E B O O K F O R F A N S
KAREN CASTILLO & ANDRÉS GONGORA
[*Copyright © 2016 Datamatic, S.C. *]
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
First Edition, 2016
Text and research: Karen Castillo.
Design: Andrés Góngora.
Review: Berenice Lorenzo.
Production: Sergio Góngora
Editorial: Datamatic, S.C.
Photos: courtesy of Pixabay and the respective authors.
All images rights are property of their authors as listed in Pixabay.
Bioexpedition and its logo are trademarks of Datamatic, S.C.
The tiger is the largest cat in the world. Admired
Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), Siberian Tiger
The Tigers are one of the
and feared, it has been a part of the stories and art
(P. t. altaica), Indochinese tiger (P. t. corbetti),
big cats, a group that also
includes lions, jaguars,
of humans for thousands of years, and today it is a
Malayan tiger (P. t. Jacksoni), South China tiger (P.
very popular animal around the world.
t. amoyensis) and Sumatran tiger (P. t. sumatrae).
Their beautiful striped fur makes them easy to Many years ago they were distributed over a vast recognize from all other felines, and their mighty area extending from Turkey to the east coast of roar makes them detectable from miles away.
Russia, but now it is much smaller. Several Tigers (Panthera tigris), are native to the Asian
subspecies became extinct, such as the Bali tiger
continent and have six subspecies:
(P. t. balica), the Java tiger (P. t. sondaica) and the
Caspian tiger (P. t. virgate)
All subspecies are ruthless predators endowed with strength, skill and keen senses. They have been seen as symbols of power, but also as aggressive and dangerous animals. Regardless that, they are an important part of the world’s biodiversity.
HABITAT & DISTRIBUTION
Tigers are native to Asia; although today they can be seen all over the world in captivity, their natural habitat is only on that continent. Today they are present in 13 countries: Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, Russia, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam. It is possible that lately the populations of these cats have been reduced to only eight countries, including Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, and Thailand.
They live in several types of habitat, all of which must have
three requirements: proximity to a fresh water source, the abundance of prey and dense vegetation. Many live in tropical forests, as well as temperate forests, the evergreen forests of Assam and eastern Bengal, swamp forests with mangroves and other types of forests. Some dwell in grasslands, savannahs, and rocky terrains.
Siberian tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) are unique because they thrive in the cold Russian forests, usually covered with a thick layer of snow; these Tigers have a denser coat than the other subspecies to survive in that cold habitat.
Most tigers to protect and shelter settle inside caves, grottos, large trees and even the tall vegetation.
Unlike other cats, tigers
are excellent swimmers.
Each tiger has a particular striped
pattern, so there are no two tigers with the same coat.
Tiger’s body is built for hunting. Far from walking and running, especially when
being the fastest or biggest animals in making abrupt turns.
the world, they have key adaptations that They have a robust skull, and large make them efficient hunters to meet their sharp teeth anchored to the jaws, which needs. An adult tiger can reach up to
they use to pierce the skin and tear the 1.22 meters high to the shoulders and up flesh of their victims. Other lethal parts to 3.90 meters in length, and weigh more are their retractable claws in their
than 300 kilograms, dimensions that
fingers. The hind legs are longer than the exceed those of lions, jaguars, and
front legs, but all have soft pads.
Their beautiful coat has orange tones in They have a flexible spine that ends at the background and thick dark stripes
the tip of their tail and acts as a flexible that run to the tip of the tail. Each tiger central support for their paws and
has a particular striped pattern, so there thorax. Their tail, long and slightly thick, are no two tigers with the same coat.
helps them to maintain the balance when 11
The Siberian or Amur
Tiger is the largest
subspecies of all.
Tigers’ favorite preys are
Nobody is astonished to know that Tigers have
Tigers are carnivorous mammals. Their diet
ungulate animals, usually deer.
a great appetite, but it can be a surprise to consists of a wide variety of prey but depends discover that they do not strictly eat every day.
on the animals available in their particular Adults can spend up to two weeks without a habitat. Some common victims are wild boars snack, although when they eat, they can (Sus scrofa), Sambar deer (Rusa unicolor), consume large amounts of food.
water buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis), marsh deer (Rucervus duvaucelii), Sika deer (Cervus nippon), saiga antelopes (Saiga tatarica), 14
porcupines (Order Rodentia) and hare (Family Leporidae). If they do stealthily to approach it and lurk from a discreet distance, usually not find food, they are sometimes forced to eat carrion or attack camouflaged between the tall and dense grass. In a quick and domestic livestock.
accurate movement, they catch their victim by surprise and give it a powerful bite on the neck or the head to kill it quickly.
