According to the specialists from the Programme for the study and conservation of the Amur tiger in the Russian Far East the two Amur tigers that were released into the wild at the Zhuravliny wildlife sanctuary in the Jewish Autonomous Region are doing fine! On 3 June, two cubs Svetlaya and Yustin left the Rehabilitation Centre for a location in the north of the Jewish Autonomous Region in a motorcade led by an air-conditioned animal transportation vehicle. After a 1,200-kilometre non-stop drive, the motorcade arrived at the village of Bidzhan, where a crane was used to reload the 400-kilogramme cages to caterpillar cross-country vehicles that headed across marshy terrain for the Zhuravliny wildlife sanctuary. The last 60-kilometre leg through the marshes was the most trying experience for all expedition members, who were tormented by heat and gadflies. People had to stop several times to spray the tigers and the cages with cool water from the river. On 5 June, when ecologists, biologists and environmentalists celebrated the World Environment Day, the two tigers, Yustin and Svetlaya, were released into the wild. Thus, yet another step was made towards restoring the Amur tiger population in an area where it had been destroyed by humans in the mid-20th century. The tigers survived the journey fairly well. In the dusk, the cages were lowered by hand to the ground at a maximum distance from populated localities in an area where concentrations of wild boar, roe deer, red deer and other potential prey had been spotted. All the released tigers are being covered by a comprehensive monitoring project. Satellite collars help scientists to track their movements and identify hunting grounds. The satellite data indicate that the cubs adapted successfully and now enjoy their freedom.
We thank everyone who contributed to the rehabilitation of Svetlaya and Yustin and made this comeback to wild possible for the tiger cubs that were doomed to die or live a poor life somewhere in a cage!
On Thursday 22nd May 2014, after a long rehabilitation period three Amur tigers were released into the wild in Zhelundindsky Wildlife Refuge, which is the northwestern part of the Amur tiger range, in Amurskaya Oblast. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin attended the release of the striped predators. Vladimir Vladimirovich gives particular attention to the state-supported Amur Tiger Programme and has already drawn public attention towards Amur tiger conservation problems repeatedly.
We would like to remind that two tiger brothers, Kuzya and Borya, together with their sister named Businka were found in November 2012 when they were 4-month-old cubs. As they were extremely emaciated, frostbitten and unable to survive on their own in the wild, it was decided to take them to the Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Tigers and Other Rare Animals in Alekseevka, Primorsky Krai, which was built by A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution and Inspection Tiger. Unfortunately, about six months later the tigress Businka died after unsuccessful fight against Feline calicivirus disease.
Ilona, the third rehabilitated tiger that was released in Zhelundindsky Wildlife Refuge, was found near Svetlogorye village in Primorsky Krai on 25th February 2013 when she was 6 or 7 months old cub and initially was transported to Utyos Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Khabarovsky Krai. In September 2013, Ilona was returned back to Primorsky krai in order to be rehabilitated at the Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Tigers and Other Rare Animals in Alekseevka and prepared for return into the wild.
Two additional tigers, the female Svetlaya and the male Ustin, are waiting for their turn to be released. Their release is scheduled for June. Rehabilitation and reintroduction is implemented under the Amur Tiger Programme aimed at research and conservation of Amur tigers in the Russian Far East.
“We are happy that the tigers have been returned into the wild. The Phoenix Fund and our adherents and supporters have waited for this event for more than a year, and have provided the Inspection Tiger with financial and organizational support”, says Director of the Phoenix Fund Sergei Bereznuk. “Our staff member together with specialist of A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution visited Amurskaya Oblast just two weeks ago in order to ensure peaceful coexistence among local communities and their new neighbours. A series of lectures on relationship between human and tiger was delivered for hunters and local people. Next week there will be another trip to Jewish Autonomous Oblast, potential release site for other tigers. We would like to thank again all Russian adherents of the Phoenix Fund for their support and wish the tigers a long and happy life”.
On May 20, before their departure to a new home, the animals were observed and measured by the specialists. Also, all necessary tests were taken. Then, the tigers were fitted with satellite collars. Satellite-tracking data will allow rangers of the wildlife refuge and scientists monitor the tigers’ movements. The collars will automatically unfasten in a year, so they will not cause any disturbance to the animals.
