In March Cinderella continued to hunt rather professionally. Her prey animals were deer and boars. The tigress is 18 months old now. At this age young tigers begin their independent life in the wild nature. The final phase in Cinderella’s hunting training is the search of a prey (deer) in the neighboring open-air enclosure. In spring white snow cover in the enclosure turned into a yellow blanket of last year’s fallen leaves with gray brushwood and bushes. In this landscape Cinderella became hardly noticeable and changed her behavior. She worries less and is ok with people’s presence in the center as the tigress can hide in her enclosure really well.
The three tiger cubs spend most of the daytime in their wooden lodge (8 x 4) where they were kept initially before the release to the quarantine open-air enclosure. Now they leave the lodge only in the morning and evening twilight – during their activity peak. After Cinderella’s release back into the wild the cubs will occupy her enclosures, both rehabilitation and hunting ones.
The fifth tiger cub Ustin is living in the spacious reserve open-air enclosure where there are two dens and other conditions for successful rehabilitation.
During the first week of January 2013 residents of Svetlogorye village, Pozharsky district of Primorye, found tiger cub paw prints near the human settlement. Although there were no conflict cases yet, local people started getting nervous and informed local law enforcement agencies about the young predator. Tiger specialists immediately arrived at the scene in order to find out what caused the animal to approach the dwellings. According to specialists of Primorsky Hunting Management Department, there were four tiger cubs wandering about. Three of them made their way to the north – Khabarovsky krai, and the one left in Primorye. No tracks of any adult tigresses were found nearby.
The cub was captured on January 9th. As the animal was extremely emaciated, it was decided to transport it to the Utyos Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Khabarovsky krai which is located not too far from Svetlogorye village. There were fears that the cub would not get through a long trip to the Amur Tiger Rehabilitation Centre located in the south of Primorye (almost an 8-hour drive). The young predator will be kept at Utyos for at least a couple of weeks until vets can decide the fate of the animal. If the tiger regain its health quickly, it will be transported to the Amur Tiger Rehabilitation Centre for further rehabilitation where Centre’s caretakers will prepare the animal for release back to the wild.
It is known that cubs left without a mother in the wild are completely vulnerable and cannot survive on their own. Discovering tiger cubs roaming without their mother in the wild means that something must have happened to the adult tigress, otherwise, it would have never left its cubs alone. Experts will investigate the case and try to find out what have happened with the mother tigress.
Sergei Bereznuk, director of the Phoenix Fund:“That’s the second time this winter when orphaned tiger cubs are found in the wild. The first case occurred in late November 2012 when three cubs were found without their mother, and now they are kept at the Amur Tiger Rehabilitation Centre near Alekseevka village (Nadezhdinsky district of Primorye). And now,one more tiger cub has been rescued. Probably, three other siblings will be captured soon too. This is certainly a very alarming sign for the Amur tiger population. It might be supposed that tigresses had been killed by poachers. If the tiger cubs found this winter die, the population will lose NINE individuals only within the first half of winter. That is why our top priority now is to successfully rehabilitate them for return to the wild. It is extremely needed to provide finanacial support to the Amur Tiger Rehabilitation Centre, help keep tigers there and purchase necessary equipment“.
The first week of December 2012 marked the busiest days at the Amur Tiger Rehabilitation Centre located in Alekseevka village (Primorsky krai, Russian Far East). The centre has admitted new patients - three Amur tiger cubs –that were found in the woods without their mother in late November. The Phoenix Fund and Inspection Tiger are addressing to the community and asking for donations to help feed the young predators and prepare them for release back in taiga.Despite the fact that the rescue operation was a success, there are few reasons for joy. The specialists are unanimous in their supposition regarding a tiger mother. The tigress must have been poached or left her cubs because of lack of prey. And now, specialists of Inspection Tiger and A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences as well as non-governmental organisations are responsible for nursing the animals and preparing them for release into the wild. The Phoenix Fund and International Fund for Animal Welfare, who are already involved in raising funds for young tigress Cinderella, have offered their help and launched a fundraising campaign to support the orphans.Help us support these tiger cubs! Your help would give them a better chance of returning to the taiga. It is hoped that the three cubs will be released back into the wild to play a vital role in the future survival of these magnificent big cats.PLEASE DONATE NOW! Whatever you can give would be gratefully received. Thank you.
In Russia, for many years tiger specialists used two facilities for tigers in need, namely Utyos Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and Dr.Yudin's facility which for several reasons did not meet necessary requirements for wildlife care. For example, Utyos Centre is located in Khabarovksy krai, and it takes up to 8-10 hours to transport an injured animal from Primorye. Consequently, it was crucial to build an adequate rehabilitation center in Primorye in order to ensure cubs’ survival and successful release back into the wild. In 2011, the Russian Government allocated funds to construct Amur Tiger Rehabilitation Center in Primorye. A remote wood lot of three hectares, the most suitable site for semi-free-ranging animals where "patients" would not be disturbed by visitors, was chosen near Alekseevka village, Nadezhdinsky district of Primorsky krai. In 2012, after one-year construction works a new rehabilitation center for Amur tigers and other wildlife finally opened wide its doors to wild animals that cannot survive in the wild without man’s help. The specialists were ready to nurse cubs, teach them to hunt and fear humans to make the release possible and safe for both animals and humans living in tiger habitat. And in April 2012 a young Amur tigress named “Cinderella” became the first resident of the center.
The main construction work has been completed, although there is some extra work to be done. For example, at the moment it is crucial to set up a video monitoring system along the perimeter of the facility so that the center’s caretakers could monitor animal’s behavior. The video system and the computer system that supports it would give the opportunity to observe and learn from the patients. Center’s caretakers will often need to observe the animals to monitor their recovery, without causing more stress on them by entering the enclosure. Video monitoring is ideal for this. Video clips can be used by center’s caretakers, veterinarians, and scientists as well as for educational purposes. Our intention is also to share some of the videos on our social media and website and also use them for some of the education programs we have developed for children and adults. Along with the advantages of observing patients and sharing the information, we are also hoping to include the system as part of a security to the property entrance so that we can provide a safe environment for the wildlife we are caring for.
Equipment and supplies
8 weather-proof high-resolution Ai-SD28 speed-dome cameras (anti-vandal model) need to be installed. Power supply devices, digital video recorder, keyboard controller, cables video transmitter, plugs, electricity distribution boxes, hard drive and fasteners have to be bought and used to assemble a video surveillance system.
Almost five months spent the survivor tiger cub in the recently built rehabilitation center.
With generous donations from our supporters on GlobalGiving the Phoenix Fund provides the Inspection Tiger that is responsible for rehabilitation of the tigress funds to feed and nurse the animal. To observe the condition of the cub two video cameras were installed in the enclosure. Unfortunately these cameras do not allow for making tapes yet and only let the specialist to oversee the tigress on monitors in real-time mode. The cub is growing fast and is being prepared for the release into the wild appointed for spring 2013.
The Phoenix Fund would like to thank everyone who supports this project and makes it possible for the rare cat to survive and have a hope for successful life in the wild in near future. With only 450 Amur tigers left in the wild worldwide, every individual is precious and we have to put best of our effort to ensure its survival.
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