The five members of the genus Panthera are also called the ‘big cats’. The next few posts will feature my favorite portraits of each species.
Today I start with the largest living cats on earth: Tigers (P.tigris). Six subspecies (Bengal- , Sumatran-, Amur-, Indio-chinese-, Bengal-, South China- Tigers) still exist in the wild and all of them occur ‘naturally’ only in Asia even if some of these magnificent creatures have also been released in some game reserves in South Africa.
I took the portrait of this Bengal Tiger in 2012 at the Nashville Zoo, Tennessee, USA.
I promised a few more images from my recent trip to the USA. I am still working on sorting out all the images, but I had to put these four together to a collage. Thanks to Chris M. for taking me around the zoo during my visit to see all my old friends.
As much as I love my cats at home (Lion, Leopard and Cheetah) I miss the Eurasian Lynx, the Bengal Tigers, the Clouded Leopards and the Cougars/Mountain Lions at the Nashville Zoo. Jackson, the old gentlemen in this picture (mountain lion) is one of my favourite (and one of Heather’s favourite, too :-).
A direct stare of a fully grown tiger from a few feet away is making you feel a bit squeezy in the the stomach, even if you know that you are safe behind the fence.
I took this picture last week at Nashville Zoo at Grassmere as part of a series of “eye level” Bengal Tiger pictures.
Here are the technical details (for the photographers among you :-): The shot was taken through chain-linked fence with the lens a few inches from the fence. The chain link openings were only 2/3 of the lens diameter. The animal was moving at the time towards the camera (lens 70mm – aperture f/2.8 – shutter speed 1/1500sec – ISO 1600 – aperture control mode – continous focus mode – central focus point only – exposure compensation +/-0 – crop approx.50%).
The Tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest cat species, reaching a total body length of up to 3.3 metres (11 ft) and weighing up to 306 kg (670 lb). Their most recognizable feature is a pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with lighter underparts. Tigers once ranged widely across Asia, from Turkey in the west to the eastern coast of Russia. Over the past 100 years, they have lost 93% of their historic range, and have been extirpated from southwest and central Asia, from the islands of Java and Bali, and from large areas of Southeast and Eastern Asia. Today, they range from the Siberian taiga to open grasslands and tropical mangrove swamps.
The remaining six Tiger subspecies (Bengal Tiger, Indochinese Tiger, Malayan Tiger, Sumatran Tiger, Amur or Siberian Tiger, South China Tiger) have been classified as endangered by IUCN. The global population in the wild is estimated to number between 3,000 to 4,000 individuals, with most remaining populations occurring in small pockets that are isolated from each other. Major reasons for population decline include habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation and poaching.