Animals

Turan tiger (Caspian or Transcaucasian tiger)

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The Turan tiger (also Mazandaran or Caspian) (lat. Panthera tigris virgata) is a subspecies of tigers living in Central Asia. By now extinct.

This subspecies was distinguished by a bright red coat color, as well as by the length of the stripes - they were longer and had a brownish tint. In winter, the fur of this subspecies became more dense and fluffy, especially on the underbelly, and in winter, lush whiskers appeared. The Turan tiger was of rather large size, second only to the Bengali and Amur subspecies. The reliably known mass of a large Turan tiger is 240 kg, but due to the particular secrecy of this subspecies, it can be assumed that there might have been larger specimens. Habitats of this predator were reed (reed) thickets on the banks of rivers, which in Central Asia are called tugai. The food for this subspecies of tigers was gazelles, saigas, kulans, roes and wild boars. There is evidence that the migratory boar of the Turanian tiger reached East Kazakhstan and Altai. In the north, the upper limit of their permanent habitat was Lake Balkhash in Kazakhstan. In the past, it probably also met in Ciscaucasia, but was destroyed there long ago.

This subspecies was also distributed in the humid subtropical forests of Northern Iran and in river valleys in Afghanistan. As a rule, the Turanian tigers made their rookeries in impassable places, but they were sure to be close to water sources.

In Central Asia, the tiger was called "dzhulbars", "dzholbars", "yulbars". In Turkic dialects, “jol”, “jul”, “yul” means “path” (or striped leopard from the word “yul-yul” striped), thus this word can be translated as “wandering leopard” or (striped leopard). The etymology of the word is associated with the behavioral characteristics of a predator - it was able to travel hundreds and thousands of kilometers from its original location, and in a day this tiger could travel up to one hundred kilometers.

In the thirties of the 20th century, tigers were found on the banks of the Amu Darya in the Tigrovaya Balka reserve in Tajikistan near the border with Afghanistan. The last documented cases of the appearance of tigers in the territory of Soviet Central Asia were recorded in the late forties - early 1950s. The last tiger appeared on Soviet territory - on the border with Iran, in Kopetdag (Turkmenistan) (January 10, 1954) came from northern regions of Iran.

According to modern molecular genetic data, this subspecies is almost identical to the Amur tiger.
The relationship of the tiger and man

In Central Asia, local residents generally believed that tigers did not pose a threat to human life, or at least they put up with their existence alongside their dwellings. The greatest influence on the decline in the population of tigers in Central Asia had the development of Russian settlers of this region, as the Russian administration of the region made considerable efforts to destroy these predators. There is a case when on February 27, 1883, at the request of local residents, the chief of staff of the troops of the Turkestan Military District ordered a raid on tigers that appeared between Tashkent and Chinaz, and exterminate dangerous predators. For this purpose, regular military units (12th Turkestan battalion) were used.

But to a greater degree it was an indirect influence, since the mass reclamation of the floodplain lands in the beds of Central Asian rivers by man deprived the tigers of their main forage base — wild animals (wild boars and roe deer) living in tugay.

Since the tiger is the most formidable predator living in the open spaces of Central Asia, there are many legends and traditions circulating among the peoples inhabiting this region, as its ability to disguise, suddenly disappear and appear created him the glory of a super-being, a werewolf. One of these legends is associated with the name of Alexander the Great or, as it is called in the East, Iskander Zulkarnain. Allegedly, after the conquest of Central Asia and built on the shores of the Syr Darya city - Alexandria Eskhata (Khujand) plunged into sparsely populated lands in the north of the Syr Darya and around present-day Tashkent hunted tigers with darts.

As is known, in Islam there is a ban on the image of living beings, which largely determines the peculiarity of the art of the countries in which Islam was common. However, it was for tigers in Sufism, one of the branches of Islam spread in Central Asia, that a kind of exception was made, and the image of a tiger is found on carpets and fabrics, as well as on the facades of mosques and madrasas of the city of Samarkand in Uzbekistan, including one of the madrasas. famous complex of madrasahs on Registan Square.
Interesting Facts

* In Turkestan in the outskirts of Tashkent, Prince Golitsyn killed the last tiger in 1906. The effigy of this tiger killed by him until the mid-60s of the last XX century was decorated with one of the halls of the Tashkent Museum of Nature until a fire in the museum destroyed the exposition.
* The last time a Turan tiger was seen in the Amudarya delta in 1958.

