Why Are Siberian Tigers Becoming Extinct?

Siberian tigers are on the endangered list and their numbers, while currently stable, have declined because of poaching and loss of habitat. The poaching is done to procure body parts, typically used in Chinese medicine. The habitat loss is due to logging and more humans moving into their territory.

Even though it is illegal in China to kill tigers for this purpose, trade in tiger parts is a large business. Siberian tigers are prized because they are the largest of their kind, topping 13 feet in length and weighing as much as 700 pounds. Parts such as tiger bone, eyes and penises are illegally shipped around the globe to countries including the United States, Great Britain and Japan. The product is also used in creams, pills and powders, which are not usually covered by the embargo.

The loss of habitat is equally worrisome. At one time they roamed across north eastern China, Korea and Mongolia, as well as across Siberia. Today, most are found in the mountains near the Amur River in southeast Russia. Logging has taken a toll on the thick forests, fragmenting the tigers' territories and restricting their movements. The logging roads also allow poachers to invade more remote areas, compounding that problem.