Luca - The Big Cat Sanctuary


Panthera Tigris Altaica/Amur TigerEndangered

Interesting facts about Luca

  • Luca was born at Banham Zoo, it didn't take him long to test the water in the pool. And, he loves it!
  • He was one of two cubs born to mum Mishka in March 2021, he arrived at the Sanctuary in July 2023
  • This adorable stripey boy is very inquisitive and loves to explore and play with everything in his enclosure
  • Whilst he is still young, he demonstrates a very gentle and playful nature, this may change as he gets older but we love him just the way his is!
  • Luca weighs approx 145kg an adult Amur tiger can weigh up to 450 pounds and grow to be 10 feet long from head to tail
  • Luca was born from an EEP recommended genetic match and is an ambassador for his species who are classed as endangered on the IUCN redlist

Luca's story

Luca was born as one of two cubs at Banham Zoo on 7th October 2021 to parents Mishka and Kuzma following on from a breeding recommendation to support the Amur tiger captive breeding programme (EEP).

The story was slightly unusual, this tiger family were living perfectly as a family Mum, Dad and sibling cubs Luca and Kira. Sadly the father had to be put to sleep after a heart failure diagnosis, but mum continued to live with her two cubs.

It was a couple of months after Kuzma (Luca’s father) passed away that Mishka gave birth to another litter of cubs. This was a wonderful legacy to Kuzma but it did mean that Luca needed to be moved more quickly than usual.

In the short-term he was moved to Banham’s sister park, Africa Alive. But, The Big Cat Sanctuary were delighted to be told we could have Luca join the Sanctuary’s cat family.

From the moment he arrived he took everything in his stride and is loving life! He is totally adorable!


About Amur tigers

Of the five remaining sub-species, the Amur, or Siberian, tiger is the largest.  The Amur tiger is also known as the Siberian tiger. They can be found in the far Eastern Russia’s Amur Valley. They are also the largest naturally occurring cat in the world. They have several distinguishing features in the coat colour and stripe pattern when compared to the other sub species. Amur tigers can live in sub-zero temperatures due to their longer, thicker fur coat.

Amur tigers are typically paler in colour with a pale orange coat and comparatively wide stripes. In contrast, the Sumatran tiger is very deep orange with thin stripes that are very closely banded together. The fur is very thick and coarse, due to the extreme variation in temperature in their native range.

About Amur tigers

The Amur tiger typically inhabits pine forest, where they have an abundance of species to prey on. During times when food is scarce, Amur tigers have been known to prey upon young bears. They often attack brown bears, as they are not known climbers like the black bear, who can often escape tiger attacks using the trees.

Due to their harsh environment, there is no specific breeding season and mating may occur year round. Females in season will typically spend 5 days with a wandering male, but will only be receptive for 3 of these days. Gestation is relatively short; 3-3½ months, after which 2-4 cubs are born and solely cared for by the female. Female cubs typically spend much longer with their mother than male cubs, who will move away to find home ranges of their own.

The main threats to the wild Amur tiger population are very similar to those facing other big cat species; loss of habitat, poaching for the fur trade and the use of tiger body parts in the traditional medicine trade.

IUCN Red List Category Endangered(EN)

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