This week we wanted to wish you all lots of prosperity in the new year and share a touching insight from the life in rehab from Ekaterina Blidchenko, who works in the rehabilitation center and is the employee of the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
"Life in rehab is much easier than the independent life in taiga. Living in enclosures, tigers have lots of free time. And how do they spend it? Well, sleeping most of the time. Tiger Tiknon is no exception. Waking up, Tikhon watch the world go by: listening to the sounds, capturing a variety of odors. Sometimes Tikhon interrupts contemplation to take care of his luxurious fur. In general, life is serene. But the other day this serenity was violated. A bevy of roe deer approached the enclosure. Little did they know about a danger that awaited them right behind the fence. Having noticed the guests Tikhon began to investigate them in detail. Even through the monitor we felt the inner turmoil of a wild cat, a born predator! But only the tip of his tail showed his excitement - dark tail tip twitched nervously from side to side. The rest of Tikhon’s body remained still; he only pressed his ears a little – a tiger in a hide. Were it not for the cage separating tiger from his prey a feast would have happened, but for now the deer were safe. And when they whipped out of sight Tikhon’s life resumed its normal course."
We would like to inform you about a new tiger that was rescued in the Russian Far East. Now the Phoenix Fund and its partners initiate fundraising campaign to provide proper care and rehabilitation to tiger to make sure it will get back into the wild soon.
On November 16, 2014 a new resident arrived to the Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Tigers and Other Rare Animals in Alekseevka village. Emaciated tiger was captured at Vyazemsky district of Khabarovsky krai by the joint team of Inspection Tiger, Khabarovsky Hunting Management Department and Wildlife Conservation Society. The tiger named Tikhon was saved from a hungry death, and currently it requires special care, intensive feeding and permanent veterinary support.
The rehabilitation of the tiger will take several months, and after it is planned to release the animal back to its natural environment.
Thanks to your previous support for the Rehabilitation Center, in 2013, a famous tigress Cinderella (Zolushka) was successfully released into the wild after spending a year in the center. In spring-summer 2014, another five tigers were set free after rehabilitation in Alekseevka. A team of specialist watch closely every move of the released tigers both in Russia and in China through satellite data from the collars and camera-traps.
Now another tiger needs your help to roam free in its natural environment. Make him a Christmas present!
Only $20 will provide vitamins for Tikhon per day, $35 will pay veterinary bill in 1 day, $60 will purchase fresh vegetables for tiger for a whole week, $500 will buy live deer or wild boar so that Tikhon can practice its hunting skills, $1,000 will covers transportation of a tiger from the center to release site and$2,000 will provide medical equipment unit for the Rehabilitation Center.
Happy holidays, friends!
The Amur tiger Kuzya, who was released into the wild in May and has moved around the Amur Region and Jewish Autonomous Region, has crossed into China, the Severtsov Institute of Environment and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences has reported.
After wandering in the two regions, the tiger approached the Amur River, walked along it for several days and then swam towards China. The tiger’s movement is monitored by experts of the Severtsov Institute via its GPS collar. They also notified the regional authorities in Russia and China about the tiger’s location.
The Chinese news agency Xinhua has announced, citing Chen Zhigang, the director of the nature reserve, that the local authorities hope Kuzya would be safe in China.
Chen Zhigang said the tiger entered the Taipinggou Nature Reserve in Heilonjiang in northeastern China. The police have notified the local farmers about the tiger. Sixty infrared camera traps installed in the Taipinggou reserve will record the tiger’s movements. The tiger should have enough to eat because various animal species live in the reserve on an area of 20,000 hectares, Chen Zhigang said, adding that, if necessary, they could release cattle into the reserve.
According to experts, tigers often cross the Russian-Chinese border. The staff of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Permanent Expedition to study animals listed in the Red Data Book of Russia and other important species of Russian fauna previously recorded tigers and brown bears with GPS collars crossing into China southwest of the Primorye Territory.
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).
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