Saturday, March 20, 2010
The Sad Siberian Tigers
Nobody knows exactly how many Siberian tigers are left in the wild, but there are probably about 300, and 50 of those are in China. There are a bunch more Siberian tigers in zoos and wildlife parks and on farms, but some of them don't have very nice lives.
The people in charge of the zoo said the tigers did not starve. They said the tigers got some diseases, and also that the winter was really, really cold this year, and that is how the tigers died. But the people who investigated this situation said that the tigers had to live in little cages and didn't get much to eat, and that is why they were stressed and got sick and died.
Last November two tigers got so hungry that they attacked a man who was working at the zoo, even though Siberian tigers don't usually eat people, like Bengal tigers do. The tigers hurt the man, but he got rescued before they could kill him. And a couple of years ago, four tigers killed another tiger so they could eat it.
Anyway, now I will just tell you some interesting facts about Siberian tigers, starting with the fact that they are the biggest of all the tigers that are extant. Extant means the opposite of extinct, and it's a fine word that my friend Zest told me about. So this makes Siberian tigers the biggest cats in the whole world. Some of them can weigh 660 pounds, which is a lot! When there used to be more than just 300 wild Siberian tigers, they lived all over the western and central parts of Asia and also eastern Russia. But now they are just in the most eastern part of Siberia.
A long time ago, there were tons of these tigers living in the wild, but then they got killed off by people, especially during the Russian Civil War. And also there was a lot of hunting of the tigers, plus their habitat got destroyed. So that's why the tigers ended up being so endangered.
But now it's illegal to kill Siberian tigers, and also there's this Siberian Tiger Project that started in 1992. And this project has helped the tigers stay extant because it kept people from poaching tigers and cutting down all the forests and stuff like that which is bad for tigers.