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Премия рунета 2017

People managed to rescue and reunite Amur tiger family

08 march 2018
A unique many-days-long operation on catching two tiger cubs, whose mother was captured early in February, has successfully finished in Primorye. Thanks to the joint efforts of WWF Russia, the Primorsky Province Hunting Department, the Amur Tiger Center and Rehabilitation Centre the tiger family has finally reunited.

The village of Aleksei-Nikolskoye located less than 40 km away from Ussuriisk became the center of human-tiger conflict early in January. The predator got into habit to steal dogs from the villagers. Measures to scare the tiger away did not help – the animal behavior was not typical, it was frightened neither by the flashlights nor by people’s shouts. To protect the villagers from any possible encounters with the dangerous animal and to save the tiger from the bullet, it was decided to capture it. On February 2, the Conflict Resolution Group of the Primorsky Province Hunting Department with the support of public organizations managed to capture the young female tiger and place her in the Alekseevka Rehabilitation Center. 

Ekaterina Blidchenko, the vet at PRNCO Tiger Center
Horses made the operation much easier
Yulia Fomenko / WWF Russia

But it was not the end of the story. The experts had to know whether she had cubs. Was she stealing the dogs and taking them away from the village instead of eating her easy prey habitually right on the site to feed her cubs?

The search for allegedly existing cubs began the day after the tigress capture. It was not easy because there was practically no snow on the surrounding fields.

Staff of Hunting Department split into groups started to search the area and found tracks of a cub and a bed, arranged by its mother in a tall grass. Later it became clear that there are two cubs. Thanks to the joint efforts the cubs were captured and placed in the Alekseevka Rehabilitation Center. They turned out to be two females 6-7 month old. From the visual check the cubs looked healthy and well-fed. All necessary tests were taken.

 

Got it!
Not hard to carry, just 38 kilos
Pavel Fomenko, head of rare species department of WWF Russia Amur branch
Paw size 8 cm
Yulia Fomenko / WWF Russia
According to Pavel Fomenko, head of rare species conservation unit at WWF-Russia Amur branch, “The field rescue operation to capture a tiger family: the female with two cubs, has successfully finished. It turned out to be a very difficult technical task with lots of people, horses, and special equipment used. Lack of snow and very dense vegetation complicated the mission. For the first time we employed horses that have proved to be the best means for finding and capturing cubs. During the operation, Hunting Department had a unique experience to improve cooperation within a large group of people and tested special equipment for capturing. We all hope that after the rehabilitation in the Alekseyevka Center the tiger family will return to their home, into the wild. We are grateful to local people of the villages of Borisovka, Krounovka and Putsilovka, who helped us to catch tigers.”
Now everything depends on the behavior of their mother. If everything is ok then in May she can be released into the wild together wither her cubs. This is the best option for the tiger family. If it turns out that she cannot be released into the wild, the cubs will stay at the Center. When they confirm the readiness to be released they will be brought back into the wild in spring 2019.
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