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Encyclopedia > Caspian Tiger
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Caspian Tiger
A captive Caspian Tiger, Berlin Zoo 1899
A captive Caspian Tiger, Berlin Zoo 1899
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Panthera
Species: P. tigris
Subspecies: P. t. virgata
Trinomial name
Panthera tigris virgata
(Illiger, 1815)
Distribution of caspian tigers in 1900 (red)
Distribution of caspian tigers in 1900 (red)

P. tigris lecoqi (China) Image File history File linksMetadata Panthera_tigris_virgata. ... The Zoologischer Garten Berlin (zoological garden Berlin) is one of the biggest zoos in Germany and the one with the largest number of species of the world. ... The conservation status of a species is an indicator of the likelihood of that species continuing to survive either in the present day or the future. ... Image File history File links Status_none_EX.svg‎ Graphic diagram for the IUCN Red List categories. ... In biology and ecology, extinction is the ceasing of existence of a species or group of species. ... Scientific classification or biological classification is a method by which biologists group and categorize species of organisms. ... Digimon, the only known animals. ... Template:Tax more Chordates (phylum Chordata) are a group of animals that includes the vertebrates, together with several closely related invertebrates. ... Subclasses Allotheria* Order Multituberculata (extinct) Order Volaticotheria (extinct) Order Palaeoryctoides (extinct) Order Triconodonta (extinct) Prototheria Order Monotremata Theria Infraclass Marsupialia Infraclass Eutheria The mammals are the class of vertebrate animals characterized by the production of milk in females for the nourishment of young, from mammary glands present on most species... Families 17, See classification The diverse order Carnivora (IPA: or IPA: ; from Latin carō (stem carn-) flesh, + vorāre to devour) includes over 260 placental mammals. ... Subfamilies Felinae Pantherinae †Machairodontinae The Felidae family includes the Lion, the Tiger, the Domestic Cats, and other felines as its members. ... Species Panthera is a genus of the family Felidae (the cats), which contains four well-known species: the tiger, lion, leopard, and jaguar. ... Binomial name Panthera tigris (Linnaeus, 1758) Distribution of tigers in 1900 (red) and 1990 (green) Synonyms Felis tigris Linnaeus, 1758 Tigris striatus Severtzov, 1858 Tigris regalis pink, 1867 Tigers (Panthera tigris) are mammals of the Felidae family and one of four big cats in the Panthera genus. ... Trinomial nomenclature is a taxonomic naming system that extends the standard system of binomial nomenclature by adding a third taxon. ... Johann Karl Wilhelm Illiger (November 19, 1775 - May 1813) was a German entomologist who also worked on birds and mammals. ... April 5-12: Mount Tambora explodes, changing climate. ... Image File history File links Panthera_tigris_virgata_dis. ... In scientific nomenclature, synonyms are different scientific names used for a single taxon. ...

Color-enhanced photo of a captive specimen (possibly the same individual as above)
Color-enhanced photo of a captive specimen (possibly the same individual as above)

The Caspian tiger or Persian tiger (Panthera tigris virgata) was the westernmost subspecies of tiger, found in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Caucasus, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan until it became extinct in the 1970s. Although thought to be extinct, there have been several alleged sightings of the tiger. Image File history File linksMetadata Caspian_Tiger. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Caspian_Tiger. ... In zoology, as in other branches of biology, subspecies is the rank immediately subordinate to a species. ... Binomial name Panthera tigris (Linnaeus, 1758) Distribution of tigers in 1900 (red) and 1990 (green) Synonyms Felis tigris Linnaeus, 1758 Tigris striatus Severtzov, 1858 Tigris regalis pink, 1867 Tigers (Panthera tigris) are mammals of the Felidae family and one of four big cats in the Panthera genus. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Caucasus Mountains. ... In biology and ecology, extinction is the ceasing of existence of a species or group of species. ...



