Caspian Tiger

Big C AT of West Asia, presumed extinct since the 1970s.

Scientific name: Panthera tigris virgata.

Variant name: Hyrcanian tiger.

Distribution: Talysh, Azerbaijan; the Cudi Mountains of Turkey and Iran.

Significant sightings: The Caspian subspecies of tiger formerly had a vast range from Afghanistan, Turkestan, and Kazakhstan through the Caucasus to Iran and Turkey. The last time a living specimen was seen was in Afghanistan in 1967. A fresh skin had been purchased by a druggist in eastern Turkey sometime in the 1970s, but it has not been properly examined and may have been an illegally obtained Bengal pelt. However, hunters in Azerbaijan and Turkey still report hearing and seeing it.

Sources: Nikolai Spassov, "Cryptozoology: Its Scope and Progress," Cryptozoology 5 (1986): 120-124; Karl Shuker, "Tracking a Turkish Tiger," Fortean Times, no. 146 (June 2001): 46.

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