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Kira: Female, born at the Leipzig Zoo in Germany on May 18, 1997. Arrived at the Philadelphia Zoo on May 14, 1998.
Changbai (chang-BUY): Female, one of three cubs born to Kira on May 24, 2007. Changbai is named for a mountain reserve in China where tigers are found.
First Niagara Big Cat Falls
Amur tigers are the biggest cats in the world. They have a round head with a heavy skull, strong facial muscles and an extremely powerful jaw. The "eye of the tiger" faces forward, giving the tiger depth perception useful during hunting. Even in the poorest light, a tiger's eyesight is six times greater than that of a human's. They also have a keen sense of hearing and equilibrium. Strong legs and silent paws help it hunt, run and jump.
Amur tiger’s fur is a very thick yellow to reddish color with a black stripe pattern. This thick coat and a layer of fat up to 2 inches (5 cm) thick on their belly and flanks help them tolerate temperatures as low as -45 degrees F (7 degrees C).
The tigers’ famous stripes help them to camouflage themselves from their prey while hunting. No two tigers have the same stripe pattern. Just as humans are identified through their own unique fingerprints, tigers are identified by their individual stripe patterns.
The lifespan of a Tiger is 16 years old.
Amur tigers can mate throughout the year, although mating usually occurs between November and April. The gestation period for the tiger ranges from 103-110 days. Females will give birth to a litter of 2-3 cubs, although they have been known to give birth to as many as 6 cubs.
A female reaches sexual maturity between 2-3 years of age. Through the next 10-12 years of a tigress’ life she may give birth to a litter every 2-3 years. The cubs will open their eyes between 9-12 days. She will nurse them and raise them alone for up to 6 months. Once the cubs are weaned they will have learned hunting techniques from mom. The cubs will be independent by the age of 18 months.
Amur tigers may be active at all times of the day and night, however they are primarily nocturnal. They roam the Amur regions in the Russian Far East. The Amur river in this region forms a border between Northeastern China and the Russian Far East. Males and females come together only to mate and occasionally share large prey items. They are very territorial covering large stretches of their range. Although males will not overlap territories, several females may have smaller areas inside the territory of one male.
Both males and females mark their territory by spraying a strong odor along its borders. They will also scratch and claw trees to show others that they are nearby.
More than any other cats, Amur tigers rely on their sense of sight. Tigers will stalk their prey and get as close as possible before pouncing on it. Once the prey is killed, it is dragged off to a safe place where the tiger will consume the meat until it is full. The prey is then covered and hidden so that the tiger can return at a later time to eat again.
Tigers produce various sounds and communications. One is a loud roar that can be heard over vast distances.
Amur tigers can grow to 12 feet (3.6m) long, from nose to the tip of their tail.
Males may weigh between 385-570 pounds (175-260 kg) and females may weigh between 220-385 pounds (100-175 kg).
Tigers hunt prey of all ages and physical condition including animals in their prime. The favored prey of wild tigers is deer and wild boar. At the Zoo, their diet includes a commercial meat mix, solid beef, beef shank bones and long bones. The diet is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of each animal. Beef long bones are offered once a week mainly to provide chewing activity. Beef shank bones have nearly 7 lbs of meat attached to the bone; the tigers enjoy tearing the meat from the bones. In addition to food, the shank bones provide exercise for the animal’s jaw muscles.
The Amur tiger is found in isolated habitats across eastern Asia. They may be found in areas of both Russian and China.
On the 2011 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Amur tiger is listed as Endangered.
Russian Far East: Save the Tiger/Tigris Foundation
To learn more about the conservation efforts at the Philadelphia Zoo, click here.
Did you know the Philadelphia Zoo offers opportunities to travel around the world and get up close with certain animals? Learn more.
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