The appearance of tiger is unmistakable, with their striped patterning extending down the sides of the body. The ground color is quite variable, however, and may vary from a pale yellow through to reddish ochre, depending on the area of origin. The Siberian race (Panthera tigris altaica) is both the palest in coloration and the largest in size, weighing as much as 700 lb (320 kg), which makes these the biggest cats in the world.
Tigers can be found in a wide variety of environments, although they require adequate cover so they can ambush their prey (large herbivores) which must be available in the area. They are also rarely found far from water. The size and potentially aggressive nature of tigers towards people, and particularly to farm livestock, has meant that their conservation, following decades of big game hunting, represents a particular challenge. The aim of Project Tiger in India, set up in 1972, is to safeguard the future of the species in that country through a series of reserves and buffer zones to prevent direct conflict with people. Other subspecies have not been so lucky which are struggling for survival
Although its original home was in the snowy wastes of Siberia the tiger's natural preference is for thick cover. It has, however, adapted to life in rocky mountainous regions and the dense steaming jungles of Malaya and islands such as Java and Bali. It cannot tolerate excessive heat. The tiger is an excellent swimmer and in times of flood has been known to swim from one island to another in search for food. Unlike most members of the cat family it is not a good climber and seldom takes to the trees. A tiger preys on deer, antelope, wild pig and smaller animals such as monkeys and porcupines. It will take fish and turtles in time of flood and locusts in a swarm. It occasionally attacks larger animals such as wild bull buffaloes. When food is short it may steal cattle, and an old or injured tiger too weak to hunt may attack humans.
A female starts to breed at about 3 years of age and then has a litter every third year, or sometimes sooner. Three to 4 four cubs are born, occasionally as many as six. The mortality among cubs is high and usually not more than two survive to adulthood. They are born blind and helpless, weighing only 2-3 lb, but they grow rapidly and at 7 months they can kill for themselves, but stay with their mother until 2 years old. During this period she trains them in hunting.
These tiny monkeys move by leaping and running and their vocalization is a chirp that resembles that of a cricket. One of
Tiger Panthera tigris