Panthera tigris ssp. altaica


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Panthera tigris ssp. altaica
Species Authority: Temminck, 1844
Parent Species:
Common Name/s:
English Amur Tiger
French Tigre de Sibérie
Taxonomic Notes: Subspecies recognition of P. t. altaica was affirmed on the basis of molecular markers. This subspecies has a low level of genetic variation, probably due to past and recent population declines (Luo et al. 2004, Henry et al. 2009).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered C2a(i); D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-02-11
Assessor/s: Miquelle, D., Darman, Y. & Seryodkin, I
Reviewer/s: Nowell, K., Schipper, J., Breitenmoser, U. & Breitenmoser-Wursten, C.

The Amur Tiger now occurs primarily in Russia, where it has made a spectacular comeback since the 1930s, when the population fell as low as 20–30 animals (Kaplanov 1948). The population is now estimated at 360 tigers (GTRP 2010), based on a comprehensive 2005 population census (Miquelle et al. 2007). This number, based on track surveys in the snow, probably includes around 100 sub-adults >20-et al. 2007) and a revision of the Amur Tiger’s Red List category from Critically Endangered to Endangered in 2007. However, although these full range surveys provide fairly reliable information on tiger numbers, the logistical and financial levels of commitment make them infeasible to conduct on a regular basis. Population trends can be deduced from smaller-scale monitoring in smaller representative areas, focusing on parameters including tiger track density, local expert assessments of numbers, presence of females with young, prey abundance and other variables. Analyzing 13 years worth of data, the monitoring program has indicated a significant negative population decline, with a slightly steeper declining trend evident since 2004, despite a bounceback in tiger numbers in 2010 after a very cold and snowy winter in 2009 (Miquelle et al. 2010). Poaching of Tigers as well as their wild prey species is considered to be driving the decline (Schwirtz 2009). Moreover, a broad genetic sampling of 95 wild Russian tigers found markedly low genetic diversity, with the effective population size (Ne) extraordinarily low in comparison to the census population size (N), with the population behaving as if it were just 27–35 individuals (Henry et al. 2009). This reflects the recent population bottleneck of the 1940s, and concords with the low documented cub survivorship to independence in the Russian Far East (Kerley et al. 2003). Further exacerbating the problem is that more than 90% of the population occurs in the Sikhote Alin mountain region, and there is little genetic exchange (movement of Tigers) across the development corridor which separates this sub-population from the much smaller subpopulation found in southwest Primorye province (Henry et al. 2009).

In China, the small population is not independently viable and dependent on movement of animals across the border with Russia (Kang et al. 2010). The continued existence of P.t. altaica in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is uncertain.

2010 Endangered (IUCN 2010.2)
2010 Endangered
1996 Critically Endangered
1996 Critically Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Systems: Terrestrial

Bibliography [top]

GTRP. 2010. Global Tiger Recovery Program, 2010-2022. Thirteen Tiger Range Countries and Partners of the Global Tiger Initiative. World Bank, Washington DC.

Henry, P., Miquelle, D., Sugimoto, T., McCullough, D.R., Caccone, A., Russello, M.A. 2009. In situ population structure and ex situ representation of the endangered Amur tiger. Molecular Ecology 18: 3173-3184.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.2). Available at: (Accessed: 10 November 2011).

Kang, A., Xie, Y., Tang, J., Sanderson, E.W., Ginsburg, J.R. and Zhang, E. 2010. Historic distribution and recent loss of tigers in China. Integrative Zoology 5: 335-341.

Kaplanov, L. G. 1948. Tigers in Sikhote-Alin. Tiger, red deer, and Moose, pp. 18-49.

Kerley, L. L., Goodrich, J. M., Miquelle, D. G., Quigley, H. B., Hornocker, M. G. and Smirnov, E. N. 2003. Reproductive parameters of wild female Amur (Siberian) tigers (Panthera tigris altaica). Journal of Mammalogy 84: 288-298.

Luo, S. J., Kim, J. H., Johnson, W. E., Van Der Walt, J., Martenson, J., Yuhki, N., Miquelle, D. G., Uphyrkina, O., Goodrich, J. M., Quigley, H., Tilson, R., Brady, G., Martelli, P., Subramaniam, V., Mcdougal, C., Hean, S., Huang, S. Q., Pan, W., Karanth, U. K., Sunquist, M., Smith, J. L. D. and O'Brien, S. J. 2004. Phylogeography and genetic ancestry of tigers (Panthera tigris). PLoS Biology 2: 2275-2293.

Miquelle, D.G., Dunishenko, Y.M.A., Zvyagintsev, D.A., Darensky, A.A., Golyb, A.M., Dolinin, V.V., Shvets, V.G., Kostomarov, S.V., Aramilev, V. V., Fomenko, P.V., Litvinov, M.N., Nikolaev, I. G., Pikunov, D.G., Salkina, G. P., Zaumyslova, O.Y., Kozhichev, R.P. and Nikolaeva, E.I. 2010. A monitoring program for the Amur tiger: thirteenth-year report, 1998-2010.

Miquelle, D. G., Pikunov, D. G., Dunishenko, Y. M., Aramilev, V. V., Nikolaev, I. G., Abramov, V. K., Smirnov, E. N., Salkina, G. P., Seryodkin, I. V., Gaponov, V. V., Fomenko, P. V., Litvinov, M. N., Kostyria, A. V., Yudin, V. G., Korkishko, V. G. and Murzin, A. A. 2007. 2005 Amur Tiger Census. Cat News 46: 14-16.

Schwirtz, M. 2009. Data show a decline for tigers in Russia. New York Times.

Citation: Miquelle, D., Darman, Y. & Seryodkin, I 2011. Panthera tigris ssp. altaica. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 19 April 2014.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please fill in the feedback form so that we can correct or extend the information provided