious creatures, as well as being the biggest cats in the world. We shouldn't let them fade into extinction, and to help we can push for better conservation laws, harsher punishments for poaching, was well as supporting the organizations involved in the species' protection.