Caspian tiger will bring on the Amur

The Amur tiger and the extinct Caspian tiger are, in essence, the same species.

A study conducted by an international team of biologists has shown that the Amur tiger and the extinct Caspian tiger are, in fact, the same species. This discovery gives hope to environmentalists to restore the tiger population in Central Asia.
Even before the widespread introduction of genetic methods in populations of tigers into zoology, eight subspecies were identified. One of them was the Caspian tiger Panthera tigris virgata, the last of which was killed in 1970.
But genetic analysis, first carried out in 2004, confirmed the existence of only five subspecies of these animals. To the surprise of the researchers, a comparison of the selected DNA regions of the Caspian and Amur tigers showed that they differ from each other only by one “letter” of the genetic code. In other words, these animals are a single group, which was divided into two populations only at the beginning of the last century. Since then, the Caspian and Amur tigers practically did not accumulate differences.
Meanwhile, the population of the Amur tigers, unlike the Caspian, has increased by 2006, and experts of the World Wildlife Fund have recognized that these animals are no longer on the verge of extinction. This fact gives hope to environmentalists to restore the population of tigers in the Caspian region.

Habitat

The life space of the predator stretched from the foothills of the Tien Shan along the river floodplains, seized Turkmenistan, the territory of Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan, occupied Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan. The Latin name of the subspecies Panthera tigris virgata.

The name "Turan tiger" appeared due to the name of the lowland where the predator lived. Since he also met off the shores of the Caspian Sea and in the Transcaucasian region, two more names were assigned to the beast - “Caspian Tiger” and “Transcaucasian Tiger”. According to some information, in search of prey, the beast could reach the eastern borders of Kazakhstan and Altai.

Wherever the predator lived, the main requirements for the habitat were the presence of dense vegetation, a source of running water and a sufficient amount of main prey (pigs, deer). The animals chose juniper and mixed forests, dense tugai thickets along the banks of rivers, low foothills and lowlands, occasionally met at altitudes from 1.5 to 4 thousand meters.

Within the boundaries of hunting grounds, the density of reeds was sometimes so high that the beast had to climb on its hind legs to look around. The Turan tiger in Kazakhstan lived near the lake Balkhash.

Appearance

In life and on preserved photos the Turanian tiger was a real handsome man. He combined a fascinating grace, incredible strength and power. Those who had to watch the beast in nature were impressed by the slowness and smoothness of its movements, the proud posture, the swiftness and purposefulness of the throw during the hunt.

The Transcaucasian tigers subspecies differed in quite impressive sizes. The beast had a muscular torso, a large head, small ears rounded at the ends, eyes with round pupils. Lush whiskers and thick long white whiskers gave solidity to the image.

  • The length of the torso of an adult male reached 2.6 - 2.7 meters, the torso of females had a length of 1.6 - 2.5 meters.
  • Height at withers 1.1 - 1.2 meters.
  • The length of the tail is 0.9 -1.1 meters.
  • Weight of predators ranged from 170 to 240 kg.
  • The paws were of medium length, with wide, powerful feet and retractable sharp claws.
  • The length and color of wool depended on the season. The main color of the summer fur was fiery red; in the winter it acquired an ocher hue and became not so bright. The drawing consisted of narrow, well-defined brown or brown stripes on the sides, back and legs. In winter, the wool became thicker, longer, especially on the belly and nape, from which the stripes looked much wider. There were no strips on the front paws.

The protective coloration served as a good disguise for the predator. To notice it in the reeds or the forest was almost impossible.



Lifestyle and behavior

The Turan tiger is a lonely wanderer. He did not have a permanent den and was prone to long journeys. Within the range of habitat he could have up to 15 rookeries. Some of them were on higher ground and served as observation posts, others settled in impassable thickets, in reeds, under single trees and served as a place to rest.

