The Siberian tiger

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 September, 2009, 12:00am

Largest species

The Siberian tiger is the largest tiger in the world. It was also found on northeast mainland, and it is called the dongbei hu () in Chinese. Sometimes it's called the Amur tiger. The Amur is a river that divides northeastern mainland from Siberia.

Scientists think the Siberian tiger is the same as the Caspian tiger. The Caspian is the biggest inland sea in the world. The Caspian tiger was found in Iraq, Turkey and other places around the sea. Most people think it is extinct. The Siberian tiger is almost extinct - there are only about 200 in the wild, and there are about 250 in zoos across the world.

Hunting machine

The Siberian tiger is about 1 metre tall and 2 metres long. They are hunters, or predators. This means they only eat meat. In the wild, they mostly hunt for wild boar. But they also hunt gazelles and deer.

Sometimes the Siberian tiger would attack and eat bears. But bears are very strong animals, so that does not happen often. There are records of Siberian tigers attacking bears and getting killed themselves. Interestingly, Siberian tigers hardly ever kill people. The Bengal tiger in India does - they become 'man eaters'.

Second best

There are wolves in Siberia. Tigers and wolves hunt the same animals. Experts think, though, wolves find it hard to compete with tigers. When tigers roam an area, wolves usually go elsewhere. The best wolves can do is take parts of dead animals the tigers have left behind. But if tigers see them doing this, they will chase them away.

For some reason, a Siberian tiger does not eat a wolf it has killed. Perhaps the tiger just sees wolves as enemies that hunt the same food.

The tiger king

The people of Manchuria thought the Siberian tiger was a god. In 1644 they founded the Qing dynasty and controlled the mainland until 1912. The elite soldiers of the Qing dynasty were called the Tiger God Army.

The best place to see this amazing animal is the mainland. The northern city of Harbin has the world's biggest Siberian tiger park. It covers more than 140 hectares. There are more than 500 Siberian tigers there, including white tigers.

now do this

1 The Amur is ...

a. a kind of tiger.

b. a region in Mongolia.

c. a waterfall in Asia.

2 The ... thought the Siberian tiger was a god.

a. Manchus

b. Tang dynasty

c. Mongolians

3 The biggest Siberian tiger sanctuary in the world is in ...

a. Siberia

b. China

c. Turkey


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