Wednesday, September 28, 2016

By, J.E. Rogers

What immortal hand or eye
Could frame they fearful symmetry?
William Blake

Is it too much to ask what kind of divine being could have ever conceived of or created such a magnificent creature? It’s enough to see one, to feel their power and experience their beauty and grace.

The tiger is one of the largest of all the ‘big cats,’ and the only one with strips. There are some subspecies of tiger, but the one I would like to focus on this week is the Amur Tiger, also known as the Siberian Tiger.

Photo credit: Monka Betley

The Amur Tiger can weigh anywhere between 360 to 660 pounds, and can grow up to ten feet in length. Hunting mainly at night, this stalk-ambush predator is a powerful carnivore capable of bringing down large prey. Although its principal prey is wild pigs and deer, it has been known to kill rhinos and small elephants.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, the tiger population has plummeted over the last century by 95%. The Amur Tiger is now considered critically endangered. Primary threats to their survival include poaching and habitat loss from logging and general human development. Hunters poach them for their body parts, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

The Amur Tiger inhabits the wild forests of far eastern Russia and China where they can survive temperatures as low as forty degrees below freezing. Their population in this area of the world represents the largest unfragmented group of tigers on the globe. At present, the population of tigers is less than 600 in the wild, but this is not their lowest point. In the 1940s, tigers were hunted to the brink of extinction with only forty adults remaining. Fortunately, the Amur Tiger was saved by the Russian government. Russia became the first country to grant the tiger full protection.

Map source: World Wildlife Federation

There’s more to it than just protecting the tiger by the Russian government. There is a population of people that depend on the forests of Russia to provide them with a meager living. The pine tree forests in which the tigers live produce a valuable commodity—the pine nut. People in these remote areas, gather the pine nuts to sell for shipment abroad. So fewer trees resulting from logging is not just a problem affecting the survival of the Amur Tiger, it’s a problem affecting human beings. Human effect on wildlife via abuse of the environment is not an unusual story, but one that we always hear about. We need to protect our environment for the good of all animals, including humans.

Photo credit: Kaitlyn R – (National Geographic-‘Your Shot’

As of this date, there is growing concern for the tiger populations, especially the Amur Tiger (Siberian Tiger). To read more about this issue and the ongoing efforts to protect this species, go to the following website:

Photo credit:

 It’s always good to hear from David Attenborough so let’s watch and listen.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Amur Tiger, visit the following websites:

Let’s hope that the Amur Tiger continues to survive in the wild.

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forest of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame they fearful symmetry?
William Blake

Thank you for visiting. Since I will be away next week, I do hope to see you again in two weeks’ time when we’ll look at another unusual animal.


Jeanne E. Rogers, Author
The Sword of Demelza, The Gift of Sunderland, and
One Hot Mess, a Child’s Environmental Fable
Award Winning Middle-Grade Fantasy, Where Endangered Animal Heroes Roam the Pages!

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