The predator swam well and always tried to keep close to the water. I moved with great difficulty through the high snow, but I was not afraid of cold winters.

I went hunting at any time of the day. Prey tracked down from ambush and overtook large jumps (up to six meters in length). If the predator managed to get close to the herd of ungulates, he killed only one large deer or horse, he did not pay attention to other individuals. With small game everything was different - having killed the first victim with his paw, he immediately attacked another animal.

Kulans, roes, wild boars, sheep and jackals served as food for the beast. Additional menu included frogs, fish, poultry, insects, wild berries, rodents.

Relationships with people

According to the local hunters, the predator was not afraid of man, but did not show aggression towards him. He could observe people from afar, sometimes walking past hunting lodges.

Virtually all beast attacks on humans were due to the pursuit, injury, or defense of the offspring.

There were no real cannibals among the Turanian tigers. It is reliably known about the two attacks without apparent reasons for a predator per person, dated 1880. The victims of the tiger were an unarmed officer and a woman; the place of the tragedy was the floodplains of Syrdarya.

Interesting to know

  • Scientists consider the beast a close relative Amur tiger. In their opinion, predators were descended from one ancestor and in past times had a continuous habitat. Therefore, how much Turanian tigers left in Russia is impossible to say for sure. Some Amur tigers may well be descendants of Caspian specimens.
  • Because of the love of wandering, the beast was called Dzhulbars, which in translation from the Turkic languages ​​means “wandering leopard”. In search of food or adventure, he often made many kilometers of crossings, easily overcame up to 100 km in 24 hours. From their hunting grounds could go a thousand kilometers or more.
  • The image of this predator is painted on the facade of a mosque in Samarkand (Uzbekistan), its image is found on Central Asian textiles and carpets.
  • Until the middle of the last century, the effigy of the last tiger killed in Turkestan was kept in the museum of Tashkent. The beast struck an accurate shot of Prince Golitsyn in 1906 in the vicinity of Tashkent. The exhibit was irrevocably destroyed during a fire.
  • The Central Asian hunters considered the claws of a tiger to be a talisman, driving away evil spirits from children, and sewed them onto the clothes of a child.

† Panthera tigris virgata (Illiger, 1815)

Transcaucasian or a Turanian or Caspian tiger.

The historical area of ​​this subspecies covered Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Uzbekistan, southern Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Turkey. By now extinct. The estimated number of Turanian tigers in Iran in the 19th century in Iran, Afghanistan, Transcaucasia, Central Asia and Kazakhstan was about 10,000 animals.

There is evidence that the migratory boar of the Transcaucasian tiger reached East Kazakhstan and Altai. In the north, the upper limit of their permanent habitat was Lake Balkhash in Kazakhstan. In the past, probably also met in Ciscaucasia.

In the early 1960s, the Turanian tiger was listed in the IUCN Red List. However, it was too late. Currently subspecies extinct.

In Central Asia, the tiger was called "dzhulbars", "dzholbars", "yulbars".

Turan tiger P. t. virgata was a large subspecies, second only to the Bengali and Amur subspecies. The length of the head and body is 160-270 cm, the length of the tail is 90-110 cm. Adult males weighed 170-240 kg and reached a length of 270-290 cm. Tigresses were smaller. However, due to the particular secrecy of this subspecies, it can be assumed that there might have been larger specimens.

This subspecies was distinguished by a bright red coat color, as well as the size of the strips - they were longer and had a brownish tint. In the tigers of Turkestan and the Caucasus, the seasonality differences of the fur were very sharp. In winter, the fur of this subspecies became more dense and fluffy, especially on the underbelly, and in winter, lush whiskers appeared. Summer fur in thickness and length is the same as that of Indian animals.

The general tone of the main fur is similar to the Indian and Amur tigers, but the stripes of the Turkestan subspecies are usually longer, longer and thicker. The color of the stripes is not so pure black - it is noticeably brownish or brownish.

