Turan tiger, he of the Transcaucasian and Caspian, even a century ago, was a common inhabitant of riparian forests located on the territory of Central Asia.
To date, to our deepest regret, this subspecies of tigers are preserved only in the notes of eyewitnesses, the images of arts and crafts, as well as in legends and superstitions.
Caspian tiger: the area
The territory that was occupied by the Turan tiger, is very extensive: the foothills of the Tien Shan along the river banks, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Iraq and Turkey.
The name “Panthera Tigris” was received on the habitat of predators to regions of Central Asia, which bore the ancient name.
Since his tenure covered the coast of the Caspian sea and Transcaucasia, the animal received two of the name “Caspian tiger” and “Caucasian tiger”. Based on numerous reviews by local residents, which are preserved in the records of eyewitnesses, the beast in search of prey could reach the Eastern borders of the Altai and Kazakhstan.
It should be noted that wherever the beast was, the main requirements for the habitat was thick vegetation, plenty of prey and a large number of sources with running water. Animals, as a rule, preferred the mixed and juniper forests, and dense riparian thickets along the banks of rivers, and low foothills and lowlands. Pretty rare, but still the tigers met at the height of from 1.5 to 4 km.
Within hunting grounds the density of the reeds were so high that the animal had to climb up on his hind legs to see what is happening around. Panthera Tigris in the territory of Kazakhstan was inhabited in the area of lake Balkhash.
Caucasian tiger: causes of extinction
The number of representatives of subspecies in the nineteenth century was of the order of 10 thousand heads, and in half of the XX century, the Turanian tiger was completely destroyed. The main reason for the extinction of an animal was a significant decrease in food resources, and the treacherous actions of people who are deprived of a predator right to life.
The conflict between man and beast was provoked in the attack on the livestock.
Kyrgyz farmers suffered huge losses, so they were forced to repel the Turanian tiger. To catch a beast, hunters had to build a special cage without a solid bottom. A few people came into the cell and rapidly started to approach the pride of the beasts. When the predator sought to the cage, it is practically in an emphasis have struck shots.
It is worth noting that the extermination of the Turanian tiger is encouraged by the authorities, even when absolutely necessary in these actions. For the dead animal was supposed big prize, further provoke the local population. Hunting for a Turanian tiger were sent detachments of Cossacks and soldiers of border guards on the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya, in confirmation of which is evidenced by numerous facts.
Among the border officers, it was thought that the hunting of tigers raises the morale of the soldiers, allows them to feel fearless. Hard training exercises attacks on the beast in terms of impenetrable thickets that carried the greater threat to the people and gave many advantages to the predator. Quite often, the battle with the predator was over for hunters serious injuries or even death.
Approved that the last tiger was killed in 1933 on the banks of the Syr Darya, and in 1970 the Transcaucasian tiger was declared extinct subspecies.
Description of appearance
Based on the descriptions of witnesses and surviving photographs of predator, we can say that he was a very handsome man. The body of the beast had incredible grace, great strength and power. Those who managed to watch the predator in the wild, noted that they are slow, their movement is smooth and graceful, the posture is upright, but during the hunt they are swift, powerful throw and purposefully.
It is worth noting that the Raptor was quite impressive. Physiology developed perfectly, muscled torso, head, big sizes, petite and slightly rounded ears, the eyes had round pupils.
Frightening image and at the same time was seen a long white mustache and lush sideburns:
- Body length of adult individuals ranged from 2.6 to 2.7 meters in males and from 1.6 to 2.5 meters in females.
- Height at withers ranged from 1.1 to 1.2 meters.
- Tail length was not less than 0.9 meters.
- The average weight of an adult was 220 lbs.
- Paws was peculiar to the average length of the foot was broad and powerful, with retractable sharp claws.
- The color and length of coat were varied, depending on the time of year. The most common summer color was fiery red and the winter he passed in ocher tones. In winter the hair became more fluffy, thick and long, especially in the area of nape and belly, making stripes visually seemed much wider. On the front paws of the characteristic bands were not.
The behavior and lifestyle of the predator
It was noted that the Turanian tigers did not get off to the lair, each of them was traveling alone a stranger.
Within-site habitat and other species have had about 15 rookeries. Some of them were located on upland areas, so that the beast would be there to observe what is happening, and others were in the reeds and impenetrable thickets, they served as a place to stay.
Animals of this subspecies impeccably sailed, so I try to always stay near water. As for snow, then it is a tiger was moving with great difficulty, and the snow was not afraid.
Went out predator hunting at any time of the day. Production was carefully tracked from ambush, after which rapid jumps of length up to 6 meters, quickly overtook his victim. If the tiger approached the herd of ungulates, it was one beast, but with a miniature game things were different – after killing the first victim, he was fleeing for others.
Relationships with people
According to the local residents, the predator was not afraid of man, but was not aggressive towards him. He often was seen watching people from afar, occasionally able to afford a walk along the cabins.
The vast majority of attacks on humans was provoked by the protection of offspring, wounding or stalking. Cannibals among the Caspian tigers was observed.
We only know of two attacks without apparent reason in 1880. Victims of a predator become a woman, and an unarmed officer in the floodplains of the Syr Darya.
Mating was carried out for the entire year, but most often it occurred in the winter. Disputes and conflicts between males were more symbolic in nature, the course was not teeth and claws, they were limited to snarling at each other. In the realm of one male lived at least two females with whom he mated alternately. On the ready to mate females are reported independently using urinary markers or Reva.
Caring for future offspring is entirely the responsibility of the expectant mother. Even before the birth of pups, the female settled in the den in remote locations. The inner part of it was arranged with the help of dry grass and leaves. Reliably hard to say, but scientists suggest that pregnancy lasted about 3 months. The litter consisted of no more than three cubs.
The first few months, mom was feeding the cubs milk, and after two months began to gradually accustom them to the meat. Since six months, the young Caspian tigers are already accompanied her mother during a hunt, and at the age of one year was able without assistance to hunt the young of ungulates. Reaching the age of two, the raptors were able to cope with the big game.
It is interesting to know
- Central Asian locals believed that the Turanian tiger claws are a talisman that protects against evil spirits. They were often sewn to the clothing of small children.
- Until the mid XX century in the Museum of the city of Tashkent was kept stuffed the last killed in Turkmenistan beast. Unfortunately, during the fire, the exhibit was permanently destroyed.
- The image of this predator is depicted on the facade of the mosque in Samarkand, as well as the image of a predator is found in Central Asian carpets and other textiles.