This is the largest of all the tiger subspecies, and in fact, the Siberian tiger is the largest cat on Earth. From the tip of its nose to the tip of its tail, it can exceed three meters in length, and males have been known to grow to weights in excess of 350 kilos.

While the Siberian tiger did indeed originally roam across much of the Russian territory known as "Siberia," members of this subspecies can now be found only in a thin strip of land in the farthest eastern reaches of Russia, right along the coast of the Sea of Japan. Perhaps as many as four hundred Siberian tigers still make a home there, with another few dozen or so possibly still inhabiting the very northern portions of Korea and China - a region historically known as "Manchuria." This limited territory is the largest contiguous tiger habitat in the world, unfortunately due to its frigid climate and low prey densities it can only support a limited number of tigers. Due to this newly reduced territory, the Siberian tiger is often referred to as the "Amur" tiger because the Amur River runs through this area, and occasionally as the "Manchurian" tiger. Scientifically, this subspecies is known as Panthera tigris altaica.


Coincidentally, with the demise of the Soviet Union and the ensuing lawlessness that spread through much of the land, an onslaught of relentless tiger poaching took place in the Russian Far East, during the early to mid 1990s. The number of Siberian tigers is believed to have collapsed to near catastrophic levels in a few short years. Fortunately, a coalition of Russian and international scientists, conservationists and law enforcement agents reacted quickly and aggressively. A courageous war on wildlife crimes led to a dramatic decline in poaching. Recent reports indicate that they have succeeded in preventing the almost inevitable extinction of the Siberian tiger, which is reported to be making a comeback. Recent estimates peg their number at more than 500.

Ironically, today there are still far more Siberian tigers in captivity than in the wild.

Sumatran, Indo-chinese, Southchinese, Bengal, Siberian, Caspian, Javan, Balinese