Seasonal discoloration is also significant. The main background of winter fur, compared with summer, is less bright and red, more ocher. The bands, due to the large length of the fur, looked wider and had less sharp outlines, with contrasting and long, narrower and more frequent sides than on other tigers. In the middle they often split apart. The bands on the back were black, brownish on each side (according to other data, the side stripes are black or, sometimes, brownish). The front legs are plain, without dark stripes.

The habitat varied significantly in different physical-geographical zones. A common requirement was the presence of dense vegetation and the main prey - deer and wild pigs. In the mountainous regions of West and Asia Minor, he lived in deciduous, mixed and juniper forests at altitudes of 3000–4000 m above sea level, reaching the snow line in summer. In the Caucasus, the distribution was limited to lowlands and low foothills. Tigers lived in the depths of the forest and in dense reed beds along the banks of large and small rivers. In Central Asia, they lived on the banks of large rivers and lakes, in vast reed beds that often alternate with shrubs and woody vegetation. Mainly lived at altitudes of 1500 m and below, but in the summer could rise to 3000 m and above. The peculiarity of any tiger is the love of water. He is a good swimmer and often went into the water (fresh and salt). Important for the tiger in semi-desert areas was the presence of permanent water sources, he drank often and much, preferring running water, therefore settled along rivers more readily than near lakes.

Tigai vegetation (tugai) was a unique habitat for tigers in Central Asia along large rivers flowing from the mountains through the desert or around lakes. High and thick rushes growing along river banks were lined with floodplain forests of poplar or willow. This contributed to the growth of tamarisk, saksaul and other halophytes along the edge of the desert. Thickets were so dense that tigers sometimes got up on their hind legs to look around. The protective color of the tiger was excellent camouflage in this environment. When the tiger moved in the reeds, the striped pattern was eroded and the animal looked brownish-gray against a fuzzy background. When the tiger stood motionless in the forest, it completely merged with the background. In addition, as a rule, the tiger appeared and disappeared silently and surprisingly quickly.

Hunted at any time of the day. In the southern regions, due to the heat of the day, it was mainly active at night. The food was gazelles, saigas, kulans, roes and wild boars. Wild pigs were probably the main prey because the tiger hunted them in its entire range: in the mountain forests of the Caucasus, in the coastal tugai forests of Central Asia. He ate mostly freshly prey, but during the famine did not disdain and carrion. In addition, a hungry tiger sometimes killed jackals or houses. Not disdained and rodents, birds, turtles, frogs and insects (especially the locust during mass migrations). During spills, caught carp during spawning in shallow water. Also noted the use of the fruits of sea buckthorn and sucker.

When hunting for deer, if the herd is large enough, the tiger killed only one animal, even if the rest of the deer came close enough to it. Hunting small ungulates, sometimes killed several animals at the same time. Например, бросаясь на группу диких свиней, он убивал первое животное лапой в прыжке и сразу нападал на следующего.

Тигр сильное животное, он может перетащить лошадь или корову, весом в 1,5-2 раза больше собственного, на нескольких десятков или сотен метров. Зафиксирован случай, когда верблюды отклонились маршрута и один застрял в солончаках. Погонщики пытались спасти верблюда, но до ночи им это не удалось. Они разбили лагерь неподалеку в надежде вытащить верблюда утром. Однако ночью, несмотря на близость лагеря, тигр убил верблюда, вытащил и проволок жертву на 150 шагов.

Compared to other large animals, this predator was less afraid of man, but tried to avoid encounters. Experienced hunters who lived near the tigers for several years said that this predator watched people with dignity and curiosity, and not with aggressiveness. The tiger often followed the path of hunters and lumberjacks, visited hunting lodges, leisurely strolled along the roads to know and control what was happening on its site. Numerous stories about man-eating tigers are balanced by the same number of stories about their friendliness. The predator attacked only being injured or scared. Even cases that females attacked humans, protecting their young, are very rare.

In 1870, an equestrian hunter shot a tiger by the Syrdarya River and did not hit it. The tiger threw the hunter off the horse, pressed him with the front paws to the ground, stood there for some time, showing his superiority, and left.

