July 29, 2015
A Striped Cat Slinks Back
- as seen by -Jonathan C. Slaght
Their camouflage and stealth aren’t the only reasons Amur tigers are hard to see: These cats have territories 20 times larger than those of the tigers living in southeast Asia. A single Amur male might have a territory up to 500 square miles (1,295 square kilometers) in size. This is because there are far fewer prey animals in the harsher climate of Russia than in tropics, so tigers have to go much further to find and kill enough prey to survive. So, given their camouflage and their rarity, Amur tigers are almost impossible to see.
Amur tigers almost went extinct in the wild. Luckily, the concerted efforts of dedicated scientists and far-sighted Soviet officials in the middle of the last century bore fruit, and today, Russia is the only tiger-range state to demonstrate a recovery of tiger populations. Around 500 of the cats roam the forests now, where 70 years ago there were only a few dozen.
Adapted from Live Science Expert Voices by Jonathan C. Slaght and Julie Larsen Maher.