Of all the tigers known to the world, the Caspian tiger was the third largest. [1] The body of this subspecies was quite stocky and elongated with strong legs, big wide paws and unusually large claws. The ears were short and small, and gave the appearance of being without hair on the tips. Around the cheeks the Caspian tiger was generously furred and the rest of its fur was long and thick. The colouration resembled that of the Bengal tiger. The skin specimen in the British Museum has a yellow-gold colour over the back and flanks, while the sides of the body are lighter than the back and the striping also varies from light to dark brown. The chest and abdomen is white with yellow stripes, while the facial area is yellow with brown stripes on the forehead and obvious white patches around the eyes and cheeks. Outer portions of the legs are yellow and the inner areas white. The tail of this subspecies is yellow and has yellowish white stripes. In winter, the hair of the Caspian tiger was very long, and the tiger had a well-developed belly mane and a short nape mane. In zoology, as in other branches of biology, subspecies is the rank immediately subordinate to a species. ... Trinomial name Panthera tigris tigris (Linnaeus, 1758) The Bengal Tiger or Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is a subspecies of tiger found in parts of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan,Myanmar and in the south of Tibet. ... The centre of the museum was redeveloped in 2000 to become the Great Court, surrounding the original Reading Room. ...

Habits and mating

Caspian tigers remained solitary for the most of their lives; they rarely socialized with other tigers outside the mating season. The male tiger was larger than the female and lived from ten to fifteen years. Caspian tigers bred at any time of year, but they usually mated in winter or spring. The mating period of the tigers lasted twenty to thirty days. If a female did not find a mate at this time, she came into heat again later. After a gestation period of approximately 100 days, the tigress gave birth to about two to three cubs. These cubs were born blind and did not open their eyes until about ten days after birth. The cubs would drink their mother's milk for about the first eight weeks of their life. The raising of the cubs is done by the mother alone. The curious, playful cubs first left the den with their mother after about two weeks. The mother needed to hunt for three instead of for one; however, hunting was severely restricted by the amount of time she needed to spend looking after the cubs. The cubs themselves began to hunt after about eleven weeks but until then they were dependent on their mother. A Caspian tigress bore cubs only once every three to four years.

Caspian tiger in the Roman arenas

The Caspian tiger was the subspecies of tiger (along with the Bengal) used in the Roman arenas. To Romans this subspecies was the most accessible as it inhabited the eastern borders of the Roman Empire. They were imported from Caucasus, Kurdistan, Mesopotamia and Persia. The first tiger that fought in Rome was a gift from an Indian ambassador to Roman emperor Augustus in the year 19 BC. In the Roman arenas the tiger fought against Roman Gladiators and other animals like the aurochs and the European and Barbary lion. Motto: Senatus Populusque Romanus (SPQR) The Roman Empire at its greatest extent, c. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Caucasus Mountains. ... Kurdistan (literally meaning the land of Kurds[1]; old: Koordistan, Curdistan, Kurdia, also in Kurdish: Kurdewarî) is the name of a geographic and cultural region in the Middle East, inhabited predominantly by the Kurds. ... Mesopotamia refers to the region now occupied by modern Iraq, eastern Syria, southeastern Turkey, and Southwest Iran. ... For other uses of this term see: Persia (disambiguation) The Persian Empire is the name used to refer to a number of historic dynasties that have ruled the country of Persia (Iran). ... Nickname: The Eternal City Motto: SPQR: Senatus PopulusQue Romanus Location of the city of Rome (yellow) within the Province of Rome (red) and region of Lazio (grey) Coordinates: Region Lazio Province Province of Rome Founded 21 April 753 BC  - Mayor Walter Veltroni Area    - City 1285 km²  (580 sq mi)  - Urban... Augustus (Latin: IMP•CAESAR•DIVI•F•AVGVSTVS;[1] September 23, 63 BC–August 19, AD 14), known as Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (English Octavian; Latin: C•IVLIVS•C•F•CAESAR•OCTAVIANVS) for the period of his life prior to 27 BC, was the first and among the most important of... Centuries: 2nd century BC - 1st century BC - 1st century Decades: 60s BC 50s BC 40s BC 30s BC 20s BC - 10s BC - 0s 10s 20s 30s 40s Years: 24 BC 23 BC 22 BC 21 BC 20 BC 19 BC 18 BC 17 BC 16 BC 15 BC 14 BC... Pollice Verso (With a Turned Thumb), an 1872 painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme, is a well known history painters researched conception of a gladiatorial combat. ... Binomial name Bos primigenius Subspecies Bos primigenius primigenius   (Bojanus, 1827) Bos primigenius namadicus   (Falconer, 1859) Bos primigenius mauretanicus   (Thomas, 1881) See Ur (rune) for the rune. ... Trinomial name Panthera leo europaea The European lion (Panthera leo europaea) could be an extinct subspecies of lion that inhabited southern Europe until historic times. ... Trinomial name Panthera leo leo (Linnaeus, 1758) The Barbary Lion Panthera leo leo is a subspecies of lion. ...