Older animals and 2-3 year old young tigers often attacked livestock. Sick or wounded tigers sometimes approached the villages in search of affordable prey and even (extremely rarely) attacked people, although such cases are very rare.

In Central Asia, they attacked people very rarely and, having met unarmed people, usually quietly left. However, the Turanian tigers inhabiting the Aral Sea brought a lot of harm to the local population engaged in animal husbandry. Tigers often attacked cattle and even humans. According to archival data of 1880, a man-eating tiger killed and ate a woman collecting firewood 100 meters from the village. In the same way, the officer of the Perovsky garrison fell victim to the tiger. The animal attacked him from reed beds. The tiger returned to its prey several times, and during the night almost nothing was left of the person.

Only a female with cubs had a permanent den. As a rule, it was located in remote areas of its habitat and close to the source of water. In the floodplains of the lair could be made in dense thickets of reeds, and in Tugayniki or under single trees in the thickets of reeds. Sometimes the lairs were lined with dry leaves and grass. In solitary animals there were no permanent shelters, but within their habitats there were 10–15 beds. Sunbeds on the hills were also used as observation points.

In Transcaucasia, a den with a nest was found on an elevated position directly on the ground in a dense forest in the middle of a windbreak covered with tall and tangled grass.

Breeding in the southern part of the range took place at any time of the year, but more often it took place in winter. Polygamous tigers: 2 or 3 females usually lived on the territory of the male tiger, mating alternately with him. During estrus, females, in the absence of a male, roared, signaled readiness for mating. Marital disputes between males were often accompanied by fights, more ritual than real ones - teeth and claws in skirmishes were not used.

In the 19th century, the tiger was common in Dzungaria and Kashgaria (northwestern China), including on the Manas River, in the Tarima River basin and not far from Lob Nur Lake. The last tigers lived near the river Manas, they have not seen there since the 1950s they have not been seen there anymore.

The Turan tiger disappeared in Turkey and Iran at the end of the 20th century. Officially, the last Turan tiger was killed in southeastern Turkey in 1970.

On the Caspian coast of Iran, in the reserve on the Miankala peninsula, the last tiger was killed in 1957, in 1960 about 15-20 tigers lived in this region and, probably, some solitary animals survived until 1970.

In Georgia, the last tiger was killed in 1922 near Tbilisi, in Armenia in 1948. The last Caspian tigers were registered in the Soviet Caucasus in the foothills of the Talysh and Lenkoran river basin in south-eastern Azerbaijan in 1964, in Astara in 1961 and in Lankaran in 1963 and 1966. The last official registration of a live animal in 1969 in Lenkoran.

In western Kopetdag (Turkmenistan), the last registration of a tiger dates back to January 10, 1954. Further east, tigers met in the valley of the Tedzhen River, where they completely disappeared in the 1990s. At almost the same time, the last registrations of tigers in the valley of the Murghab and Kushka rivers (Turkmenistan) were registered.

In the southern part of the Amudarya delta, the last registration of a killed tiger dates from 1947, but single animals were observed in 1955, 1963 and 1966. One tiger was seen twice in 1968, 25 km upstream from Nukus.

In the State Museum of Karakalpakstan there is a tiger caught in 1972.

In the Gissar Valley, the last tiger was killed in 1938.

In 1938, the Tigrovaya Balka reserve was created in the lower reaches of the Vakhsh River, where no more than 10-15 animals lived by that time. In 1953, the tiger was registered here for the last time. Migratory single tigers appeared in the reserve and its surroundings as early as 1955, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1964 and 1967, but did not remain here for a long time.

The latest registrations of tigers in Tajikistan in the valley of the Pyanj River date back to 1964 and 1971.

In Afghanistan, in the coastal forests of the left bank of the Panj, the tiger disappeared in 1963. During the Afghan war (1982-1991), the tiger was registered several times on the Afghan-Soviet border. The latest information from border guards on the visual registration of a tiger dates back to 1998 in the southern part of the Babatag mountain range. There is information about the registration of traces of a tiger in the Surkhandarya region in 2008. There is also information that coalition soldiers also met tigers in northern Afghanistan, at least in 2007.

