Siberian tigers become ‘tubby tabbies’ after appetite grows in winter

Siberian tigers become ‘tubby tabbies’ after their appetite grows in winter

  • The portly cats increased their food intake during winter to prepare for the cold   
  • Net users poked fun at the big cats at a tiger park in Liaoning, north-east China
  • The tigers’ appetite grows about 30 per cent during the winter, a zoo worker said

A group of rather tubby Siberian tigers spotted lolling at a park in north-east China has become the latest internet sensation. 

While many net users have poked fun at the portly big cats filmed at the Shenyang Guaipo Siberian Tiger Park in Liaoning province, some have raised concerns about the health of the animals. 

However, a staff member at the zoo said it is natural for the tigers to devour more over the winter months in order to survive the harsh weather.    

A group of rather tubby Siberian tigers spotted lolling at the Shenyang Guaipo Siberian Tiger Park in Liaoning province in north-east China has become the latest internet sensation

While many net users have poked fun at the portly big cats, others have raised concerns about their health. A staff member said it is natural for the tigers to put on weight in winter


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The weight of a male Siberian tiger, which can weigh up to 320 kg (700 lb), increases by about 10 per cent in winter as its appetite grows about 30 per cent, according to Liu Changcheng, a staff member at the park.

Temperatures in Shengyang could fall to as low as -22C on many winter nights, prompting the tigers to consume more food during the day, Liu told Beijing News. 

Earlier reports of a similar phenomenon last year revealed that each tiger consumes at least eight kilograms of meat during winter, compared with six kilograms in the summer.  

Temperatures in Shengyang could fall to as low as -22C on many winter nights, prompting the tigers to consume more food during the day, a staff member at the zoo told Beijing News

The weight of a male Siberian tiger, which can weigh up to 320 kg (700 lb), increases by about 10 per cent in winter as its appetite grows about 30 per cent, according to a staff member

The majestic creatures, which can grow over three metres in length and run at speeds of 50 miles per hour, live outdoors at the park all year round. 

Another factor contributing to their chubby appearance is the colour of their coat, Liu said. 

A tiger’s summer coat is coarse, while the winter coat is longer, softer and denser – giving it a shaggy appearance. The coat transition happens every year between August and December, Liu added. 

‘It’s just the same for us humans – different people have different body shape and sizes!’ he added. 

While many net users have poked fun at the portly big cats, others have raised concerns about their health. A staff member said it is natural for the tigers to put on weight in winter

In May, the Shenyang zoo welcomed 24 Siberian tiger cubs in a month during the species’ mating season, boosting the population of the endangered animals

Net users joked that they should do the same and overeat to keep themselves warm during winter. 

‘I get fatter too, during the winter months,’ one user said.  

‘I still think being fatter is always more preferable than being too skinny!’ another comment read. 

‘Oh my god, they look like pigs!’ another user said. ‘Is that healthy?’

In May, the same zoo welcomed 24 Siberian tiger cubs in a month during the species’ mating season, boosting the population of the endangered animals.

Last year, videos and images showing a group of obese-looking Siberian tigers at another zoo went viral online, sparking animal welfare concerns.   

Last year, videos and images showing a group of obese-looking tigers at the Siberian Tiger Park in Harbin, Heilongjiang province went viral online

After the incident went viral, the tigers at the state-run park were placed on a diet

Siberian tigers have been facing unrelenting pressures from poaching, retaliatory killings and habitat loss, driving them to the brink of extinction

After the incident, the tigers at the state-run Siberian Tiger Park in Harbin, Heilongjiang province were placed on a diet as well as made to do more exercise. 

Siberian tigers, also known as Amur Tigers, are the largest cats in the world and can reach up to 20 years of age in the wild. 

The big rare cats have been facing unrelenting pressures from poaching, retaliatory killings and habitat loss, driving them to the brink of extinction, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). 

There are about 540 wild tigers around the world, according to WWF. From 2012 to 2014, at least 27 wild Siberian tigers were spotted in north-east China.  

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