Banham Zoo in Norfolk have announced the birth of two Siberian Tiger cubs. These cubs are considered to be a little more special than normal for this rare species as their father, Kuzma, has rare genetics that improves the diversity of breeding stock. There is more about the birth of these rare cubs on the Banham Zoo website as well as the BBC News Website.
There are now thought to be more Siberian Tigers in captivity than in the wild. When things are like that for a species it is a clear sign things aren’t good.
I recently reviewed the BBC program Operation Snow Tiger about these magnificent creatures. That program showed us just how at risk this species is in the wild, most alarmingly they brought news that while they filming in Russia the Russian Police found eight Tiger corpses in one raid on poachers. With an estimated 350 animals in the wild that represents over 2% of the wild population.
Obviously breeding these, and other, rare animals in captivity is vitally important to keep the species alive. But more important still is the wild population. You can learn more about their conservation I recommend WCS Russia’s website. You can aid the rehabilitation of orphaned wild Siberian Tigers by visiting Phoenix Fund.
We are the direct cause of the crisis for many wild species across the world, due to such things as aggressive hunting or reduction in habitat. For Siberian Tigers the biggest threat is poaching as mentioned above. For their cousins the Bengal Tiger it is a reduction in habitat alongside poaching. Simply put, anything that we can do to stop the extinction of a species in the wild has to be for the benefit of everyone, we are so much poorer with each species we lose.
I hope that one day the vital genetics that these cubs retain can one day be re-introduced in to the wild population.