In the lower reaches of the Syr Darya, the last tiger was killed in 1933, the last visual registration of the tiger in the Syr Darya dates back to the early 1950s. In 1987, information was passed by the Ministry of Forestry of the Republic of Uzbekistan on the visual observation of a tiger by pilots in the lower reaches of the Yana-Darya or Zhanadariya (the old dry Syrdarya riverbed) in the autumn of 1986.

Almaty resident Sergei Mikhailichenko claims that he managed to meet on Balkhash with a tigress and 2 tiger cubs about 3 months old.

Turan tigers were well known in ancient Rome, where they, like the Bengal, were used for gladiator games.

According to modern molecular genetic data, this subspecies is almost identical to the Amur tiger.

Little is known about the captive Turan tigers. The Soviet ambassador to Iran in 1926 was presented with a tigress Teresa, who then lived in the Moscow Zoo and died at the age of 18.

Ally of the Turan tiger

During the struggle for survival, the Turan tiger had a tiny ally - the anopheles mosquito. The bite of this insect caused whole epidemics in humans. And until humanity learned to cope with malaria, the habitats of the Turanian predator were not touched, and there they were not hunted. After the foci of the disease were eliminated, the tigers again began to be killed in very large numbers.

Habitats

Favorite habitats near the rivers of the Turan tiger were reed beds. Predators also felt great in the forests, and they often arranged their housing in impassable thickets, where it is difficult for people to reach.

But in any case, several conditions were necessary for the tiger's habitat. The first is water, as these predators often drink a lot. The second is the abundance of food (wild boar, roe deer, etc.) where does the Turanian tiger live in winter? Now we find out. This time of year for the predators was hard. Especially if there was a lot of snow and snow drifts. Therefore, the tigers tried to make their lair in places protected from snow.

Jolbars is also a Turan tiger. So it was called in Central Asia. In Kazakh, "Jol" means the way. A "leopard" - a tramp. In translation, it turns out "wandering leopard." And the name is fully consistent with the Turanian tiger. Sometimes he loved to wander. And he often scared people with his unexpected appearance, where he had never been seen before. Turan tigers could go thousands of miles away from their homes. During the day, they could easily run ninety kilometers.

Description of the Turan tiger

Turan tigers were more than two meters long. Females are somewhat smaller. The weight of a tiger could reach two hundred and forty kilograms. The color is bright red, with narrow and frequent stripes and longer than that of its fellows. The strips could be not only black, but also brown. In winter, the fur of a Turan tiger became thicker and silky. Especially on the belly and nape. The predator wore curvaceous sideburns.

The movements of the tiger were very smooth, despite the powerful build. Jumps reached six meters in length. The Turan tigers were very graceful. Due to their protective coloration, they were perfectly camouflaged, especially in reed thickets. And in the forest, the predator could get close to the prey almost imperceptibly.

His jumps were swift. Virtually none of the animals could not resist after the attack of the beast weighing two centners. And during the jump, his stripes merged so that he seemed gray. The life cycle of tigers is fifty years old.

The Turanian tiger ate wild boars, roe deer, kulans, saigas and gazelles, attacking them near a watering place. He loved to hunt Bukhara deer. If the tiger was very hungry, he could eat a reed cat or a jackal. But the scavenger ate only as a last resort. He preferred fresh meat.

If you could not catch a big game, he did not disdain rodents, frogs, turtles, birds and even insects. Periodically I ate the fruits of sea buckthorn and sucker. Sometimes I fished in shallow water.

Causes of extinction of the Turan tigers

The main reason for the reduction and almost complete disappearance of a Turan tiger is the man’s pursuit of this beast. He was killed for hundreds of years not for the danger he allegedly posed to man. The Turan tiger attracted hunters with its beautiful skin, which was valued very dearly. Sometimes even predators were killed just for fun.

