AMP | Kids is proud to partner with The Mini Page, celebrating over 50 years of providing engaging and fun learning opportunities to young readers across the country. This feature was originally syndicated in newspapers the week of May 16 – May 22, 2020. It is distributed digitally here with permission from Andrews McMeel Syndication. Enjoy and share with the young learners in your life!
If you were going to pick one of the most magnificent animals on Earth, what would you choose? The tiger would be many people’s top choice.
In the last century, tigers have suffered a sharp drop in numbers. Today there are fewer than 3,900 tigers outside zoos. One hundred years ago, there were about 100,000.
There once were nine subspecies, or types, of tigers. Three of those types are already extinct.
The tiger is the biggest cat in the world. Some male Siberian tigers can weigh as much as 570 pounds. They can stretch from 7 to 12 feet long.
It is the only big cat with stripes. The stripes help the tiger blend into forests and tall grasses. It hides in the vegetation, stalking its prey until it gets close enough to pounce.
Tigers have powerful teeth and claws. An adult tiger can kill an animal four times bigger than itself.
Tigers need to eat an amount of meat equal to about one deer a week. If there is a lot of prey in an area, tigers have smaller home ranges. For example, in some reserves in India, a tiger’s home range can be as small as 20 square miles.
But in areas where prey is scarce, such as in the Russian Far East, tigers need much more space. One tiger may claim almost 800 square miles of land for itself.
Each tiger has its own territory. It hunts alone. Tigers come together to mate, and then the male leaves.
The mom cares for the cubs on her own. A mother tiger may have one to five cubs per litter, but often all but one or two die. Cubs stay with their mom for about two years.
Tigers keep away from one another’s territory. But there are bigger home ranges where tigers might meet up as they hunt.
Tigers mark their territory by spraying urine. They also have scent glands in their faces and feet. They rub their faces against trees to mark their area and let other tigers know where they are.
Tigers and humans
People are the reason tigers are endangered. Humans have caused trouble for tigers in three ways:
- killing of tigers,
- overhunting of prey,
- habitat loss or habitat breakup.
Sometimes people kill tigers because they are afraid or because the tigers are eating farm animals. But the biggest reason people kill tigers is to get their body parts to sell. Many people in Asia believe eating tiger parts will give them some of the tiger’s power. China is the largest market for tiger parts today.
Poachers, or people who hunt illegally, kill tigers to make a profit.
People eat the same foods tigers eat, such as deer and wild pigs, or boar. As people have spread into the tigers’ habitat, they have killed most of the tigers’ food for
photo by Linda De Volder
themselves. Then hungry tigers have eaten cows and other livestock and scared people.
People have destroyed much of the tigers’ historical habitat. They have cut down forests and constructed buildings within tiger habitats.
On the Web:
World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
At the Library:
Tigers: Amazing Pictures & Fun Facts on Animals in Nature by Kay de Silva
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