Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Siberian tiger art drawings

These amazing Siberian tiger drawings sent us Art Lover. We are glad that there are people on the world who on this remarkable way promote nature conservation. His drawings are dominated Siberian tigers as a symbol of power, mystery, and above all freedom. Here you can see more Art Lover beautiful animal drawings: Art Lover Gallery

If you have an interesting tiger stories, texts, videos, photos, drawings, please feel free to send us, and we'll publish it. This will be your contribution in saving these amazing animals. Thanks in advance.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Indian youth pledge to save the tigers

New Delhi, 1 December 2010: The International Tiger Conservation Forum ended in Russia last week with new efforts and commitments to maintain and enhance momentum towards tiger conservation initiatives across the globe.

Significant commitments were made at the Forum by all the tiger range countries with India too declaring its 39th tiger reserve and announcing eight more in development. Many donors committed additional funds towards tiger conservation in the coming years.

While the forum created the much needed government backing that is imperative to reverse the decline of this magnificent species, the International Tiger Forum was also unique for laying its focus on the youth and their role in conserving one of the world’s most iconic symbols of biodiversity conservation.

In parallel to the high level government meeting, WWF organised a Youth Tiger Forum in Vladivostok, in the Russian Far East, home of Siberian tiger, where youth representatives from all tiger range countries gathered together for a week, went on field visits in the land of the Amur tiger and developed youth outreach plans for tiger conservation in their respective countries.

Mr Ravi Singh, CEO, WWF-India said, ‘WWF-India is pleased with the extraordinary opportunity that the forum provided to the Indian Youth Tiger Ambassadors. We are impressed with the plans that the youth have developed at this forum and we will ensure that this broader vision gets conveyed back through a national level campaign that will raise the effectiveness of tiger conservation efforts in India.’’. Involving the youth will spur action and bring in originality in conservation initiatives in the country’’, he added.

At the youth forum, the representatives jointly wrote an Appeal, which they later made to the Prime Ministers and heads of delegation at the Tiger Forum through a video link to St Petersburg. Representatives from India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia and China were among those present at this unique youth forum aimed at creating a productive mechanism to involve the future generation in conservation efforts.

The youth appeal to the high level delegation was both emotive and effective. “We know for many of our countries, development is important. However, we do not want development that results in us losing many of the world’s natural wonders and wild species like the tiger. We want our children to be able to inherit a living planet full of the wonders of the natural world.’’ The youth pledged to join hands together make this year a turning point for the tiger. They committed to continue ‘saving the tigers together’. Most of them will initiate campaigns which will drive changes in policy and management of tiger conservation in their respective countries.

In the next six months, WWF-India’s Youth Tiger Ambassadors, Ansuha Shankar and Devanshu Sood will visit villages in some of the protected areas in the country to raise local awareness towards tiger conservation. The tiger ambassadors will continue to engage with WWF-India and take forward the organization’s campaign on tigers. As a part of their pilot project they will also involve their peers and start a youth movement in the country on saving this biggest cat.

Tiger Ambassador Anusha Shankar, a student of M.Sc Ecology and Environmental Science at Pondicherry University and Devanshu Sood the other Ambassador is a student of Class XII at Shriram School, Gurgaon and has been a core member of his schools’ Junior Tiger Task Force since the last 8 years.

For Further details please call-
Shaila Sam

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Endangered Tiger Cubs Debut

CHEN: Three tiger cubs from one of the world’s most endangered species debuted to the public yesterday at a South Korean zoo. Here’s a glimpse. STORY: These Siberian tiger cubs have no names yet, but they’re the third generation of the Tongil Tiger, meaning ‘tiger for unification.’ Their grandfather Ra-il was sent from North Korea’s Pyongyang Central Zoo in 1995 and their grandmother Hong-A was from one of South Korea’s zoos. The two male cubs and one female cub were born on July 9 to nine-year-old Chungjoo and her mate, five-year-old Koa. Since the tigress did not care for her cubs right after birth for unknown reasons, the breeders at the zoo had to look after and feed them from the very beginning. Visitors at the zoo were excited to see these new born tiger cubs. [Park Chul-woo, Visitor]: “I hope I can see many of these tigers in South Korea.” The Siberian tiger, native to northern China, southern Russia and parts of North Korea, is on the brink of extinction in the wild, disappearing through poaching and loss of habitat. Scientists believe only a few hundred now live outside captivity.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Siberian tiger cubs “cared” by goat

An abandoned Siberian tiger cub is “cared” by a goat at the Jiufeng Forest Zoo in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province, Nov. 14, 2010. It is estimated that there are merely 50-60 wild tigers surviving in China. More tigers are artificially bred in captivity. The wildness of those tigers raised in captivity has degenerated, thus leading to difficulties for their natural mating and wild living. They have become too familiar with humans and lost their natural wildness. (Xinhua/Zhou Guoqiang)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Vietnam commits to tiger conservation

Vietnam stands ready to cooperate with foreign countries and international organizations in improving tiger conservation on its own soil and the region as whole.

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Bui Cach Tuyen made this commitment at a historic tiger conservation forum held in Saint Petersburg, Russia, from November 21-24.

The forum, hosted by Russian Prime Minister V. Putin, was the first international forum on conservation of an endangered wildlife species.

The event was attended by high-profile representatives from 13 countries home to wild tigers, namely India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, China and Vietnam. Also present were representatives of UN agencies and foreign non-governmental organisations engaged in biodiversity conservation.

At the forum, governments capped a year-long political process with about US$127 million in new funding to support the plan known as the Global Tiger Recovery Programme. The funding will include a large loan package from the World Bank to some tiger range countries and millions in additional grants from the Global Environment Facility.

The World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) committed US$50 million over the next five years on tiger conservation and set a goal of increasing that to US$85 million.

The Global Tiger Initiative was raised by the WB President in 2008 with tiger range countries committed to doubling the current wild tiger population of close to 3,200 individuals by 2022.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Protecting where the wild things are

IN MOSCOW The tale of the magnificent Siberian tiger, and its unfinished fight for survival, should be a compelling one for the 500 conservationists and world leaders arriving for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's tiger summit this weekend.

The summit on the fate of the tiger has been convened in St. Petersburg as the singular chance to keep the world's last 3,000 or so wild tigers from extinction, and the near-death experience of Russia's big, beautiful animals informs how they can be saved elsewhere.

"Russia was the first country to almost lose its tigers," said Dale Miquelle, director of the Russia program for the Wildlife Conservation Society, "and the first to bring them back. There's a long history of lessons in Russia."

Miquelle, who has been working in the Russian Far East since 1992, will attend the summit, and if asked, he knows what he would tell the dignitaries.

"Tigers need three things," he said Friday, from Vladivostok. "They need space. They need their habitat and prey protected - deer and wild boar. And they need laws against poaching vigorously enforced. It's a very simple formula. It's very doable."

Everyone seems to agree tigers - which numbered 100,000 worldwide a century ago - won't go on living unless people behave differently. But the world has never found it easy to agree on what to do about anything, and so it is with the tiger, which has inspired the imagination of humans everywhere, who see strength, fierceness and passion in the graceful cat.

