Eli5: why are there tigers in Siberia but not in Scandinavia?


Eli5: why are there tigers in Siberia but not in Scandinavia?

In: 3

Siberia is huge and largely empty of humans, giving plenty of space for tigers to hunt and their thick coats help them resist the cold.

The Siberian tiger lives almost exactly half way around the world from Scandinavia. It lives on the eastern coast of Siberia while Scandinavia is to the west of Russia. There were other tigers living closer, the Caspian tiger. But this have recently gone extinct due to the vast amount of forests that was converted to farmland in the 19th and 20th century.

Tigers generally prefer large sparse forests and have adopted to these conditions. Scandinavia have a lot of dense forests and mountains which is not the type of area the tiger prefers. So if tigers did at some point push more into Scandinavia, for example from Ukraine, then they would have been out performed by wolves and bears who are much better in those kinds of conditions.

Siberian tigers only technically live in Siberia

Sibera is all of Russia west of the Ural mountains which is like 80% of Russia’s area and like 4000 miles wide

The Siberian Tiger’s range is Korea and the edges of China and Russia near there. Technically that part of Russia is Siberia but Scandinavia is closer to New England than the tigers range in Russia

The part of Siberia where the tigers live isn’t the stereotypical taiga you are probably imagining. Google “Ussuri broadleaf and mixed forests”, “Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve” or “Ussurisky Nature Reserve”. It’s very far south, far enough that the boreal taiga is replaced by a temperate forest, not unlike those in China, Korea or Japan.