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Amur tiger rare arrival on 51st parallel ends up with death

10 february 2012
Detailed examination of the Amur tiger killing was conducted within the framework of the WWF's project Northern Tiger.

Extremely undernourished animal encountered in Vaninsky district in Khabarovsky Province had traces of an old gunshot wound under its skin.

Around 6 pm on January 30, 2012 a young Amur tiger female approached a bee-yard close to the Tumnin River (to find this place on a map one should find the 51st parallel and step 60 kilometers inward from the Tatar Strait coastline). Most likely, tiger was attracted by barking of dogs living near the bee-yard.

The tiger blocked the watchman in a utility room, but later was scared away with gunshots. Next morning the animal reappeared and attacked a watchdog. Having heard dogs' barking a hunter came out and seeing the rushing towards him tiger had to shoot the animal...

The hunter reported the accident to the head of the Khabarovsky Province Protected Areas Directorate who, in his turn, has formed an expert group including Pavel Fomenko.

«The tragic side of this killing was that it was a grownup female which could become a mother one day, - comments Pavel Fomenko, biodiversity conservation program coordinator at WWF-Russia's Amur branch. - But what is the most alarming are the possible reasons forcing a secretive animal to come close to a human dwelling and make an attack. Examination of the tiger body done by the veterinarians of the Primorsky Agriculture Academy proved that the animal was wounded long before its death and was starving».

Conditions the young tigress faced were extremely difficult to survive in.

The most uneasy task of the joint project of WWF and Nordens Ark Zoo aimed at conservation of the northern most tiger population is to register the farthest tigers entries. This is important first, to prevent conflicts between tigers and humans as a tiger having found itself in unnatural conditions like insufficient prey number could possess a threat to humans or livestock. Key aspect in this is recording of proved scientific data on tiger habitat pulsing, its distribution and adaptation to the new conditions. Therefore, the accident in Vaninsky district has attracted WWF's attention.

According to the recent data, the farthest tigers entries to the north are being registered close to the Amursky Estuary (Khabarovsky Province), a tiger crossing to the left bank of the Amur River was observed. This winter tiger tracks were encountered both in Evreiskaya and Amurskaya Provinces. All the data are being thoroughly analyzed by WWF's experts and if necessary field verified in order to provide security for humans and conserve tigers.

«Existing nearby Tumninsky Federal Refuge which could potentially become a home for northern tigers is now practically abandoned and unpatrolled. Full scale logging is being done here. Lack of typical forage and poaching are the main limiting factors for tiger to settle here, - comments Yury Darman, head of WWF-Russia Amur branch.

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