In 2008, World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick organized the Global Tiger Initiative, targeting the summit in 2010 - the Chinese Year of the Tiger - as the time tiger countries would figure out a plan, now aimed at doubling the number of cats in the wild by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger.

Each of the 13 tiger range countries is arriving with its own plans, and the summit - from Sunday through Wednesday - is meant to consolidate them, set a common agenda, attract financing and mobilize the political and popular will to carry them out. The United States, a major donor to tiger conservation, will be there.

So far, there's been polite disagreement about how far-reaching the plans should be, with much sentiment to go big and broad - engaging and educating communities, vastly expanding protected landscapes and restoring tigers to a much wider range than they now inhabit. Others argue that the situation is so dire that time and money should be concentrated on relatively few areas before declaring loftier ambitions.

"We want to see tigers living in large, healthy landscapes," said Barney Long, WWF tiger program manager, "not in small parks where they are vulnerable to outbreaks of poaching."

The Wildlife Conservation Society and Panthera, a conservation organization dedicated to wild cats, have proposed narrowing efforts, and WCS has suggested 42 sites where tigers should be protected.

Joe Walston, director of WCS-Asia, says that with 70 percent of the world's tigers fairly concentrated - including 18 "source sites" in India, eight in Malaysia and six in Russia - money should be aimed at monitoring and strengthening law enforcement to stop poaching in such areas.

Broader attempts are too risky, warns Luke Hunter, Panthera's executive vice president. "If you start talking about infrastructure and saying a dam can't be built unless it doesn't harm tigers, that's all good," he said. "The problem is we don't have time for it. Educating communities is a good thing, but by the time the children have grown up, the tigers will be gone."

Zoellick contends that those points of view are less contradictory than they appear. "We all agree that if you don't preserve the core population, there's nothing to talk about," he said, but at the same time those populations need room to roam.

Somehow, the WWF says, everyone will agree, because they must if there's any hope of saving the tiger. "The impediment will be financing," said Mike Baltzer, head of WWF's Tigers Alive initiative. "We're hoping donors will step up."

Strong anti-poaching laws and financing strict enforcement will be on Russia's agenda as it hosts the summit. Russia has watched tigers decline or prosper as laws and police weakened or grew powerful.

Its Siberian tiger - the Amur tiger - once roamed the forests and mountains of the Russian Far East by the hundreds. But hunting and trade destroyed them, and by 1940, when Lev Kaplanov, the director of a Russian nature preserve, did the first scientific count, he found only 20 to 30.

By 1948, the Soviet government had outlawed tiger hunting and there was little means or reason to violate the law.

Guns were strictly controlled, the border with China was very much closed, preventing trafficking, and the sale of tiger parts was prohibited. By the late 1980s, perhaps 400 were on the prowl.

"There was no incentive to poach," Miquelle said, "and it largely ended."

As the Soviet Union slowly crumbled into chaos, however, those controls disappeared, replaced by a poverty that encouraged hunting and a ready market in nearby China, where tiger parts are valued for folk medicine. Now 20 to 30 tigers are poached in Russia every year, and Miquelle fears for the future of the 500 Siberians thought to be left. Few die of old age.

Just Monday, anti-poaching police in the Russian Far East stopped a truck in the Khasan region near the border with China and North Korea. They found a tiger carcass inside and arrested four people on poaching charges.

Miquelle mourned the dead tiger but rejoiced in the arrests.

"If we can't protect the tiger, we can't protect the natural resources we rely on," he said. "If we can save the big cats, we can save ourselves."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

“Reduced to skin and bones” shows tigers under pressure

The WWF, based in Gland, near Geneva, says the world’s endangered tigers remain under pressure, with India, China and Nepal showing the worst poaching problems. In the past century the number of tigers worldwide has fallen from an estimated 100,000 to just 3,200. The WWF is a member of Traffic (wildlife trade monitoring network), whose “Reduced to Skin and Bones” report released 9 November shows that “from January 2000 to April 2010, parts of between 1,069 and 1,220 tigers were seized in 11 of the 13 tiger range countries—or an average of 104 to 119 animals per year.”

The report is published ahead of a meeting at the end of November of heads of government of tiger range countries to sign the Global Tiger Recovery Programme, a plan that aims to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022. The programme aims to push harder to reduce poaching and illegal trade, but also to reduce the demand for tiger parts.

Tigers are coveted for their use in traditional medicines, decoration, and as good luck charms.

Poachers sell “complete skins, skeletons and even whole animals—live and dead, through to bones, meat, claws, teeth, skulls, penises and other body parts,” says the WWF.

Pauline Verheij, joint Traffic and WWF tiger trade programme manager and an author of the report, says that “with parts of potentially more than 100 wild tigers actually seized each year, one can only speculate what the true numbers of animals are being plundered.”

India, which has the largest number of tigers, also accounted for the largest number of seizures, parts representing as many as 533 tigers, with seizures in China and Nepal accounting for nearly equal numbers of roughly 130 tigers in each country.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chinese habitats of wild Siberian tigers expand

After two oxen were eaten in Sandaowan Town, Yanji, Jilin province, experts from Beijing Forestry University have proved through DNA analysis that the predator was a wild Siberian tiger. This was the first signs of activity of Siberian tigers discovered in Yanji in nearly 10 years. Experts believe this implies an increasingly evident trend that the habitats of wild Siberian tigers are expanding from the China-Russia border areas to include China's inland areas.

It is known that wild Siberian tigers mainly live in Russia's Far East and China's Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces. Of them, 430 to 500 live in Russia and about 20 in China.

Located at the junction of China, Russia and North Korea, Jilin's Huichun is the most concentrated area of wild Siberian tigers and serves as an ecological passage for the free migration of wild Siberian tigers between China and Russia.

Lang Jianmin, director of the Publicity and Education Center of the Huichun Siberian Tiger Conservation Zone Bureau, said that thanks to China's intensified protection of wild Siberian tigers over the recent years, poaching activities have dropped considerably and the number of ungulates is on the rise. The living environment of wild Siberian tigers is improving and the annual frequency of discovering wild Siberian tigers has increased.

During recent years, the number of wild Siberian tigers in the Huichun Siberian Tiger Conservation Zone has grown to five or six from the original three or five. The signs of activity of wild Siberian tigers in Yanji perhaps imply the expansion of their habitats from the border areas to include China's inland areas.

Qiao Heng, vice director of Jilin Provincial Forestry Department, said that over recent years, Jilin Province has expanded the Siberian Tiger preservation areas based on the Huichun Siberian Tiger Conservation Zone to offer wild Siberian tigers more habitats.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tiger Habitat Saved From Logging

There are an estimated 350-500 Siberian, or Amur tigers, remaining in the wild. In captivity there are another 400 or so. In the late 1940s, that number was down to twenty, and the species was very close to extinction.
Various conservation projects, including captive breeding programs were successful in staving off extinction and growing the populations, however research last year uncovered an alarming fact. The Amur wild tiger population shows very little genetic diversity, due to their small numbers and isolation, which means in the future they could be subject to diseases caused by inbreeding. The effective population, or number of individuals with genetic diversity, was only 27 to 35 tigers for the main population living in Russia. A second population of twenty living in China was shown to have an effective population of 2.8 to 11.

