The Amur (aka Siberian) Tiger is often described as the world’s largest cat. This is debated by big cat experts, but when you’re close to one any doubts become moot. Males can attain lengths of over 10 feet, nose to tail, and males can weigh over 500 pounds. Colored much like their southern counterparts, Amur Tigers can be distinguished by their thick, lynx-like fur, which enhances the sense of size. They have the largest skulls of any tiger subspecies and are the only ones habituated to arctic conditions.
HABITAT and RANGE
A century ago, these magnificent animals roamed a vast territory extending from coastal Korea across northeast China and Siberia, all the way to Russia’s Lake Baikal where winter temperatures can plunge to -50° F. Today, Amur Tigers can only be found in the Russian Far East (RFE) and its adjacent borderlands, in an area only slightly larger than Washington State (MAP).
Here, in the unique ecosystem of Russia’s Primorye Territory (Capital: Vladivostok), the Amur Tiger’s preferred prey is deer and wild boar. But these animals have lots of company: the mountains, forests and flood plains of Primorye are home to a bizarre combination of creatures ranging from moose, caribou and wolves to leopards, poisonous snakes and Russia’s equivalent to the grizzly bear. All of these creatures, including the brown bears, may find themselves on the Amur tiger’s menu. In the RFE, local people call the tiger “Amba”, the Czar of all animals.