A tiger killed by train
The Wildlife and Protected Areas Management Department of Khabarovsky Province received this information late in the evening from the transport police. The rapid response team of the Department immediately went to the site to confirm the accident and remove the body for the examination.
“The place where the tiger got under the train is being regularly monitored by the Khabarovsky Province Hunting Department as it is one of a few forested areas immediately adjacent to the Ussury River and, in fact, is regarded a corridor for the wild animals movement to the neighboring China. I’d like to highlight that in the long history of tiger research the rare animal got hit by a train for the first time, comments Pavel Fomenko, head of rare species conservation unit at WWF Russia Amur branch.
The victim turned to be about 4-5 month old female tigress. Visual examination revealed a spinal fracture and numerous hematomas.
“It is very sad that the little tigress died. If the initial version with the train is confirmed we can assume that the cub was crossing the railways, got scared by the sound of the approaching train, stopped and tried to hide himself. However, this should be proved by the autopsy results. High mortality of young tigers under one year old due to natural reasons is a well-known fact. In combination with the anthropogenic factors these are the criteria that keep the tiger population from the fast growth,” notes Sergei Aramilev, director of Far Eastern branch of the Amur Tiger Center.
The experts note that the visual examination revealed neither signs of gunshot wounds nor signs of a human presence at the accident site.
“When investigating the site, the tracks of a tigress with a cub were found. Also, about 30 kilometers away from the predator’s body we found a place where the tigress was hunting with her cubs before the accident took place. It looks like the cub had not enough time to cross the railways and got under the train. However, the examination should confirm these guesses, notes Yury Kolpak, head of the Wildlife Protection Department at the Khabarovsky Province Hunting Department. – “The efforts on the cub’s removal was complicated by his mother that stayed nearby and wandered around the place. Experts heard her roaring all the time”.
The exact conclusions will be announced after the complete examination to be carried by the experts of the Amur Tiger Center, diagnostic center of animal diseases at Primorskaya State Agricultural Academy, and WWF Russia.