The genetic diversity research is very important on its own, but a new development had threatened to put more pressure on wild Siberian Tigers. The Russian government announced plans to auction logging rights to begin cutting down trees in Siberian tiger habitat. Logging was also scheduled for Sredneussuriysky Nature Reserve, which was reported to be the last natural wild corridor of habitat for the tigers which links their populations in Russia and China. The World Wildlife Fund protested via a press conference, and the media ran news stories about the plan for logging in the endangered cat’s shrinking habitat. So far their pressure has kept the logging at bay. One never knows exactly in such cases, if the project has been halted temporarily or permanently as not much information has come out since the cancellation.

The halting of the logging is a victory for environmentalists and tiger supporters. Some of them will be traveling to Russia soon to attend the Tiger Preservation Summit in St. Petersburg. Officials from countries where the tigers live are planning to attend the conference in order to share information and strategize about how to continue protecting them. There has been some speculation fewer representatives of the countries will attend due to being offended by the near logging of the imperiled animals habitat.

Just this past August, China and Russia came to an agreement which created a protected area linking the two isolated tiger populations. “This agreement is a great boost for Amur tiger habitats in Russia and China. Since both countries play a crucial role in terms of global tiger recovery, a future transboundary network would represent a big step in WWF’s global tiger conservation effort,” said Dr. Sergey Aramilev, Biodiversity Coordinator for Amur Branch of WWF-Russia. (Source: WWF.org)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tiger summit offers ‘last chance’

Last 13 countries with wild tigers to meet in St Petersburg, as deforestation and poaching push animal to extinction

Leaders of the few remaining countries where tigers are still found in the wild are preparing for a make-or-break summit in Russia, which they believe offers the last chance to save the critically endangered animal.

The Global Tiger Summit in St Petersburg next month will bring together the 13 countries that still have wild tigers, along with conservation organisations, in an attempt to thrash out a global recovery plan. Britain and the US are also being urged to attend.

The WWF (formerly the World Wide Fund for Nature) says it is optimistic about the summit’s chances of success, but warns that failure will lead to the extinction of the tiger across much of Asia. The draft communique for the summit, seen by the Observer, notes that in the past decade tiger numbers worldwide have fallen by 40% and warns that “Asia’s most iconic animal faces imminent extinction in the wild”.

It concludes: “By the adoption of this, the St Petersburg Declaration, the tiger range countries of the world call upon the international community to join us in turning the tide and setting the tiger on the road to recovery.”

The challenge was illustrated clearly last week when hidden camera footage showed the destruction of part of the Sumatran tigers’ Indonesian forest home to make way for illegal palm oil plantations. Meanwhile, in Singapore undercover officers seized several tiger skins that had been advertised for sale online.

Organisers of the summit, which is backed by the World Bank, hope agreements can be reached that will lead to a doubling of tiger numbers by 2022. But some conservationists fear it is already too late and the summit will be another talking shop that fails to deliver results.

Tiger numbers worldwide have collapsed from an estimated 100,000 over the past century, due to poaching and human encroachment. It is now thought there are no more than 3,200 tigers in the wild, of which only about 1,000 are breeding females. The situation is so critical that four of the 13 countries attending the summit – China, Vietnam, Cambodia and North Korea – no longer have viable breeding populations, according to a study released last month.

The study – produced by researchers from Cambridge University, the World Bank and the US-based Wildlife Conservation Society – concluded that “current approaches to tiger conservation are not slowing the decline in tiger numbers, which has continued unabated over the last two decades”.

It recommended that, rather than trying to save all the remaining tigers, governments should concentrate on sites that provided the most realistic chance of supporting a breeding population. “Conflict with local people needs to be mitigated. We argue that such a shift in emphasis would reverse the decline of wild tigers and do so in a rapid and cost-efficient manner.”

The study will have made uncomfortable reading for the host nation. It found there had been a “dramatic decline” in tiger numbers in the Russian far east over the past five years – understood to be about a 15% drop – which it associated with a decline in anti-poaching enforcement.

The Siberian tiger – also known as the Amur tiger – nearly went extinct in the middle of the last century, when numbers fell below 50, but there are now thought to be more than 400 left in the wild. Suggestions that numbers have dipped again will not have pleased Russia’s prime minister, Vladimir Putin, who will be hosting the summit and who has been keen to portray himself as a rugged protector of the animals.

In 2008 he accepted a tiger cub as a birthday present (the donor was never disclosed) and in the same year was at the centre of an extraordinary drama when it was claimed that he shot an Amur tiger with a tranquilliser dart to save the lives of a television crew. The team had been filming him taking part in a conservation exercise when the animal apparently broke free and charged.

But not only Russia is struggling to save the tiger. Earlier this year the Observer revealed how India’s tiger population remained in decline, with some conservationists estimating that only 800 remained in the wild, significantly fewer than the official claim of 1,411.

Events in India in recent weeks have demonstrated just how great the challenge is. In the Panna reserve, which had to be restocked from other national parks last year, two young tigers have gone missing and are presumed dead. The human-tiger conflict for land was illustrated when three people in Uttar Pradesh, just 150km from the national capital Delhi, were attacked in an area not previously associated with tigers.

In Indonesia, a hidden WWF camera shot footage of a rare Sumatran tiger in the forests of Bukit Betabuh. Later, the same camera filmed a bulldozer clearing the area – apparently for a palm oil plantation – and then recorded the tiger returning to the scene of devastation.

But despite the gloomy picture the summit’s backers remain optimistic. Diane Walkington, the WWF’s head of species programme in the UK, said that considerable progress had already been made to sketch out a global recovery plan and to concentrate the minds of politicians on the problem.

“Tiger numbers can recover, but you can never take your eye off the ball,” she said. “We are down to 3,200 and that is a really low number.” The solution, she said, was international co-operation to tackle issues such as smuggling. She cited deals between China and Nepal as an example of how that can bear dividends. But she warned that, with numbers so low, the tiger would not get another chance. “I think that if this is not a success we will see tigers going extinct in much of Asia,” she said.

Some conservationists worry that the summit is more about politicians wanting to be seen to be doing something, rather than tackling the issues on the ground, such as the encroachment into tigers’ traditional territory by poor farmers in search of land.

Aditya Singh, a conservationist and wildlife photographer who spends much of his time among the tigers of India’s Ranthambore national park, said previous summits had involved a group of leaders seeking answers to a problem they did not understand.

“There is little or no ground-level representation. As a result, the real practical problems never get highlighted,” he said. “There is no link between field workers and conservation leaders. They do not even know each other’s problems and the conservation efforts are not co-ordinated. Kind of like the climate summit.”

The “tiger range” countries attending the conference are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.

* Endangered species

* Animals

* Wildlife

* Conservation

* Deforestation

* Forests

Gethin Chamberlain

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010
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Friday, October 1, 2010

WWF tiger t-shirts cause wearers to be shot

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) launched a campaign against the shooting of Siberian Tigers in Russia. The charity didn’t just rely on pamphlets and traditional PR campaigns, though. Instead it turned to augmented reality through the use of specially designed t-shirts with tiger shaped drawings.