History and extinction

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Russian government worked heavily to eradicate the Caspian tiger during an extensive land reclamation program. There was no room for the tiger in their plans, and government officials instructed the Russian army to exterminate all tigers found around the area of the Caspian Sea, a project that was carried out very efficiently. Once the extermination of the Caspian tiger was almost complete, farmers cleared forests and planting crops such as rice and cotton. Due to intensive hunting and deforestation, the Caspian tiger retreated first from the lush lowlands to the forested ranges, then to the marshes around some of the larger rivers, and finally, deeper into the mountains, until it almost certainly became extinct.

The last stronghold of the Caspian tiger in the former Soviet Union was in the Tigrovaya Balka area. Though the tigers were reported as being found there until the mid-1950s, the reliability of these claims is unknown.

An exact date of extinction is unknown. Some reports state that the last Caspian tiger was shot in Golestān National Park or some other place in Northern Iran in 1959. There are claims of a documented killing of this subspecies in the Uludere district in Turkey - a few dozen kilometers from the Iraqi border - during the 1970s (see below). Yet other reports state that the final Caspian tiger was captured and killed in Northeast Afghanistan in 1997. The most frequently quoted date for extinction is the late 1950s, but there is almost no evidence to back that claim. It appears this date came to be accepted after being quoted by H. Ziaie in "A Field Guide to the Mammals of Iran." More evidence reflects an even earlier date of extinction. The area of Iran that contained the last Caspian tigers was the eastern region of Mazandaran, Northern Iran[citation needed]. According to E. Firouz in “A Guide to the Fauna of Iran, 1999”, the last tiger was killed in 1947 near Agh-Ghomish Village, 10 km East of Kalaleh (Golestān Province), on the way to Minoodasht/Bojnourd. No one really knows for certain. Uludere is a district of Şırnak Province of Turkey. ... The Dodo, shown here in illustration, is an often-cited[1] example of modern extinction. ... Mazandaran (Persian: مازندران) is a province in northern Iran, bordering the Caspian (Mazandaran) Sea in the north. ... Golestān (Persian: گلستان) is one of the 28 provinces of Iran. ... Besh Qardash, on the outskirts of Bojnourd Bojnurd (Persian: بجنورد) is the capital city of North Khorasan province, Iran. ...

Sightings and doubts about extinction

Possible Turkish sightings

The following excerpts are taken from "Can, O.E. 2004. Status, Conservation and Management of Large Carnivores in Turkey. Council of Europe. 29 pages. Strasbourg, France".

"Earlier in the 20th century, the presence of the Caspian tiger had been known by Turkish (Turkish Republic Official Gazette, 1937). Yet, when the Caspian tiger was declared extinct in the world, international zoologists did not accept the idea that the Caspian tiger distribution range extended as far as eastern Turkey (Dr. George Schaller, Ankara, Turkey, personal communication, 2003). In fact, the species was officially a pest species until July 11, 2004 in Turkey. In the 1970s, surveys conducted by Paul Joslin in Iran turned up no signs of the Caspian tiger and the conclusion was made that the Caspian tiger had been extirpated. International cat experts only became aware of the presence of the Caspian tiger in Turkey after a tiger was killed in Uludere, Þõrnak 1970 (Uludere was a sub-province of Hakkari in 1970). Three years later, a botanist visiting the area saw and photographed the tiger pelt and published the story (Baytop, 1974)."

Turkish scientists, during a study on the field, reached some information on the presence of the Caspian tiger. Şırnak is a Turkish province in the south east of Anatolia. ... shows the Location of the Province Hakkari Hakkari is a province in southernmost Turkey, located at the juncture of Iraq and Iran. ...

