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Little tiger struggled to the last breath

23 march 2012
On 17 March the rangers of the Wildlife and Hunting Management Department of Primorsky Province found in taiga a 5-6 month old tiger cub – brother of the little tigress rescued not long ago in February.

Unfortunately, in spite of all the efforts to save his life he died the next day.

This story took place in the south-western Primorye. On 25 February 2012 an extremely exhausted tiger cub was found on the territory of “Borisovskoye” hunting estate – a female tiger 4-5 month old. In spite of unfavorable forecasts due to the professional aid of the staff of the Wildlife and Hunting Department and veterinarians of Primorskaya State Agricultural Academy the animal managed to recover strength, to considerably gain some weight and reach the physiologic form. Operative financial aid of WWF supporters also played an important role.

To untangle this dark story the group of rangers of the Wildlife and Hunting Department continued searching for the tracks of the mother tigress and the second tiger cub. The search took almost one month. Rangers had all reasons to believe that they exist. According to the Amur tiger monitoring data collected in December 2011 not far from the place where the striped orphan was found, the tracks of a female tiger with two tiger cubs were registered. Taking into account that at this young age cubs only stay with their mother, the Wildlife and Hunting Department launched the operation in search of the tiger family.

In the end of February during the second stage of the winter count the track of a tiger cub was recorded at the same rout. The version was confirmed. But the lack of snow did not allow tracking the animal. It took more than two weeks to find new tracks. Rangers returned to the trail again and again realizing that there is less hope to find him alive with every coming day. Only in the mid of March they managed to find a new track, followed it and after several days at long last saw black and red stripes. Compare to its sister who decided not to waste her energy on fighting people, the boy tried to escape, roared and did not let himself into people's hands. The wild animal's nature prevailed over, taking away the last strength so necessary for other important thing - to fight to live.

«It's a sorrowful story. Now it can be stated with a great share of confidence that the mother of tiger cubs died from a poacher's bullet. Results of tracking showed that the cub did not stop trying to find his mother examining the area where his sister was found, and where in early winter all this tiger family was observed, - comments Sergey Aramilev, Species program coordinator of WWF Russia Amur branch and the participant of the expertise. - At this age tiger cubs are not able to get food in winter forest on their own. But our hero tried hard. The wounds on the cub's head reveal the fact that he found the home of a badger and tried to dig him out, but when he reached the badger he could not fight him. The badger seriously wounded the cub's nose and bit its gum. Fighting for life he ate the rotten skins of dead ungulates and tree mushrooms, this certainly did not add him energy.”

The cub was placed to the warm enclosure and provided with all necessary medical aid by the specialists of the State Agricultural Academy. But in spite of all efforts he could not survive. Autopsy results showed that due to hypothermia and exhaustion the unconvertible process started in his organism and brought him to death.

Special tribute should be paid to the rangers of the Wildlife and Hunting Department, who did not lose their heart and continued the search operation. It’s hard to find a human in taiga forest not to mention a small tiger cub whose moving is beyond any logics. But they found him, extracted carefully without injuring and took to a safe place. Unfortunately, unconvertible processes already started in his organism and nothing could help him, that only became clear after autopsy. Every ranger of the Wildlife and Hunting Department who participated in this work thinks of it as of a personal tragedy, - continues Sergey Aramilev. – We hope that the conflict tiger group created on the basis of the Wildlife and Hunting Department and similar one in Khabarovsky province will get sufficient governmental financial support. The existing funds are not enough even for fuel not to mention other expenses.”

Additional information:

According to the federal law “On wildlife objects” the Wildlife and Hunting Department of Primorsky province is in charge of Red Data Book species and the regulation of human-large predator conflict situations. A special group was created to solve conflict situations in Primorsky province. In 2011 more than 80 reports were received from the citizens about human-tiger conflict cases, 13 of them were confirmed and successfully solved. In 2012, there were 10 reports about conflict situations, 6 of them were confirmed.

Little tiger struggled for life to the last breath
© Sergey Aramilev / WWF Russia