Tigers are one of our planet’s top predators and a big tiger can take prey of up to one tonne in size. They can also take small animals like fish and frogs - but mostly they like to eat wild pigs and deer.
Depending on how many deer and pig there are per square kilometre of forest, a single tiger might need as much as 2,000 km sq for his home range, if he lives in the temperate forests of Russia – or as little as 10 km sq, if he lives in the most fertile parts of India or Nepal. So tigers are losing their homes through conversion of forests – often illegally for short-term gain - to logging and agriculture.
There is only one species of tiger in the world – (Panthera tigris), but it is divided up into geographically separate groups called subspecies. The Amur tiger (also called Siberian tiger) is one of the largest; it also has the lightest colour and the longest coat.
Enrichment is an important part of daily life for all the animals, including the Amur tigers, at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Enrichment is what we do to improve the animals’ welfare and wellbeing as well as recreate situations that will encourage natural behaviours.
For the tigers at the Zoo, new scents in their enclosure helps to stimulate their natural instincts. Sensory enrichment means adding new scents, sights or sounds to the zoo exhibit habitat to add variety to the carnivores’ experience. Life in the wild is anything but predictable, so sensory enrichment in the tigers' home keeps them stimulated and relfects their natural habitat in the wild.
Amur tigers are seriously endangered in the wild - there may be as few as 540 Amur tigers left in the Russian Far East.
ZSL is an international conservation charity and has been involved in Amur tiger conservation in the Russian Far East since 1995. ZSL's Amur tiger conservation project is focused on population monitoring, anti-poaching efforts, and increasing education and awareness.