Watch This Rare Glimpse of an Entire Siberian Tiger Family

These surprising images may mean that wild tiger numbers are growing in Russia.
Mar 9, 2015·
Emily J. Gertz is an associate editor for environment and wildlife at TakePart.

Don’t blink, or you’ll miss this glimpse of an Amur tiger family padding through the snow. The fleeting images were captured by a camera trap in Russia’s Skihote-Alin Biosphere Reserve.

Conservationists are happy to see that these two adult cats have more than replaced themselves and that they and their three offspring appear healthy. They are among the world’s most endangered animals: Only about 450 Amur tigers, also called Siberian tigers, survive in the wild—up from about 40 in the mid-20th century.

Major conservation and protection efforts to save wild tigers in Russia and China are under way. These images may mean that the work is having an impact.

Wild tiger populations worldwide have plummeted 97 percent over the past century, owing to a combination of pressures that include loss of their forest habitat to logging, fatal encounters with livestock farmers, and poaching to supply the huge Asian demand for tiger parts (for use in medicinal remedies) and skins. Canine distemper has also emerged as a new disease threat to tigers.

Note tiger dad in the lead, follwed by tiger mom and three cubs. This sort of sighting is even more rare than Amur tigers themselves. Females usually raise cubs on their own, while males keep to themselves outside of mating encounters.

According to the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Russia program, this is the first time that a male has been photographed in the company of a mate and cubs.