When they prepare to hunt, they mainly rely on their ear and sight.
The tigers hunt by ambush. After detecting a prey, they walk 15
Most cats are solitary creatures, and Tigers are no exception.
During most of their adult life, they roam and hunt alone, although while cubs they spend a lot of time with their mother and during the breeding season, they have to establish relationships with the opposite sex to mate. They are more active during the night, for that reason they do not usually interact with diurnal species. However, activity patterns may vary depending on the season and the activities of their prey.
Something that characterizes Tigers is that they are very territorial and maintain exclusive household ranges where they have easy access to food. The males’ home ranges are larger than those of females, since, although they do not live in a herd, the male gender is dominant.
To secure their territory and warn others that they cannot enter, a tiger leaves scent marks or claws on trees or rocks. In addition to these visual and olfactory marks, Tigers watch the limits of their territory to avoid the entrance of intruders. When they are not inspecting, they prefer to spend time resting.
Tigers perform many
vocalizations, such as roars
Males and females are polygamous,
Tigers develop inside their mother
so they mate with several individuals
for an average of 105 days. Typically,
throughout their life after reaching
a female gives birth to a litter of two sexual maturity, which happens
or three offspring, but they may have
between three and five years of age.
up to seven in a single delivery. As
they are born blind and completely
Both genders can mate at any time
defenseless, the mother shelters her
of the year, but when they are in puppies in a den, feeds them with
heat, females vocalize and leave
breast milk and teaches them to hunt
scent marks more frequently to
for some months until they are ready
capture the attention of males. If a
to live on their own.
couple meets, they move in circles,
vocalize and growl, and then
separate, in a ritual of recognition
and establishment of trust.
Subsequently, the male places
himself over the female and
copulates for a short time. The
couple can stay together for a few
days, after which each one takes its
The only lasting social
relation of tigers is that of
a mother with her
Panthera tigris tigris
The Bengal tiger or royal Bengal tiger is one of the most
common subspecies. It distributes in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, and it is a frequent visitor to savannahs and mangrove areas in these countries. Most of its population lives in India and Bangladesh.
It is the second largest tiger reaching a total length of 240 to 310 centimeters and a height of 90 to 110
centimeters to the shoulders. It can weigh up to 325
kilos. Their physical appearance is not very different from that of other tigers, since it shares with them the large and muscular body, the sturdy legs and the long tail.
Panthera tigris tigris hunts many native ungulates of the Indian subcontinent, usually species such as chital (Axis axis), gaur (Bos gaurus), sambar deer (Russian unicolor) and marsh deer (Rucervus duvaucelii).
Bengal tigers are victims of illegal hunting, which along with habitat reduction and destruction are one of their most serious problems.Panthera tigris altaica 22
The Bengal tiger is the
most common subspecies
and the one with the
Panthera tigris altaica
This subspecies, which is also known as Amur tiger, is the only
one that inhabits the most eastern regions. It is mainly located in Siberia, where it has adapted to a cold environment often covered with snow.
Their fur is paler than other tigers, but thicker and longer to protect them from low temperatures. Their dimensions are exceptional; when adults they can weigh more than 300
kilograms, although females tend to be smaller than males.
Most of these animals inhabit small areas of Russia. Their distribution range is very large and they have to travel considerable distances to find food. Siberian musk deer (Moschus moschiferus), long-tailed goral (Naemorhedus caudatus), Siberian roe deer (Capreolus pygargus), wild boar (Sus scrofa) and other deer species predominate in their diet.
Surprisingly, it is known that they rarely hunt bears.
Litters are usually two to four cubs, and the mother is in charge of their care. When they grow up and acquire skills to hunt and live alone they separate from it, but females take longer to do so.
The skull of the Siberian
tiger is very similar to the
one of the lions, due to its
It is estimated that tigers have lost
93% of their historical distribution
Tigers are among the most threatened
In 2009 it was estimated that there were
animals on the planet. The species has
around 3,200 tigers worldwide, while in been considered endangered for several
1998 there were between 5,000 and
years, mainly due to human activities
7,000 tigers, although in recent years
such as poaching and illegal trade of
there has been a slight increase. Today, parts of their body. Habitat loss, the
the conservation of tigers is an issue of effects of climate change, and conflicts interest to many, because their
with people for the areas linked to
importance for the biodiversity.
activities such as deforestation, land
conversion for agriculture and livestock.
In fact, for centuries the distribution of these cats covered a much larger area,
but as a result of the threats mentioned above, the area is becoming smaller. The trade of their coat, bones and internal organs, for traditional Chinese medicine remedies is a disturbing activity, which keeps reducing their population.