The t-shirts were distributed offline and online. Offline the t-shirts could be tried on in clothing stores throughout Russia. When the wearer stepped in front of a special mirror an animation was triggered which demonstrated what it would be like to be shot like a Siberian Tiger. Those who bought t-shirts online could access a special website which would allow the wearer to use their webcam to activate the animation.

The campaign was supported by Russian celebrities and led to 200,000 people signing up against the shooting of the Siberian Tiger.

Unfortunately, exactly these t-shirts from these video are still not possible to buy online, even though they announced that it is available online.You can buy some WWF ( World Wildlife Foundation) t-shirts on Amazon, such as: Growling White Tiger T-shirt,  Blue Eyed White Tiger T-shirt or  any other WWF t-shirt.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mother tigers pass down territory to their daughters

For female Amur tigers, defending your territory is not just about acquiring enough food to survive; it's also about passing down real estate to your daughter.

As described by a team of scientists led by the Wildlife Conservation Society's John Goodrich in the latest issue of the Journal of Mammalogy, a 14-year study of Amur tigers in eastern Russia's Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Zapovednik has shown that male and female tigers establish home ranges of different sizes for different reasons. After capturing and radio-collaring 32 individual tigers (adults and cubs), the team of Russian and American scientists was able to determine that male tigers maintained very large territories (about 1,385 square kilometers) which encompassed the home ranges of several females (about 390 square kilometers).

A map of Amur tiger home ranges between 1992-1997. Solid areas marked "F" designate females and dashed lines marked "M" designate males. From Goodrich et al, 2010.

The disparity in territory size was not much of a surprise. Among solitary big cats, males often have larger home ranges than females, and the reason for this difference between the sexes has to do with the different life strategies of male and female Amur tigers. Whereas young male tigers typically leave the home territory of their mother in an attempt to find a vacancy and gain access to as many females as possible, females stake out their territories based upon the resources they can provide for them and their cubs (thus their home ranges can be much smaller).

What intrigued the scientists, however, was that the home ranges of female Amur tigers contracted when they had female cubs, with their daughters taking up residence in the vacant areas. This favored the future reproductive success of the young tigresses as they did not have to face the risks usually encountered by individuals which try to establish themselves elsewhere (and often become victims of poachers). As the authors of the paper state, it appears that the adult female tigers in their study defended larger territories than they actually needed to survive, and by passing down a portion of this land to their daughters they enhanced the potential success of their offspring while mitigating competition for the same resources.

Yet, as the scientists saw firsthand, poaching can disrupt the matrilineal inheritance of territory among Amur tigers. During the early years of their study - from 1997 to 2000 - all but two of the radiocollared tigers living within the Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Zapovednik were killed by hunters. The vacancies were filled by a mix of "immigrant" animals from other areas and individuals which were related to those which had been poached, but, even after a new population became established, it took five years before a mother tiger passed down territory to her female offspring.

The spatial patterning of tigers over time detected by Goodrich and colleagues may very well complicate tiger recovery plans. If there is a large area of land in which tigers were nearly eliminated (as was the case in this study), the new tiger population will not quickly rebound to its maximum capacity. Instead female tigers which move into vacancies will defend larger territories than they require until they pass down some of that area to their daughters, and during this time the tiger population might be more susceptible to poaching as a smaller number of animals will be occupying an area which could actually support many more. But this news isn't all bad. If tigers can be successfully protected long enough for adult animals to become established, the population size and density can potentially double when the next generation of female tigers mark out their own territories within those initially carved out by their mothers. Given enough time, the tattered remnants of a tiger population can begin to recover.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Suddenly born tiger cubs at the intensive care

When zookeepers arrived at work on Tuesday morning, they were surprised to see two tiny tiger cubs in the enclosure.

They were even more surprised to see the mother struggling to care for her litter.

But keepers gave the first-time mother her space and watched as the moments after the births unfolded on a TV screen, rather than interfere with Katja.

Although one cub died soon after and the other is fighting for her life in the Calgary Zoo's intensive care, officials wouldn't have done anything differently.

"It's always our desire to have the cubs mother-raised," Sandie Black, chief veterinarian at the zoo, said Wednesday. "The best way of ensuring that is to give her privacy and keep things as calm and normal as possible."

The 10-year-old cat didn't nurse her young and carried one kitten in her mouth, which is likely how it died.

Once keepers noticed the cubs becoming less active and the mother moved away from them, they went in to check on their condition.

The surviving female has put on weight since Tuesday, but will remain in an incubator for another week or two.

An expert on captive tigers said surprise pregnancies, cubs dying at birth and inexperienced mothers are all common issues for the carnivore.

"I've heard from many people who say isn't it too bad a cub died," said Ron Tilson, director of the Species Survival Plan that oversees all tigers held in captivity across North America. "But what's really great is that one survived."

In the wild and in captivity, one in three newborn tigers die at birth, said Tilson from Minnesota. Often, as appears to be the case with Katja, the death results from mishandling by the mother.

"Probably a third of all inexperienced females with their first litter, they mess up in one way or another," said Tilson. "They either don't let the cubs nurse, they don't have milk let down, or they're too fretful and they're moving around too much. They don't lie still and let the cubs really latch on.

"This is absolutely not uncommon."

The Species Survival Plan has been operating since 1987, and in that time, the program has overseen more than 400 tiger births. Tilson said he knows of at least six cases where a tiger pregnancy went undetected until the cubs were born.

"I know of at least half a dozen, if not more, cases that I got calls from very experienced zookeepers who I knew who said, 'I can't believe it, but we just had cubs this morning,' " said Tilson.

Katja weighs about 136 kilograms and each cub weighed less than 909 grams at birth -- the low end of the normal range -- meaning the mother's appearance wouldn't have changed, said Tilson. And zookeepers say the behaviour of pregnant tigers changes little over the gestation period.

It was through the program Tilson oversees that a nine-year-old male named Baikal was moved to Calgary from the Bronx Zoo in New York in January.

It was hoped he would mate with Katja and produce cubs, but with arthritis in his hips, several attempts under the careful watch of zookeepers proved unsuccessful.

Baikal underwent surgery to relieve the pain in his hips in late May -- around the time impregnation would've had to have occurred for Katja to give birth Tuesday. Gestation in tigers is typically 90 to 110 days.

"Keepers observed lots of attempts, but nothing even close to a successful breeding," said Black.

"In many ways, this was a surprise."

The unexpected birth comes less than three months after the release of a scathing report suggesting the zoo has system-wide problems, including poor staff morale and a high number of human-related animal deaths.

Zoocheck, an animal-rights activist organization, criticized the zoo over Katja's unnoticed pregnancy and dead cub, saying more attention should be focused on habitat conservation rather than breeding.

But Tilson said the whole point of the Species Survival Program is to protect the tiger gene pool for potential reintroduction into the wild.

It's believed there are less than 300 Siberian tigers -- actually known as Amur tigers -- living in the far east of Russia along the Amur River. The numbers have been declining in the past two decades due to poaching.

There are 137 Amur tigers in captivity among 262 tigers kept in 206 zoos across North America.

