Hey Henry

Hey Henry,

The Zoo used to call its tiger "Siberian tiger." But when the cubs were born, the Zoo called them "Amur tigers." Why did the name change?

Eddie, Bethel Park

Hi Eddie,
The scientific name for this animal is Panthera tigris altaica. This name remains the same from country to country, all around the world. The common name, Siberian tiger, was, and still is, in use by many respected institutions, including the National Geographic Society. Common animal names can vary from region to region. The alternative common name for this tiger is Amur tiger. This name is more definitive of its current range near the Amur river in Siberia. Although once plentiful in Siberia, the tiger population has been depleted to fewer than 500 animals, most of them found in the Sikote-Alin Mountain range. The Association of Zoos and Aquarium's Tiger Species Survival Plan voted to adopt Amur tiger as the official name to more accurately reflect its current range. Confusing, is it? To add to the confusion, the Amur River is known as the Black Dragon River by the Chinese who live on the other bank. Even the river has two names!

Henry