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Премия рунета 2017

A secret of Cinderella’s second litter is out

16 april 2019
Russia, Evreiskaya Province. Camera trap monitoring carried out in Bastak Nature Reserve with WWF Russia’s support allowed to determine the gender of two tiger cubs born by Zolushka (Cinderella in English) in 2017 – they are a boy and a girl.

Zolushka was rescued from death at the age of 5-6 months in the southwestern Primorye in 2012. After the course of rehabilitation at the Rehab Center in Alekseevka she was released into the wild in the Bastak Nature Reserve in 2013 to mate a local tiger male.

Tigress named Cinderella
Bastak Nature Reserve
In autumn 2015 she delivered the first litter – two boys, and in summer 2017 two more cubs were born. In winter 2018-2019 one cub was defined as a boy, but the second one’s gender was unknown for quite a long time. The analysis of camera trap images allowed identifying the second tiger cub as a girl!
A cub of Cinderella
Bastak Nature Reserve
“After six years spent in Bastak Nature Reserve, the tigress gave birth to four cubs altogether, three of them are males. In most cases hunting area of an adult tiger male is individual meaning that no other male is allowed here. Two males from the first litter have left the territory of the nature reserve in search of their own “homes”. The third male who has already reached the adult age will probably have to leave this area as well as the most part of this territory is occupied by the resident male named Bastak,” comments Olga Polkovnikova, research officer of the Bastak Nature Reserve.
A cub of Cinderella
Bastak Nature Reserve

The appearance of one more female has a great importance. They do not compete for the territory. Mother-tigress can share a part of her hunting plot with her daughter. The young tigress will not have to look for a new territory to settle and will not face additional risks thus increasing the reproductive success.

“This is great news for us as the increase of females is a key to successful existence of the tiger group in Evreiskaya Province. WWF Russia helped to create and develop the network of camera trap monitoring in the Bastak Nature Reserve having purchased camera traps, fuel, spare parts for the vehicles, and other equipment for safe field work of the rangers,” notes Alexei Kostyria, coordinator of rare species conservation unit at WWF Russia Amur branch.
According to the expert estimates, the Bastak Nature Reserve can provide residence to 3-4 female tigers so the chance for the young female cub to stay in the reserve is quite high. The specialists hope that the permanent tiger group in the reserve will keep growing.

Conservation of the Amur tiger in the Russian Far East is supported by the Amur Tiger Centre and WWF Russia.

Photo credits: Bastak Nature Reserve
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Senior Project Coordinator