The number of Amur tigers in the wild may have to be bolstered soon, probably by first allowing young tigers into the area with their captive mothers nearby. The young tigers would have to be trained to hunt.

"There's talks about that in Russia right now," said Tilson.

"It hasn't ever been attempted in any way, but there has been a lot of thinking about it in a number of places across Asia because tigers are disappearing everywhere."

The most recent news:

Unfortunately, despite enormous efforts of people in the Calgary zoo, two tigress did not survive, luckily the third tigress is good and chances are it will survive.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Calgary Zoo tiger has chest infection

Kita, one of the Calgary Zoo's Siberian tigers, is suffering from a serious chest infection, officials said Thursday.

Earlier this week, keepers noticed that Kita, a 15-year-old female, was lethargic and not eating.

Veterinarians at the zoo's animal health centre extracted more than a litre of fluid from the tiger's chest cavity, raising concerns that she had cancer, the zoo said in statement.

Preliminary blood tests did not indicate Kita is suffering from cancer.

Kita was put back in the tiger enclosure Thursday, and her appetite has returned. Animal care staff are continuing to monitor her closely.

It is not known what caused the infection but it is not contagious, officials added.

"Kita normally shows a dislike for the veterinary staff, which we take with good humour, and when she was not her feisty self when seeing me, I knew something wasn't right," said Dr. Doug Whiteside, the zoo's senior veterinarian.

Kita has had many health problems — stemming from a nervous disorder — since arriving from the Toronto Zoo in 1996.

Kita gave birth to four cubs 10 years ago, with three of them moving to other zoos.

One of the females, Katja, is still at the Calgary Zoo. In 2007, Kita gave birth to a male, Vitali, who also remains in Calgary.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Siberian tiger drawing

In the Studio with Art by Nature - Watch the Artist show with Gisele Grenier. Peek over Gisele's shoulder while she paints this nine month old White Siberian Tiger in pastels from her studio. In the live sessions, she chats with viewers and shares quirky events and ideas happening in her life. Nothing is edited out.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Meeting with nature: A tigers tale

The Siberian tiger is called the soul of the taiga by the hunters and shamans of the Primorskiy region. For them its a sacred animal which is the incarnation of their ancestors spirits. Tigers have been inhabiting the deep forests of Primorskiy region for centuries and managed to avoid the hunters gun. But the constant encroachment of civilisation upon the taiga puts these exquisite creatures in danger of total extinction. Siberian tigers, their survival and people who are trying to protect tigers from dying out are the focus of the next installment of the Meeting with Nature series.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Siberian Tiger Conservation Foundation Expose

Tigers in your neighbor's backyard are still a problem in the US. Watch what these reporters discovered about Diana McCourt's Siberian Tiger Conservation Foundation.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What you can do to save tigers...

This does not apply only to tigers..to wildlife, for all our endangered wild animals. shall expand this list...

Speak up for tigers: They can’t. Be their ambassador, amongst your family, friends, social circle, colleagues. Let them know that tigers are on the brink of extinction, why, and how they can help. Write to editors urging them to highlight the urgency to save tigers. Let them know readers care. Write to MPs, ministers.

Your profession as a weapon: What do you do? Are you a teacher? Then you can influence your students in the cause. One teacher in Sriram School in Delhi has made all the difference, and students in her school help raise funds for rehabilitating traditional hunting communities around Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. If you are a lawyer, you could use your legal skills in fighting cases ie. say a specific wildlife crime case, or against a road that is going to cut through tiger habitat. As a concerned citizen, you could file a PIL. Use the RTI Act to find out more. A web designer could generate websites for local NGOs who may lack the skills to communicate to the world. The avenues are endless, you need to find them.

Donate your time, and money: Volunteer with NGOs—find out NGOs and see how you can volunteer with them towards the cause. And you could donate money—identify what you would like your money to be best used for.

Save resources: Everything that you use could impact the tiger’s habitat. The water that overflows from taps left on or leaking pipes depletes ground water. Paper is from trees, so is the wood in your house. Plastics clog and degrade habitat. Electricity may be generated from thermal plants that encroach on tiger habitat, and the steel on your table, and diamonds originate in mines that devastate tiger habitat. Minimise your use. Conserve resources.

Be a responsible tourist: Remember, you are guest in the tiger’s home, behave like one. Don’t chase the tiger. Enjoy the wilderness—don’t leave litter. Be quite, obey rules. Leave not even your footprint...

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Saving the tiger means saving mankind..

Not only is tiger a beautiful animal but it is also the indicator of the forest's health. Saving the tiger means we save the forest since tiger cannot live in places where trees have vanished and in turn secure food and water for all.

If we make sure tigers live, we have to make sure that deer, antelope and all other animals that the tiger eats (its prey base) live. To make sure that these herbivores live, we must make sure that all the trees, grass and other plants that these prey animals need for food are protected. In this way, the whole forest gets saved! Saving the tiger means saving its entire forest kingdom with all the other animals in it.

Also forests catch and help store rainwater and protect soils. In this way we protect our rivers and recharge groundwater sources. Areas with less trees lead to floods, killing people and destroying homes. It takes away the precious soil, leaving behind a wasteland. The soil jams up our lakes and dams, reducing their ability to store water. By destroying the tiger's home, we not only harm tigers, but also ourselves.

The tiger thus becomes the symbol for the protection of all species on our earth since it is at the top of the food chain. This is why we sometimes call the tiger, an apex predator, an indicator of our ecosystem's health

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Tiger Poem by William Blake

Tiger Tiger burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye.
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat.
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp.
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears
And watered heaven with their tears:
Did he smile His work to see?
Did he who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger Tiger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Poem about tiger cub

She stood on the edge

overlooking the valley.

Her elegant frame silhouetted

in the moonlit night.

Her intense eyes,

Pregnant with grief and pain.

Her gaze,

Penetrating into the quite lugubrious abyss.

The maelstrom inside her,

resounding in the stillness of the night.

Nothing is moving, not even the dewdrops

hanging precariously from the leaves.

A small cub rests in peace

cuddled between her paws.

It’s body cold as ice.

They had been there together

just one night

both mother and child.

Slowly she slumps beside the lifeless child

and licks the furry body.

Tucking it closer with her paws

she embraces it for One last time.

The forest watches quiescent.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Javan Tiger

The Javan tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica) was limited to the Indonesian island of Java. It now seems likely that this subspecies became extinct in the 1980s, as a result of hunting and habitat destruction, but the extinction of this subspecies was extremely probable from the 1950s onwards (when it is thought that fewer than 25 tigers remained in the wild). The last confirmed specimen was sighted in 1979, but there were a few reported sightings during the 1990s. With a weight of 100–141 kg for males and 75–115 kg for females, the Javan tiger was one of the smaller subspecies, approximately the same size as the Sumatran tiger.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bali Tiger

The Bali Tiger (Panthera tigris balica) was limited to the island of Bali. They were the smallest of all tiger subspecies, with a weight of 90–100 kg in males and 65–80 kg in females. These tigers were hunted to extinction—the last Balinese tiger is thought to have been killed at Sumbar Kima, West Bali on 27 September 1937, this was an adult female. No Balinese tiger was ever held in captivity. The tiger still plays an important role in Balinese Hinduism.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

South China Tiger

The South China Tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis), also known as the Amoy or Xiamen tiger, most endangered tiger subspecies and even big cats species in the world, and is listed as one of the 10 most endangered animals in the world.