Before the immigrants arrived in Central Asia, local people coexisted quite peacefully with the tigers living nearby. People tried to avoid predators, never to catch sight, and for no reason never attacked.

The second reason for the decrease in the number of the Turan tiger is the exhaustion of the source of food. The number of wild herbivores gradually decreased. And this is the main food for large and powerful predators.

The third reason is the destruction of human flora and fauna in the tigers' habitat. People cut down forests for the cultivation of fields. With the same purpose, thickets were destroyed near rivers. Yes, and the elimination of foci of malaria also played an important role.

Where can I find a Turan tiger now?

The Turan tiger is listed in the Red Book as an endangered species. People are to blame for this, although for them he did not represent a great danger. The last tigers were seen in the last century, in the late 1950s. It was necessary to bring this predator into the Red Book much earlier in order to restore the natural number of the predator.

There is evidence that he was last seen in 1968 in the Amudarya area. Therefore, there is a possibility that the Turanian tiger is still alive. It's just that his strength has declined so much that it has become a rare opportunity to see him.

S. U. Stroganov studied these animals for a long time and watched them. He completed the characterization of the Turanian tigers with the words that it is possible to live for many years in the habitat of these predators, but never to see them, as they are very secretive, sensitive and bold.

The Turan tiger in Pakistan can only be found in the western mountainous region. The area is covered with forests and is bordered by Afghanistan. This territory is one of the less accessible to humans. And, accordingly, it is safer for Turanian tigers.

Gladiator tigers

Currently, the Turanian tiger is an endangered species. But before his number was much greater. These animals were even used in gladiator fights. Tigers were caught in Armenia and Persia. Then, bringing to Rome, the predators were trained for bloody fights. Turan tigers fought not only with their relatives, but also with lions.

In Rome, tried to arrange battles of predators with slaves-gladiators. The first Turan tiger was killed in a cage. Slaves-gladiators flatly refused to fight this predator, such fear he caused them.

Attempts to save the Turan tigers

To save the Turan tiger as a species tried in many countries. The tigress Teresa lived in the Moscow zoo for eighteen years. It was a gift from the Iranian Soviet ambassador in 1926, but the tigress did not live longer than eighteen years.

Iran has created a special reserve to protect the Turanian tigers. Its area is 100 thousand hectares. But for the free and full life of a predator, a natural area of ​​1000 square meters is needed. km And the breeding and preservation of the Turanian tigers is also complicated by the fact that these animals are lovers of wandering.

The lair of the Turan tiger

One of the zoologists was able to find and investigate the lair of the Turan tiger. To reach it, the scientist had to crawl along the path of a predator for almost two hundred meters. This road was a natural tunnel of dense vegetation thickets. The tiger's den, lined with crumpled grass, was always in the shade of the trees. An area of ​​up to forty square meters always adjoined to the habitat. She was inundated with animal bones. The smell in this place was very sharp and foul.

Turan tiger: retroinduction

In Kazakhstan, it is planned to create an Ili-Balkhash nature reserve in the near future. Up to 50,000 hectares will be allocated for it for retroinduction of a Turan tiger. The program will be attended by Russia with Kazakhstan and the World Wildlife Society. The project is planned to be implemented in twenty five years. Whether the population and the number of the Turan tiger will be restored is a matter of time, complex actions and financing.

Description of Caspian Tigers

According to rare descriptions of Caspian tigers, the body length of males exceeded 2 meters, and tigresses were slightly less. Body weight could reach 200 kilograms.

The Turan tiger is officially considered completely exterminated throughout its entire habitat.

The color of the Turan tigers is bright red, the stripes are more frequent and narrower, but longer than those of other subspecies. Sometimes the stripes are not black, but brown. In winter, the fur became thicker and silky, wool appeared on the belly and nape, and the tiger seemed shaggy.

Caspian tigers harmoniously combined the power and smoothness of the lines. This predator was somewhat heavy, but graceful. He could make long jumps up to 6 meters.

Turan tiger was known to the ancient Romans.