"Within the framework of Southeastern Anatolia Biodiversity Research Project of WWF-Turkey, a survey was conducted to reveal the large mammal presence and distribution in the region (Can & Lise, 2004). Within the framework of the first attempt to collect systematically the large mammal data in Southeastern Turkey. First, a questionnaire was designed and distributed to 450 military posts in the region. The questionnaire included questions about the presence of large mammal species and each questionnaire was accompanied with Turkey's Mammal Poster of Turkish Society for the Conservation of Nature (which became WWF-Turkey later). The questionnaires were filled out by military personnel in cooperation with the local people and 428 questionnaires were returned to WWF-Turkey. The questionnaires also included questions related with the historical tiger presence in the region. Later, the questionnaire results were used to identify the areas on which the field survey will focus.
The questionnaire revealed that some military personal had heard rumours about the presence of large cats in the region. During the interviews with local people, the mammal team collected rumours about big cat sightings and met local people that claimed to hear roaring from different sites. In addition, it was reported that there was a local tiger pelt trade in the region and three to five tigers were killed in each year and the pelts were sold to rich land lords in Iraq until the mid-1980s. This confirms Turan's findings (1984,) who obtained his information from local hunters in the region. Baytop (1974) similarly reported that 1-8 tigers were killed each year in the Þõrnak region.
Considering that one to eight tigers were killed each year in Eastern Turkey until the mid 1980s, the tiger that was killed in Uludere was a young individual according to the stripe patterns. The Caspian tiger is likely to have existed in the region at least until the early 1990s. Nevertheless, due to lack of interest in addition to security and safety reasons, trained biologists had not attempted to survey in Eastern Turkey before."

While these anecdotal sightings do not prove that the Caspian tiger survived, researchers believe they should investigate this possibility seriously. It is likely an investigation will be made sometime in 2006.[citation needed]

Reported sightings

There are still occasional claims of the Caspian tiger being sighted, with some occurring in Afghanistan, (pug marks [tiger paw prints] have occasionally been reported), and others coming from the more remote forested areas of Turkmenistan. Alas, experts have been unable to find any solid evidence to substantiate these claims and the last reliable sighting was probably at least 30 years ago. It has also been suggested that the 'tiger' sightings may actually be Persian Leopards. Any hope of Caspian tigers in Afghanistan could be further dashed as war continues to rage across areas of the country. Trinomial name Panthera pardus saxicolor Pocock, 1927 The Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor), or Iranian leopard is one of the subspecies of leopards thats native to western Asia, The Persian leopard is endangered through out its distribution area in the Middle East. ...

Without photographic evidence, expert assessment of pug marks, attacks on animals or people, or a sighting by an expert authority, there is presently no good reason to believe that the Caspian Tiger still lives. Nonetheless, complete resolution of the matter will probably not be achieved until some time in the late 2000s, given the need to investigate the Turkish reports. This article is about the decade starting at the beginning of 2000 and ending at the end of 2009. ...


  • Nowell (2003). Panthera tigris ssp. virgata. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this subspecies is listed as extinct

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (also known as the IUCN Red List and Red Data List), created in 1963, is the worlds most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species and can be found here. ... The World Conservation Union or International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) is an international organization dedicated to natural resource conservation. ...

External links

Wikispecies has information related to:
Panthera tigris virgata
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Panthera tigris virgata

  Results from FactBites:
Forever Tigers - Vanishing Range of the Tiger (700 words)
The Caspian race was isolated from other tigers by the Himalayan Mountains, dependent on a thin stock of forest dwelling deer, and ultimately found itself in competition with humans for territory.
Today only the Sumatran tiger remains, and its continued survival is in doubt, as poaching and habitat encroachment have left it clinging to life with a total population not exceeding 400 animals.
Tigers in the Snow Introduction and photographs by Maurice Hornocker.
Recently Extinct Animals - Species Info - Caspian Tiger (1789 words)
The Caspian tiger is known to have followed the migratory herds of their preferred prey animals, such as the boar.
Considering that, one to eight tigers were killed each year in Eastern Turkey until the mid 1980s, the tiger that was killed in Uludere was a young individual according to the stripe patterns, the Caspian tiger is likely to have existed in the region at least until the early 1990s.
The five remaining tiger subspecies are the Bengal tiger Panthera tigris tigris (Linnaeus, 1758), Siberian (Amur) tiger Panthera tigris altaica (Temminck, 1844), Sumatran tiger Panthera tigris sumatrae Pocock, 1829, Indo-Chinese tiger Panthera tigris corbetti Mazak, 1968, and the South China tiger Panthera tigris amoyensis (Hilzheimer, 1905).
  More results at FactBites »



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