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Reproductive Parameters of Wild Female Amur (Siberian) Tigers (Panthera tigris altaica)

Linda L. Kerley, John M. Goodrich, Dale G. Miquelle, Evgeny N. Smirnov, Howard B. Quigley and Maurice G. Hornocker
Journal of Mammalogy
Vol. 84, No. 1 (Feb., 2003), pp. 288-298
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1383657
Page Count: 11
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Reproductive Parameters of Wild Female Amur (Siberian) Tigers (Panthera tigris altaica)
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Abstract

We monitored reproduction of 11 female Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) on and near the Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Zapovednik, Russia, 1992-2000, using radiotelemetry, capture, and conventional tracking (using snow and soil substrates). Tigers gave birth in all but 3 months of the year, with a peak in late summer (χ 2=10.68, d. f. = 3, P = 0.014; n = 19 litters from 11 mothers). Minimum age of 1st reproduction for 4 tigers was 4 ± 0.4 years (mean ± 95% confidence interval). Mean interval between litters was 21.4 ± 4.4 months (n = 7 pairs of consecutive litters for 4 tigers). Mean litter size was 2.4 ± 0.6 cubs (n = 16 litters of 9 tigers) when litter size was 1st determined but, due to 41-47% cub mortality (n = 19 litters), decreased to 1.3 ± 0.5 cubs (range = 0-4, n = 19 litters) by the time cubs were 12 months old. At least 57% of cub mortality was anthropogenic. Mean age at dispersal was 18.8 ± 1.5 months (n = 5 litters). Mean reproductive rate was 1.4 cubs/year, but only 0.7 cubs/year survived up to 12 months old. We believe that recent conclusions that tiger populations can grow and recover rapidly from substantial losses may be overly optimistic.

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