One of the smaller species of tiger, the length of the South China tiger ranges from 2.2–2.6 m (87–100 in) for both males and females. Males weigh between 127 and 177 kg (280 and 390 lb) while females weigh between 100 and 118 kg (220 and 260 lb).

From 1983 to 2007, no South China tigers were sighted. In 2007 a farmer spotted a tiger and handed in photographs to the authorities as proof. The photographs in question, however, were later exposed as fake, copied from a Chinese calendar and photoshopped, and the “sighting” turned into a massive scandal.

1977 Chinese authorities have passed a law that prohibits the hunting of wild tirove, but this may be have too late to save this tigers subspecies, since it is possible that they are already extinct in the wild. There are currently 59 known captive South China tigers, all within China, but these are known to be descended from only six animals. Thus, the genetic diversity required to maintain the subspecies may no longer exist. Currently, there are breeding efforts to reintroduce these tigers to the wild.

The main reason for their extinction is excessive hunting, for the purpose of traditional Chinese medicine. Unfortunately, tiger body parts are still used in Chinese medicine, and the government is poorly controlled this branch of medicine.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sumatran tiger

The Sumatran Tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) liv only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and are extremely endangered.

It is the smallest of all living tiger subspecies, adult males in the wild reach a weight between 100–140 kg (220–310 lb), and females 75–110 kg (170–240 lb). Their small size is adaptation to the thick, dense forests of the island of Sumatra, where they live, as well as the smaller-sized prey.

Estimated population in the wild is between 400 and 500, seen chiefly in the island's national parks. Recent genetic research has shown the presence of unique genetic markers, indicating that it may develop into a separate species, if it does not go extinct. This has led to suggestions that Sumatran tigers should have greater priority for conservation than any other subspecies.

While habitat destruction is the main threat to existing tiger population (logging continues even in the supposedly protected national parks), 66 tigers were recorded as being shot and killed between 1998 and 2000, or nearly 20% of the total population.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Malayan Tiger

The Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni), exclusively found in the southern part of the Malay Peninsula, was not considered a subspecies in its own right until 2004. The new classification came about after a study by Luo et al. from the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity Study, part of the National Cancer Institute of the United States. Recent counts showed there are 600–800 tigers in the wild, making it the third largest tiger population, behind the Bengal tiger and the Indochinese tiger. The Malayan tiger is the smallest of the mainland tiger subspecies, and the second smallest living subspecies, with males averaging about 120 kg and females about 100 kg in weight. The Malayan tiger is a national icon in Malaysia, appearing on its coat of arms and in logos of Malaysian institutions, such as Maybank.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Indochinese Tiger

The Indochinese Tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti), also called Corbett's tiger, can be found at: Cambodia, China, Laos, Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam. These tigers are similar but darker from their closest relatives Bengali tigers. Males weigh from 150–190 kg (330–420 lb) while females are smaller at 110–140 kg (240–310 lb). The most commonly inhabit the mountain forests and highlands. Estimated population of Indochinese tigers varies between 1200 to 1800, and in the wild they were only a few hundred. All existing populations are at extreme risk from poaching, prey depletion as a result of poaching of primary prey species such as deer and wild pigs, habitat fragmentation and inbreeding. In Vietnam, almost three-quarters of the tigers killed provide stock for Chinese pharmacies. Due to frequent wars, no one controls the poachers, for the same reason no one dares to check what is the actual number of tigers in the wild, and as it stands will not even know soon.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bengal Tiger

Bengal Tiger or Royal Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is the most common subspecies of tiger in the world, and mostly live in India and Bangladesh. They adapted to life in a variety of habitats: grasslands, subtropical and tropical rainforests, scrub forests, wet and dry deciduous forests, and mangroves.

Males in the wild usually reach the weight of 205 to 227 kg (450 to 500 lb), while females average weight is about 141 kg (300 lb). However, the northern Indian and the Nepalese Bengal tigers are somewhat bulkier than those found in the south of the Indian Subcontinent, with males averaging around 235 kilograms (520 lb).

While conservationists already believed the population in the wild to be below 2000, the most recent audit by the Indian Government's National Tiger Conservation Authority, estimated that there were only 1411 wild tigers (1165–1657 allowing for statistical error), that their number decreased by 60 percent in past decade.

Since 1972, there has been a massive wildlife conservation project, , known as Project Tiger, to protect the Bengal tiger. Despite increased efforts by the Indian officials, poaching remains a major problem, and at least one Tiger Reserve (Sariska Tiger Reserve) has lost its entire tiger population to poaching. The main problem is the rapidly-expanding population of Inije, which occupies the tiger habitat, tigers so often come into conflict with people, of course people killed them because of fear for their lives.

Friday, May 14, 2010

White Siberian tiger

White tigers are not a separate tiger species nor the subspecies, they are the result of rare mutations that are passed from the normal orange tigers. People usually associated white tigers with Siberian tigers, because Siberian tigers inhabit snowy landscapes, and their white fur serves as camouflage. The truth however is that Siberian tigers are orange like all other tiger subspecies. It's even thought that their fur adjusted somewhat to snowy areas where they hunt.

The existence of white Siberian tigers in fact never been proven, in facts of Siberian tigers population may not even carry a white fur gene. When the white Siberian tiger is born, he is probably the result of a previous mating with a white Bengal tiger, which was caused to Siberian parents carry a gene of white fur. It is known that Bengal tigers carry the genes of white fur.

There is however several reports of sightings of white Siberian tiger from the region inhabited by normal orange Siberian tiger, but nothing have been scientifically determined yet. Hopefully, future DNA testing can tell us whether or not a pure Siberian tiger can carry the gene for white fur. This would show us whether two pure Siberian tiger parents can produce a white Siberian tiger or not. A DNA testing project would however face a great challenge: a large portion of the Siberian tiger population has already been eradicated. Which genes those tigers carried, and how diverse the Siberian tiger gene pool once were, we might never find out.

White tigers are sometimes mistakenly replaced as albino tigers, but it's not quite correct term. White Bengal tigers have black or brown stripes and the reports of white Siberian tiger from the wild all speak of clearly striped Siberian white tiger. If they really albino, they would not have any stripes at all. A pure Siberian white tiger would have brown stripes on a creamy white background. Since the white Siberian tigers bred in captivity is the result of a mixture of Bengal and Siberian heritage, it can have black stripes as well. The eyes of the Bengal and Siberian white tiger are blue and the nose is of a pink shade.

Since the gene for white fur is recessive in tigers, Both parents must carry a gene in order to produce a white tiger cub. Since such a mating extremely rare, white tigers are rarely seen in the wild. Humans have however selectively bred white tigers from parents known to carry the gene and they are therefore quite common in captivity. White Bengal and white Siberian tigers are not included in the official tiger breeding programs for conservational purposes. They can however help their orange coloured relatives by making people more interested in tigers and willing to set aside resources for the protection of the wild tiger population. One example is the famous white Siberian tiger Taj. Just like the other bred in captivity white Siberian tigers, and he also has an Bengal ancestor. Taj was born in 1984, at the Henry Doorly Zoo. After two years, he moved to the National Zoo (Smithsonian Institution).

