Approximately 350-400 adult Siberian or Amur tigers are left in the wild, with 95% of these individuals inhabiting the forests of the Russian Far East, where they play a critical role in both the ecosystem and local culture. The tiger is a keystone species that requires large, intact forest ecosystems and acts as an indicator of overall ecosystem health. The tiger’s cultural significance is reflected in its portrayal on the coat-of-arms of both Khabarovsky and Primorsky Krais, as well as on the insignia of their regional capitals. Indigenous peoples of the Russian Far East forbid killing the tiger, whom they called Amba, and considered that a meeting with the striped cat was a sign of bad luck.
Although poaching levels reached an estimated 60-70 tigers per year in the early 1990s, today Russian and international conservation efforts have succeeded in stabilizing the number of Amur tigers in the wild. However, there are still significant threats to this population, and the Amur tiger remains critically endangered.