It is not the first time when the Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Tigers and Other Rare Animals has prepared striped predators for return into the wild. A year ago, a rehabilitated tigress named Zolushka was successfully released in Bastak Nature Reserve in Jewish Autonomous Oblast. This year, it was the largest release of rehabilitated Amur tigers ever, that became possible thanks to the joint efforts of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Inspection Tiger, A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Phoenix Fund and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
For everyone who follows the fate of the rehabilitated tigress Cinderella: the good news came from Bastak Nature Reserve. The camera traps installed in the protected area took photos of Cinderella and a male Amur tiger!
According to reserve’s ranger who does the tracking of the tigress with the specialist from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Cinderella recently passed through the centre of the reserve. According to the tracks she was followed by the brown bear and the male tiger.
Unfortunately, due to insufficient financing the scientists cannot keep a wary eye on Cinderella’s movements. To get complete information about the tigress and her behavior after the rehabilitation and her release back into the wild at least ten more pairs of camera traps have to be installed in Bastak. We ask everyone who follows the destiny of the orphaned tigress to help us purchase these cameras by making a donation to Phoenix Fund.
“Cinderella will regularly go out of the reserve, but will definitely come back here, – says the employee of the Program of studying of the Amur tigers in the Russian Far East of the Institute of environmental problems and evolution of A.N.Severtsov Victor Lukarevsky. – This is the third or fourth time that we register her in the protected territory. It is sad that with just two cameras we don’t have a chance to gather more data on the tigress and the environment surrounding her.”
We once again want to thank everyone who contributed to Cinderella’s rehabilitation, and we will try to keep you posted!
Dear supporters, this week we would like to share with you some new photographs of the orphaned tiger cubs, which are getting ready for the release back into the wild at the Rehabilitation Centre for Tigers and Other Rare Species in Alekseevka village.
According to Center’s specialists the young predators are doing well. The cubs started their first hunting training. They successfully hunted down deer and wild boars. Both male and female tigers succeeded in killing of a large prey.
Cubs are well prepared for the winter. They have good fleshing and winter fur. After the first snow the tiger cubs became more careful. Now they are most active at dusk. Tiger Ustin and tigresses Svetlaya and Ilona became good friends — they communicate with each other through the adjacent fence.Now the main goal of the last period of rehabilitation is honing cubs’ hunting skills and we hope that all inhabitants of the Center will cope with this task perfectly well!
We are grateful to everyone who supports the Rehabilitation Centre for Tigers and Other Rare Species!
Photo credits: Petr Sonin and Katerina Blidchenko/ A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences/ Inspection Tiger
On September 1, 2013 that Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Rehabilitation Centre for Rare Species located in Alekseevka village. In his presence two young tigresses that were transported from Khabarovsky krai were released into the Centre’s enclosure.
After the release of 9 and 11-month-old tiger cubs, the President monitored their behaviour and movements by viewing real-time video produced by remote wildlife viewing cameras. The young tigresses began exploring the enclosure. Centre’s caretakers told Vladimir Putin about the wildlife rehabilitation process. They said that they help tiger cubs develop their stalking and hunting skills at the first moment the animals appear in the centre by releasing first rabbits and later roe deer into the enclosure with tigers.
In May, Cinderella tigress was successfully released back into the wild in Bastak Nature Reserve, Jewish Autonomous Province.
“We are monitoring its (tigress’s — editor’s note) location”, said Centre’s worker showing the dynamics of animal’s movements on the information board.
“It is better not to show it; poachers can catch it”, said Putin. The President asked about the current level of funding for the Centre and wondered how much money is required for its smooth operation. According to the Centre’s specialists, the Centre, a wood plot of 3 hectares, cost about 11 million roubles. And about 1 million roubles per year are needed to keep one tiger at the Centre. Thus, over 30 million roubles are needed for smooth full-time operation of the Centre during the year. Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergei Donskoi informed that about 3-4 million roubles are going to be allocated soon. Putin asked Donskoi to do calculations and find the way for financing the Centre.
“So far, the rehabilitation of tigers at the Centre was carried out by the specialists of Inspection Tiger and A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences with support from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Phoenix Fund, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Russian Geographical Society. Transportation of the two tiger cubs from Khabarovsky krai has become possible thanks to donations from our supporters. Now, there are five tiger cubs at the Centre, and their rehabilitation requires big investments of money,” says Director of the Phoenix Fund Sergei Bereznuk. “Given that, we hope that officials not only from Moscow-based agencies but also from Primorsky krai Administration will pay attention to this project”.
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