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PAK News Letter

Precious Animals of all Kinds


Tigers: The beauty and the beast

How much do you know about panthera tigris or the tiger? They are a member of the feline family and have retractable claws just like house cats. Their coats are usually varying shades of orange with black or brown stripes of different widths, lengths and spacing. They also usually have white on their undersides. Their eyes are yellow except for the white tigers, which are blue. Adult tigers have 30 sharp teeth; the canine teeth can measure up to 3 inches in length. These teeth suit their carnivorous diet very well.

These beautiful felines are solitary animals except for mating and rearing young. The females give birth to 2-3 young on average, which will remain with her from 1 yrs. to 3 yrs. Tigers can live 10-15 yrs in the wild and 16-20 yrs. in a healthy captive setting. That was just some general information on tigers that you may already have known but now lets explore the subspecies.

There are 5 different subspecies of tigers left, the Siberian, South China, Indochinese, Bengal, and Sumatran tigers. Each of these tigers has an uncertain future, with a combined wild population of only 5,000-7,000.

The largest and most northern living tiger is the Siberian or the (Amur). The males can weigh as much as 660 lbs. Females are considerably smaller at 200-270 lbs. There are estimated to be 360-406 left in the wild, and about 490 in captivity. The Amur primarily lives in southeast parts of Russia, and unlike most other tigers their stripes are brown instead of black. These stripes are widely spaced over the orange coat. They also have a thick white ruff about its neck.

For the South China tiger it seems nearly hopeless with only 20-30 left in the wild and only 47 in a handful of zoos. As their name implies they live only in South china. These are one of the smaller tigers, males weigh in at 330 lbs, while females tip the scales at about 240 lbs. Their stripes are short and wide.

Next is the Indochinese tiger, they tend to have a wider range that spans across most of Southeast Asia. There are about 1227-1785 left in the wild and about 60 in zoos. The males weigh about 400 lbs., females are about 250 lbs. Their coat is a dark orange with short stripes.

The Bengal tiger has the highest wild population at 3159-4715 and 333 in captivity. India is where they usually call home. The male weighs about 480 lbs. and females 300 lbs. Their stripes are thin and spaced fairly close together. The Bengal tiger gives the world the beautiful "White tigers" which is just a color variation. The white tiger is rare in the wild. Other color variations include all white and black with white/yellow stripes, these are extremely rare.

Lastly we have the Sumatran tiger which lives on the isle of Sumatra. There are about 400 left living mostly in the national parks, and about 210 in captivity. These tigers are the darkest orange coated with wide closely spaced stripes even down the forelegs. Males weigh around 264 lbs. and females only about 198 lbs. making the Sumatran tiger the smallest of the tigers.

Unfortunately in less then a century the world has lost 3 other subspecies of tiger: the Bali was gone in the 1940s, the Caspian gone in the 1970s and the Javan gone by the 1980s. There are still five subspecies left but all are endangered some critically. The cause of the disappearance of the tiger is no mystery, once again the primary reasons are habitat loss and poaching. Their strikingly beautiful coats run a high cost for the tiger along with other parts such as their tail, whiskers, eyes, brains, and bones are also stolen from the tiger for use in Chinese medicines. What will they use when the Tiger is lost? Which is a probability of the near future if we dont stop this needless poaching and habitat loss.

To learn more about tigers check out

Did you know a pug mark is what a tigers footprint is called?

Stone Horizontal Divider

The Ringed Circus

Deep in the forests of Madagascar lives the frisky primates... the lemurs. Lemurs were specially evolved to live on Madagascar, being the only type of primate species able to survive there. Ranging from small to large, all lemurs are in need of help. For their habitats are quickly disappearing in front of human eyes...
The ring-tailed lemur, or Lemur catta, is the size of normal house cats. They grow to be 41 inches long on average including their head, body, and long tail. These critters weigh 6.5 to 7.75 pounds and yet they are agile and graceful in the treetops. These cute creatures have limbs that are either gray or even a rosy brown. The heads and necks are dark gray, the undersides are white, and their faces are white with dark triangular eye patches and black noses. These lemurs get their common name from their 13 alternating black and white strips on their tails. All of these lemurs have a scent gland on their wrists and chests that they use to mark their foraging routes. Males have a horny spur on each wrist to use to grip the tree before scenting it.
These lemurs are found in south and southwestern Madagascar, while similar species live near the mountains of Andringltra on the southeastern plateau. A lemur's territory is usually 15 to 57 acres. Ring-tailed Lemurs eat fruit, leaves, flowers, herbs, and other plant parts, but sometimes enjoy small insects and small vertebrates. The ring-tailed Lemur lives up to 20 to 25 years from birth to death.
Ring-tailed Lemurs form territorial groups from 3 to 25 individuals of different ages. The females are in charge of the group and usually sticks with one group for the rest of their lives. However, males will leave to join another group after reaching sexual maturity. Ring-tailed Lemurs change their home grounds in search of food when their areas have nothing left to eat. But as a result of this, many groups encounter one another, causing everyone to be aggressive towards each other. These primates have a special way of bonding with each other, which is grooming. These lemurs have 6 lower teeth, which stick out to form a comb, which
is used then for grooming. As a group, all the members must stick together. When the lemurs move to different grounds, they use their tails as flags to direct one another to the right destination. Each lemur has a high piercing scream, which is used to alert one another of potential danger.
As the head of the troop, females get to choose whom to mate with. In the wild, ring-tailed Lemurs reach sexual maturity at 3 years of age. Mating is extremely seasonal, beginning in mid-April in the wild. After a gestation period of 134 to 138 days, females give birth to one baby, although twins are fairly common when food is plentiful. Females give birth after they reach sexually maturity, and produce offspring annually. Infants are usually born in August and September. Initially, infants cling to their mother's belly, but can ride on her back after 2 weeks. Infants sample solid food after their first week in this world, and take steps away from his or her mother in 3 to 4 weeks. Over the next 5 months, the little rascals will stay way from their mother only to return to suckle and sleep. The little lemurs will do this until they are finally weaned at 5 to 6 months of age.

The homes of these little acrobats of the forest are rapidly disappearing. The homes are turning into farmland, or being overgrazed by livestock, or harvested for charcoal production. In some areas of Madagascar, these animals are hunted for food. Long ago they were victims of the exotic pet trade until a law was established. And the sad thing is, Madagascar only protects some handfuls of lemurs under law. But there is no stop to this habitat destruction. If we try really hard to stop such destruction, the ring-tailed Lemurs will flourish and nothing has to disappear from this beautiful world.

Did you know?  The Malagasy names of the ring-tailed Lemur are Maki and Hira.

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Photos and article by Libragrrl

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