Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Amur Tiger

This is Bagai, Marwell Zoo's young male Amur (also known as Siberian) tiger (Panthera tigris altaica). This shot was taken in March 2014 with a borrowed lens (Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM).

Bagai is currently twenty months old, and arrived at Marwell in December 2013. He was brought in to partner Milla, Marwell's slightly older female Amur tiger. He is currently in an enclosure of his own, being allowed to settle in before being introduced to Milla. It is hoped that they will one day produce offspring together as part of the European Endangered Species Programme.

The Amur tiger is the world's largest cat. They are solitary animals, and fiercely protect their territories. They hunt by stealth mainly at night, their striped coats giving them the camouflage they need to creep up on prey before pouncing. Their prey includes elk and wild boar. The Amur tiger's range is primarily the birch forests of eastern Russia, although some are also found in northern China and the Korean peninsula. Females give birth to a litter of two to six cubs, who cannot hunt until they are eighteen months old. They stay with their mother for two to three years, before leaving to find territories of their own.

Tigers have been hunted for centuries, their fur wanted as trophies and various body parts wanted for use in Chinese medicine. They are currently classified as "endangered", and it is estimated that there are between 400 and 500 Amur tigers left in the wild. Many protection programs are in place to help protect the remaining wild tigers.

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