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January 4, 2009 / Bo Mackison

Siberian Tiger, Critically Endangered Species



This is the newest animal on exhibit at the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, and he is an awesome, handsome animal. Cyber is a 9 year old Amur Tiger, also known as a Siberian Tiger. His species of big cats is the largest in size, and one of the most critically endangered. Fully mature, he will stretch nearly 14 feet in length and weigh about 650 pounds. There are only 450 Amur Tigers left in the world – 300 in the wild and 150 in zoos. Their habitat is so fragile, there is fear that there will be no tigers–no tigers of any species–left in the wild in just a couple of years.

The Siberian tiger differs in appearance from the Bengal tiger by its thicker mane which wraps around its neck and part of its head. Considering its habitat is mostly in eastern Russia (Siberia), the tigers can probably use the extra cuff for warmth.

Cyber, on a Roll

Cyber, on a Roll

A recently as 80 years ago, there were 8 known sub-species of tigers. However in the 20th Century, 3 of the 8 species became extinct. The Siberian tiger is considered “critically” endangered – the most serious of the endangered categories, though a breeding program in international zoos based in China, Europe and North America appears to be fairly successful.

The 5 remaining sub-species of tigers, from most common to least common/most endangered, are the Bengal (India, Bangladesh, Nepal), the Indochinese (Cambodia, China, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam), the Malayan (Malay Peninsula), the Sumatran (Indonesian island of Sumatra), the Siberian (eastern Siberia), and also the South China Tiger (South China) which will almost certainly soon be extinct. There are fewer than 60 of the South China Tigers, all in captivity, from a gene pool of only 6 tigers, which is not enough to save the species. There has only been one sighting of this tiger in the wild since 1983.


  1. burstmode / Jan 3 2009 7:49 pm

    Have you ever read Jim Corbett’s books? Have a look and do not judge the books by the covers.

  2. Preston Surface / Jan 3 2009 8:05 pm

    Wow, what a shot. Sure is a beautiful animal. However, I would prefer to keep my distance.

  3. Marcie / Jan 4 2009 3:51 am

    What an absolutely beautiful animal!!! So fierce and powerful..and yet something so soft about his fur. Sad to hear how few there are left on this planet. Thanks for the bit of ‘education’.

  4. suehenryphotography / Jan 4 2009 4:53 am

    Interesting read. Your accompanying image is wonderful.

  5. jeju / Jan 4 2009 7:53 am

    oh very fierce. nice colors

  6. ybonesy / Jan 5 2009 2:02 am

    Wow, only one sighting. Isn’t that sad? So glad to hear the captivity programs are successful. Great capture.

  7. Gandalf / Jan 5 2009 7:45 am

    Impressive. I don’t think i’d want to meet this dude in a dark alley at night. Maybe even during the day.

  8. amuirin / Jan 6 2009 2:50 pm

    That is incredibly sad. Can you imagine a world without tigers? And polar bears? I’m not at all proud of the legacy being left my child’s children.

    What a beautiful creature. That top photo is fan **ing tastic

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