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Releasing Siberian Tiger in China

Siberian tiger park in Harbin, northeast China. Scientists are trying to save siberian tigers and send tigers back to their former homeland. Harbin siberian park has over 800 siberian tigers and is the biggest of world.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Russia-Iran Re-population project

Iranian  and Russian ecologists are planning a joint project to return Caspian Tigers and Asiatic Cheetahs to the wild in Central Asia. These big cats became extirpated some half a century ago - the Asiatic Cheetah from Russia and Caspian Tiger from Iran. Recent genetic studies have shown that the Amur (or Russian) Tiger is related and virtually identical to the extinct Caspian Tigers; thus, the Russians want to offer the Amur Tiger to Iran to repopulate the Caspian Tiger range in northern Iran. In exchange, Russia wants to acquire from Iran some critically endangered Asiatic Cheetahs to repopulate northern Caucasus region of central Asia, their last abode. There are many more Amur Tigers in the wild than the tiny numbers of surviving Asiatic Cheetah, and while there is a healthy population of Russian Tiger in the captive breeding program in zoos, there is no captive breeding population of the Asiatic Cheetah in any zoo. While discussing the prospects of reintroducing the cheetah in India, cheetah experts the world over have warned that no individuals from the critically low Asiatic Cheetah population in Iran should be withdrawn at this stage for any reintroduction experiment elsewhere, like the one proposed by Russia in exchange for relatively much more abundant Amur Tiger, since the limited gene pool of Asiatic Cheetah in Iran will suffer a tremendous blow.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Siberian tigers attacks on humans

Unlike the Bengal tiger, the Siberian tiger very rarely becomes a man-eater. Several cases of attacks on humans were recorded in the 19th century, occurring usually in central Asia (excluding Turkmenistan), Kazakhstan and the Far East. Siberian tigers were historically rarely considered dangerous unless provoked, though in the lower reaches of Syr-Darya, a tiger reportedly killed a woman collecting firewood and an unarmed military officer in the June period whilst passing through reed thickets. Attacks on shepherds were recorded in the lower reaches of Ili. In the Far East, during the middle and third quarter of the 19th century, attacks on man were recorded. In 1867 on the Tsymukha River, tigers killed 21 men and injured 6 others. In China's Jilin Province, tigers reportedly attacked woodsmen and coachmen, and occasionally entering cabins and dragging out both adults and children. According to the Japanese Police Bureau in Korea, in 1928, a tiger claimed only one human victim, unlike leopards which claimed three, wild boars four and wolves 48. Only six cases were recorded in 20th century Russia of unprovoked attacks leading to man-eating behaviour. Provoked attacks are however more common, usually the result of botched attempts at capturing them.

In an incident at the San Francisco Zoo on 25 December 2007, a Siberian tiger named Tatiana escaped and killed one visitor, injuring two others. The animal was shot dead by the police. The zoo was widely criticized for maintaining only a 12½ ft (3.8m) fence around the tiger enclosure, while the international standard is 16 ft. (4.8m). The zoo subsequently erected a taller barrier topped by an electric fence. The police say that one of the victims admitted to taunting the animal.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Siberian Tiger Captivity

The captive population of Siberian tigers comprises several hundred. A majority of these tigers live in eastern Russia's birch forests, though some exist in China and North Korea.

The large, distinctive and powerful cats are popular zoo exhibits. The Siberian tiger is bred under the auspices of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), in a project based on 83 tigers captured in the wild. According to most experts, this population is large enough to stay stable and genetically healthy. Today, approximately 160 Siberian tigers participate in the SSP, which makes it the most extensively bred tiger subspecies within the program. There are currently no more than around 255 tigers in the tiger SSP from three different subspecies. Developed in 1982, the Species Survival Plan for the Siberian tiger is the longest running program for a tiger subspecies. It has been very fortunate and productive, and the breeding program for the Siberian tiger has actually been used as a good example when new programs have been designed to save other animal species from extinction.

The Siberian tiger is not very difficult to breed in captivity, but the possibility of survival for animals bred in captivity released into the wild is small. Conservation efforts that secure the wild population are therefore still imperative. If a captive bred Siberian tiger were to be released into the wild, it would lack the necessary hunting skills and starve to death. Captive bred tigers can also approach humans and villages, since they have learned to associate humans with feeding and lack the natural shyness of the wild tigers. In a worst-case scenario, the starving tigers could even become man-eaters. Since tigers must be taught how to hunt by their mothers when they are still cubs, a program that aimed to release captive bred Siberian tigers into the wild would create great difficulties.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Extinction of western populations

Until the 19th century, Siberian tigers (formerly known in their western range as Caspian tigers) still inhabited wide spaces of Western and Central Asia. In the mid-1800s, Caspian tigers were killed 180 km northeast of Atbara, Kazakhstan and near Barnaul, Russia (Ognev 1935, Mazák 1981). The only reported Caspian tiger from Iraq was killed near Mosul in 1887 (Kock 1990). In 1899, the last Caspian tiger near the Lop Nur basin in Xinjiang, China, was killed (Ognev 1935). Caspian tigers disappeared from the Tarim River basin in Xinjiang, China, by the 1920s. (Nowell & Jackson 1996) In 1922, the last known tiger in the Caucasus region was killed near Tbilisi, Georgia, after killing domestic livestock (Ognev 1935). The last record of the Caspian tiger on the Ili River, their last stronghold in the region of Lake Balkhash, Kazakhstan, dates to 1948. (Nowell & Jackson 1996)

The Russian government had worked heavily to eradicate the Caspian tiger during planning a huge land reclamation program in the beginning of the 20th century. They considered there was no room for the tiger in their plans and so instructed the Russian army to exterminate all tigers found around the area of the Caspian Sea, a project that was carried out very efficiently. Once the extermination of the Caspian tiger was almost complete, the farmers cleared forests and planted crops like rice and cotton. Due to intensive hunting and deforestation, the Caspian tiger retreated first from the lush lowlands to the forested ranges, then to the marshes around some of the larger rivers, and finally, deeper into the mountains, until it almost certainly became extinct. In 1938, national park Tigrovaya Balka was opened in Tajik SSR to save Riparian forests and rare animals, including Caspian Tiger, but it didn't help the population of tigers. It was the last stronghold of the Caspian tiger in the Soviet Union. Tigrovaya Balka national park is situated in Tajikistan in the undercurrent of Vakhsh River between the Piandj and Kafirnighan near the border of Afghanistan. The last Caspian Tiger was seen there in 1958.

Some reports state that the last Caspian tiger was shot in Golestan National Park (Iran) or in Northern Iran in 1959 (Vuosalo 1976). However, other reports claim that the last Chinese Caspian tigers disappeared from the Manas River basin in the Tian Shan mountains, west of Ürümqi, China, in the 1960s. (Nowell & Jackson 1996) The last record from the lower reaches of the Amu Darya river near Lake Aral was an unconfirmed observation near Nukus in 1968 while tigers disappeared from the river’s lower reaches and the Pyzandh Valley once a stronghold, in the Turkmen-Uzbek-Afghan border region by the early 1970s (Heptner and Sludskii 1972). (Nowell & Jackson 1996) There are even claims of a documented killing of this subspecies at Uludere, Hakkari in Turkey during 1970 (Üstay 1990; Can 2004). Some reports even state that the final Caspian tiger was captured and killed in Northeast Afghanistan in 1997.

