When “Amir” is not feeling well, a trip to the vet is not an easy option.
That is because “Amir” is a nearly 500-pound Siberian Tiger that resides at Tiger Creek Refuge in Tyler, TX.
Facility director Terri Werner said he has been having problems keeping food down and has been acting differently so she decided to get him checked out.
“We pay super close attention to these animals because our mission is to provide for their welfare and also raise awareness to the plight in the wild. Siberians are the largest cat species in the world and although Amir is a huge cat, he is susceptible to problems like any other creature,” Werner said.
TF&G was granted a rare opportunity to document a tiger medical exam that shows how much work goes into taking care of these cats.
Initial results of the exam showed nothing but further tests are being conducted to ensure the 13-year old tiger’s health. There are fewer than 700 Siberian tigers left in the wild and the number in zoos, sanctuaries and in private collections around the world is falling due to restrictive laws and a variety of other factors.
“If we’re going to conserve tigers in the long run we have to study the genetics of captive cats and consider options there. We also need to use animals like Amir as ambassador animals to inspire people to get involved in wildlife conservation and understand the effects of habitat loss and poaching,” Werner said.
There were an estimated 100,000 tigers in the wild in 1900 and there are fewer than 3,000 left among all subspecies throughout Asia. The time is ticking on tiger populations and unless drastic action is taken these iconic animals will be functionally extinct in the wild in short order.
To learn more about what you can do to help tigers and for information on visiting Tiger Creek, go to http://www.tigercreek.org.