My endangered wildlife paintings are included in a special category to provide updated information about the protective support that is currently underway by major wildlife conservation partners.
The information about the Amur (Siberian) Tiger is from the official websites of WildAid (wildaid.org) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF – worldwildlife.org) who are protecting endangered wildlife. (Please see Artist’s Disclaimer at bottom.)
They roar, rumble, and purr.
Adult tigers have their own territory, which they fiercely protect. Male tigers can take up as much as 500 square kilometers (310 square miles) and allow 2-4 female tigers to live on their territory. They hunt alone and can run while holding a 100-kilogram (220-pounds) prey in their mouths, reaching speeds up to 50-mph.
The Amur (Siberian) tiger is the biggest tiger of the tiger species and is the only subspecies of tiger that has learned to live in the snow. They have the longest fur of the tigers and they need it!
Adult male tigers are at the top of the food chain and measure up to 4 meters (13 feet) in total length and weigh up to 300 kg (660 pounds).
They travel alone and are therefore more likely to get caught by poachers. The Russian government launched the Siberian Tiger Project in 1992 to save them from extinction and they also launched the Tiger Response Team to thwart poachers. Global Tiger Day is observed on July 29th to reinforce concern and to inform of the ecological role of the Siberian Tiger.
PROTECTING AMUR (SIBERIAN) TIGERS (Panthera tigris tigris for big Siberian cats)
Only an estimated 3,800 tigers remain in the wild – it is estimated that there are around 400 to 500 Siberian tigers left in the wild.
A century of poaching and habitat destruction have decimated the global tiger population, which has declined from 100,000 to an estimated 3,800. Tiger range has been reduced by 93%, and 3 of 9 subspecies have already gone extinct. Despite international legal protections, approximately 150 wild tigers are killed annually to satisfy the demand for illicit products. These range from traditional medicines and virility tonics made from tiger bones, to decorative items made from their pelts, claws and teeth.
MAKING AN IMPACT
Although most prevalent in Mainland China, demand for tiger products also exists in Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States. WildAid is part of the International Tiger Coalition, which is comprised of 42 environmental, zoological, and animal protection groups. Together, the coalition is calling for a permanent ban on the trade in tiger parts and products. To reduce demand for tiger products, WildAid uses a unique communications model with a primary focus on China, collaborating across all sectors of Chinese society; working with government, business, media partners, and celebrities to encourage attitudinal and behavioral change to reduce demand for tiger products.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
The continental tiger is found on the Asian mainland. This subspecies comprises Bengal, Malayan, Indochinese, and Amur tiger populations. The Caspian tiger is extinct in the wild, while the South China tiger is believed to be functionally extinct. For many decades, tiger populations declined precipitously as a result of habitat loss, poaching, and trade of tiger products. Their numbers reached an all-time low by the mid-2000s. In the last few years, WWF have been seeing signs of tiger population recovery in India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, and Russia. However, in other parts of the mainland, such as Myanmar and Malaysia, tiger numbers may still be declining due to poaching and habitat loss.
The tiger is at the top of the food chain in the wild and thus plays a critical role in the overall function of the ecosystem. Tigers are also a vital link in maintaining the rich biodiversity of nature. If we successfully protect just one tiger, we also protect around 25,000 acres of forest. These ecosystems supply both nature and people with fresh water, food, and health. Maintaining tiger habitats also benefits a host of globally important species like Asian elephants, greater one-horned rhino, and Asiatic black bear, among others.
Tiger habitats are at risk from logging, conversion of forests to agriculture or commercial plantations, and infrastructure development. This habitat fragmentation forces tigers into scattered, small refuges, which isolates populations and increases accessibility for poachers and the likelihood of human-wildlife conflict.
Tigers suffer in some areas from a severe loss of natural prey like deer, and wild boar and wild cattle. Prey numbers decline because of direct poaching for meat and trade, competition with livestock over food, and habitat degradation resulting from logging and other activities.
As tigers continue to lose their habitat and prey species, they are increasingly coming into conflict with humans. When they attack domestic animals—and sometimes people—people sometimes retaliate by killing tigers.
ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE
The most immediate threat to the survival of continental tigers is poaching to supply the demand for tiger parts on the black market. Despite a global trade ban in the past few decades, the demand for tiger products as status symbols, decorative items, and folk cures has increased dramatically, leading to a new poaching crisis. Tiger farms in Thailand, Vietnam, and China perpetuate the demand for tiger products from all sources—including the wild—and contribute to the poaching problem.
What WWF Is Doing
We can save wild tigers. In 2010, the 13 tiger range countries committed to TX2—to double wild tiger numbers by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger. In pursuing TX2, WWF and its partners have taken a comprehensive approach to tiger conservation. Achieving TX2 requires expanding support for site-based programs across priority landscapes and ensuring key populations endure long after the TX2 goal is met.
Title: Amur (Siberian) Tiger – Territorial – I’m Watching You
Reference photo for this artwork is licensed royalty-free from Shutterstock.