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Dead tiger found

23 april 2012
A radiocollared tiger was found dead on the border of Land of the Leopard National Park. Experts including WWF staff will conduct an autopsy to find out a cause of the endangered species's death.

A radiocollared tiger was found dead on the border of Land of the Leopard National Park. Experts from the Primorsky Province Agricultural Academy, the Wildlife and Hunting Management Department and WWF will conduct an autopsy to find out a cause of the endangered species's death.

On April 21 2012, the administration of Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve received information that the corpse of an adult Amur tiger was found in a lagoon on the border of Land of the Leopard National Park, just 15 kilometers from Vladivostok, on the opposite side of the Amursky Bay.

Four rangers of the reserve's patrolling group together with policemen and two witnesses arrived at the site where they found a corpse of an adult tiger with radio collar. The police officers opened an investigation. Initial examination did not determine any signs of violent death.

“It’s too early to speculate on the cause of the tiger death, it will be clear only after the autopsy which also clarify why tiger ended up in the water., - comments Sergei Aramilev, biodiversity conservation program coordinator at WWF-Russia Amur branch. – It should be noted that long distance rifle wounds leave hardly noticeable holes of 8 millimeters or less in diameter. And seawater perfectly washes away the blood.”

According to Sergei Khokhryakov, head of Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve, external examination suggested that JPS GLONASS radio collar was fit on the tiger by specialists of the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Science. The collar was placed by a scientific team from the Institute under the leadership of scientist Viktor Lukarevsky in 2011 while doing field research in Leopardovy Federal Wildlife Refuge. The tiger was nicknamed Gryaznulya after the Gryaznaya (dirty) River, which flows through the Refuge.

The animal was well known for hunting both wild animals and livestock. From the date when the collar was attached the tiger managed to catch and eat no less than ten animals: horses, cows and calves. Thus, scientists decided to catch Gryaznulya again andrelease him farther from human settlements. But all the attempts of the Severtsov Institute's team to recapture the evasive animal were unsuccessful.

«Unfortunately, official structures at the local level have little chances to promptly receive information from Moscow-based scientific organizations. It is worth noting that this is not the first death of a tagged animal, - adds Sergei Aramilev. - Late last year a leopard fitted with radio collar was found dead. Also in that instance scientists received information about the rare animal's deaths not from radio collar signals but only after the corpse was discovered by locals. Over this winter the tiger stock in the area has suffered serious loss - one adult female tiger, two cubs, one of which has died while the other will never be released into the wild again. Now it is a male...It's like losing an entire family».

Dead tiger found
© WWF России
The tiger was tagged with a radio collar
© Anatoly Belov
This year the tiger stock in south western Primorye has suffered serious loss: one adult female tiger, a cub and now it's a male... It's like losing an entire family
© Anatoly Belov