The most frequently quoted date is the late 1950s, but has almost no evidence to back it up. It appears this date came to be accepted after being quoted by H. Ziaie in "A Field Guide to the Mammals of Iran". Now, the most evidence reflects an even earlier date of extinction. The area of Iran that contained the last Caspian tigers was in fact the eastern region of Mazandaran, Northern Iran. According to E. Firouz in “A Guide to the Fauna of Iran, 1999”, the last tiger was killed in 1947 near Agh-Ghomish Village, 10 km East of Kalaleh, on the way to Minoodasht-Bojnoord. An exact date of extinction is unknown.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Siberian tiger history

The Tungusic people considered the Siberian tiger a near-deity and often referred to it as "Grandfather" or "Old man". The Udege and Nanai called it "Amba". The Manchu considered the Siberian tiger as Hu Lin, the king.  The most elite unit of the Chinese Imperial Army in Manchu Qing Dynasty is called Hu Shen Yin, literally The Tiger God Army.

In the early years of the Russian Civil War, both Red and White armies based in Vladivostok nearly wiped out the local Siberian tigers. In 1935, when the Manchurian Chinese were driven back across the Amur and the Ussuri, the tigers had already withdrawn from their northern and western range. The few that remained in the East Manchurian mountains were cut off from the main population by the building of railroads. Within a few years, the last viable Siberian tiger population was confined to Ussuriland. Legal tiger hunting within the Soviet Union would continue until 1947 when it was officially prohibited. In 1962, the last tiger in Heilongjiang received protection. In the mid 1980s, it was estimated that the Siberian tiger population consisted of approximately 250 animals.

In 1987, law and order almost entirely broke down due to the impending collapse of the Soviet Union. Subsequent illegal deforestation and bribery of park rangers made the poaching of Siberian tigers easier, once again putting the subspecies at risk from extinction. However due to the work of The Siberian Tiger Project, founded in 1992, the Siberian tiger has seen a steady recovery and stabilization after the disastrous post-Soviet years that saw its numbers decline sharply. The basis of the success has largely been on the meticulous research carried out on these tigers which led to the longest ongoing study of a single tiger, Olga Project Tiger #1. Through this the project was able to focus their conservation efforts to decrease tiger mortality and to improve the quality of their habitat as well. The project included anti-poaching patrols, consultation with local governments regarding human-tiger conflicts, reducing the occurrences of clearcut logging, and other habitat depletion activities.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Interspecific predatory relationships

Asian Black Bears and Ussuri Brown Bears constitute 5-8% of the Siberian tiger's diet. The brown bear's input is estimated to be 1-1.5%. Certain tigers have been reported to imitate the calls of Asiatic black bears to attract them. Brown bears are typically attacked by tigers more often than black bears, due to their habit of living in more open areas and their inability to climb trees. When hunting bears, tigers will position themselves from the leeward side of a rock or fallen tree, waiting for the bear to pass by. When the bear passes, the tiger will spring from an overhead position and grab the bear from under the chin with one forepaw and the throat with the other. The immobilized bear is then killed with a bite to the spinal column. After killing a bear, the tiger will concentrate its feeding on the bear's fat deposits, such as the back, hams and groin. Tiger attacks on bears tend to occur when ungulate populations decrease. While tigers can successfully hunt bears, there are also records of brown bears killing tigers, either in disputes over prey or in self defense, and in at least one instance, of a bear consuming a tiger. There have been observations of bears that changed their path after coming across tiger trails, as well as of bears following tiger tracks with no signs of fear and sleeping in the same den. However, despite the threat of predation, some brown bears actually benefit from the tiger's presence by appropriating tiger kills that the bears may not be able to successfully hunt themselves, as they usually dominate these disputes over kills.

In areas where wolves and tigers share ranges, the two species typically display a great deal of dietary overlap, resulting in intense competition. Wolf and tiger interactions are well documented in Sikhote-Alin, which until the beginning of the 20th century, held very few wolves. It is thought by certain experts that wolf numbers increased in the region after tigers were largely eliminated during the Russian colonization in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This is corroborated by native inhabitants of the region claiming that they had no memory of wolves inhabiting Sikhote-Alin until the 1930s, when tiger numbers decreased. Tigers depress wolf numbers, either to the point of localized extinction or to such low numbers as to make them a functionally insignificant component of the ecosystem. Wolves appear capable of escaping competitive exclusion from tigers only when human pressure decreases tiger numbers. Today wolves are considered scarce in tiger inhabited areas, being found in scattered pockets, and usually seen travelling as loners or in small groups. First hand accounts on interactions between the two species indicate that tigers occasionally chase wolves from their kills, while wolves will scavenge from tiger kills. Tigers are not known to prey on wolves, though there are four records of tigers killing wolves without consuming them. This competitive exclusion of wolves by tigers has been used by Russian conservationists to convince hunters in the Far East to tolerate the big cats, as they limit ungulate populations less than wolves, and are effective in controlling wolf numbers.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dietary habits

In the southeast Trans-Caucasus, the Siberian tiger's main prey was Wild Boar, though it occasionally fed on Roe Deer, Red Deer and domestic animals such as dogs, pigs, sheep, and cattle in winter. Tigers in Iran ate the same species with the addition of gazelle. The Siberian Tiger's prey in Turkmenia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan was primarily boar, as well as Bactrian deer. In the lower Amu Darya River, tigers sometimes preyed on Golden Jackals, Jungle Cats, lynx, and dholes. On the Zhana-Darya and around the Aral Sea in Kazakhstan, as well as boar, the tiger fed on Saiga, Goitered Gazelle, Wild horses, Mongolian Wild Ass and Argali. In Tajikistan and other regions of central Asia, as well as Kazakhstan, tigers frequently attacked dogs, horses and rarely Bactrian Camels. In Baikal, the Siberian tiger fed on Wild Boar, Roe Deer, Manchurian wapiti, Moose and livestock.

In the Amur region, the tiger preys primarily on Red Deer and Wild Boar, which make up 65-90% of its diet in the Russian Far East. Other important prey species are Manchurian wapiti, Moose, Siberian Roe Deer, Sika Deer, Musk deer and goral. It will also take smaller prey like lagomorphs (hares, rabbits, and pikas) and fish, including salmon. Tigers may prey on both Brown and Black Bears when ungulate populations decrease.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

In the shadow of the Siberian tiger

This is the first part of a total of five video documentaries dedicated to conservation of the Siberian tiger.In this documentary you will see how the team of Russian and American scientists trying to understand this remarkable animals.Siberian tigers are the largest cats in the world, but now one of the most endangered animals in the world.This is the first of five youtube videos, see all five videos, and you to will be concerned for the preservation of these amazing animals.

Part one:

Part two:

Part three:

Part four:

Part five: