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An Amur Tiger Cub Named Almaz Born in Nordens Ark Zoo in Sweden

01 december 2021
Almaz (Diamond in Russian) is the son of Sparta, the tigress, who was rescued in the Russian Far East 14 years ago. WWF congratulates Nordens Ark Zoo – a long-term partner in conservation of the northernmost group of Amur tigers in Russia – with a new addition!

Almaz was born in early November. The zoo staff had been waiting for his birth for a long time. He has already opened his eyes, and weighs almost five kilograms, but so far he only eats and sleeps near his mother's tummy. Nearby is an open enclosure, where the cub will go out to meet the world, but he will always be able to return to his “nest” with a lot of hay, where it is warm and safe, and where he can have a tasty lunch and a good night's sleep.

Almaz (Dimond in Russian) is a new little assistant in Amur tiger conservation
Marie Mattsson / Nordens Ark

His dad, the tiger Yegor, came to Nordens Ark Zoo from the Swedish Orsa Rovdjursparkin February 2021. And his mother Sparta was brought from Russia, her story is more dramatic. In February 2007, two starving tiger cubs came to the road near a remote Primorye village where lumber men picked them up and called the Inspection Tiger. Four-month-old orphaned tiger cubs were brought back to life by all efforts: one of the inspectors sheltered them in the courtyard, veterinarians from Vladivostok and the Moscow Zoo provided consultations, examination and treatment, charitable organizations including WWF Russia donated funds for medicines and food. Both local villagers and people from other regions were involved in rescuing Constance and Sparta, as the cubs were named. After the striped pets got stronger and recovered, Constance was moved to the Russian Penza zoo, and Sparta went to Sweden. They became part of the Amur Tiger European Breeding Program.

According to Emma Nygren, head of conservation programs at the Nordens Ark Zoo, “Since Sparta is such an important individual for the conservation breeding programme we are thrilled that she has given birth to a male cub. Given Sparta’s age (she was born in 2007) we weren’t sure if she would be able to reproduce again. We did see mating before with the male tiger Yegor (the father of the cub) which did not result in cubs. So, it was truly a happy surprise when we saw on the little cub on the surveillance camera”.

Both tigers had cubs before, but Almaz is their first joint highly-valued “product”. That is why the cub was named Almaz, because he is as precious as this mineral. The son of Sparta and Yegor will stay in the zoo and will become a new breeding animal.

“When I heard that Sparta had become a mother again, I immediately shared the news with my friends who helped me taking care of her and her sister in 2007. Could I have ever thought that Sparta would have such an interesting future? I am very happy for my patient and pleased to know that I took part in her life,” notes Viktor Kuzmenko, director of the Rehabilitation Center “Tigr”, a former employee of the Inspection Tiger.
New addition to the Amur tiger family
Marie Mattsson / Nordens Ark
“Nordens Ark Zoo and WWF-Sweden are our reliable partners, and the Northern Tiger Project, which they have been supporting since 2011 is one of the most effective. It is highly important that it is based on a comprehensive approach to the Amur tiger protection. Our partners in Russia are wildlife management structures of Khabarovsky and Evreiskaya province, nature reserves and national parks within the tiger home range, “Utyos” rehabilitation center, the Rehabilitation Center “Tigr”, game users and other public organizations. The project supports anti-poaching work, mitigation of conflicts with large predators, monitoring of northern tiger groups, sustainable wildlife management, educational and tourism development, and creation of new protected areas. This tremendous work has brought great results - a significant increase in the number of the world's northernmost tigers. However, the main task now is to maintain this number and prevent the increase of conflict situations with predators, our Sparta continues to help us in this work, even fare away in Sweden. And now she has a new little assistant Almaz,” says Pavel Fomenko, senior coordinator of rare species conservation unit at WWF Russia Amur branch.

Watch this happy striped couple on live feed from the tiger den:


Here is  tiger cub’s medical examination.

(с) Marie Mattsson / Nordens Ark