Due to the protective coloration, the Caspian tigers hid among the reed stalks, so they were selected as close to the prey as possible, and then made a swift flying jump.

Persian Tiger Lifestyles

The prey of these predators became wild boars, roes, kulans, saigas, gazelles, as well as the Bukhara deer Hangul. Hungry tigers could even attack reed cats and jackals. But they ate carrion in extremely rare cases.

This subspecies was distinguished by a bright red coat color, as well as strip length.

Birds, rodents, frogs, turtles and even insects became the most frequent prey for the Turanian tigers. And sometimes tigers adopted the habits of small feline and became fishermen, hunting for carp spawning in small ponds. In addition, they could regale sea buckthorn and the fruits of the sucker.

There is information that Caspian tigers migrated behind the boars and thus reached East Kazakhstan and Altai.

For Persian tigers were snow-covered winters. They made a den in places with the least snow cover. Sometimes tigers changed their habitats and began to wander. People were frightened by the unexpected appearance of these predators in places where they had not previously met. There are cases when Caspian tigers were discovered over a thousand kilometers from their native habitats. During the day they were able to easily walk about 90 kilometers.

In contrast to the miniature Balinese tiger, the Caspian tiger had an impressive size.

In 1922, the wandering Turanian tiger traveled more than 400 kilometers and ended up in the outskirts of the city of Tbilisi, where he died at the hands of man. If people did not shoot the Turanian tigers, then their life expectancy in nature would be about 50 years.

Interesting facts about Caspian tigers

The last Turan tiger was discovered in 1968 in the Amudarya delta. These tigers in Central Asia were called “jolbars” or “julbars”. In the local dialect "jul" and "jol" means "path", that is, the name can be translated as "roving leopard." The name is related to the behavior of these tigers, which, as noted, could travel great distances from the original habitats.

The last time a tiger was seen in the Amudarya delta was in 1957.

In the 1930s, Persian tigers lived in the Tigrovaya Balka nature reserve on the banks of the Amu Darya - right on the border of Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

The last documented find of the Turan tiger in Central Asia took place in the late 40s.

Local residents of Central Asia, believed that tigers are not too dangerous for people, so they put up with the existence of predators near their homes. The population of the Caspian tigers in Central Asia caused the greatest damage to Russian immigrants, since the Russian administration made a lot of efforts to destroy predators.

В 1883 году начальник штаба Туркестанских войск по просьбам местного населения устроил на хищников облаву, когда они появились между Ташкентом и Чиназом. Чтобы истребить опасных хищников, был использован регулярный 12-й туркестанский батальон. Но даже массовая охота оказала на популяцию туранских тигров косвенное влияние, а наибольшая угроза была связана с активным окультуриванием русл среднеазиатских рек. В результате тигры были лишены основной кормовой базы, так как косули и кабаны, покинули эти места.

Истребление каспийских тигров в Советской Центральной Азии было связано с уничтожением окружающей среды.

In 1906, the last Turan tiger was shot by Prince Golitsyn in the vicinity of Tashkent. Until the 60s of the 20th century, the scarecrow of this killed animal was in the Tashkent Museum. In the Moscow zoo lived a Persian tigress, but she died at the age of 18.

According to modern molecular genetic data, this subspecies is almost identical to the Amur tiger.

Legends and myths about Persian tigers

Since the tiger is one of the most formidable predators of Central Asia, a large number of tales and legends are associated with them. Tigers can disguise themselves well and jump out of their shelters unexpectedly, so they gained the fame of werewolves and super-creatures from the locals.

The stories of Turan tigers are connected with Alexander the Great, who in the East was called Iskander Zulkarnain.

Macedonian after the conquest of Central Asia and the construction of the city of Khujand (Alexandria Eskhata) on the banks of the Syr Darya River plunged into the uninhabited lands of modern Tashkent, where he led tiger hunting with the help of darts.

In Islam, it is forbidden to depict living beings, this can be seen in many Islamic countries. But for tigers in Central Asia, some exception was made, so the images of this animal can be found on the fabrics, carpets and facades of mosques in the city of Samarkand in Uzbekistan.

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