Project #8358

Help Tiger Rehabilitation Center in Russia

by Phoenix Fund
(c) Land of the Leopard National Park
(c) Land of the Leopard National Park

The victim of poachers, Amur leopard Leo 80M is taking the final stage of rehabilitation, after which he will be ready to be released into the wild nature. This conclusion has been reached by experts of the Scientific and Technical Council of the Land of the Leopard National Park.

The male of the rarest big cat of the world was found in the territory of the National Park “Land of the Leopard” close to the border with China in June 2015. He had lost three fingers on the front paw hitting a poacher’s trap. The animal underwent surgery, and then began to recover quickly. Soon, relocation of the animal took place to an enclosure of the Center for rehabilitation and reintroduction of tigers and other rare animals. For almost three months, experts have been watching behaviour of the leopard and how the leopard is hunting to determine whether he is ready to return to the wild.
The future of leopard became the central issue of the Scientific and Technical Council of the “Land of the Leopard” meeting this week. In addition to the Council members, experts in the behavior of cats were invited to attend, as well as representatives of the environmental authorities of Primorsky region. Specialist of the Center for rehabilitation Ekaterina Blidchenko told the audience about observations of the predator. According to her, in spite of the injured paw, the predator has no problems with hunting and has already shown good skills.

“The leopard is physically well developed, has instant reaction and will, most likely, have no problems with hunting - said Ekaterina Blidchenko. – The injured paw did not prevent him from climbing trees in the enclosure, exploring his territory. It is also important that he is a self-confident beast. He knows how to make decisions quickly and perfectly adapts to the new conditions. This means that the leopard will be able to compete with other leopards in the wild”.

At the same time Ekaterina noted that before release into the wild nature the leopard must undergo correction of undesirable behavior. This means that in order to secure an adequate for the animal fear of man, a step by step training course to be developed to prepare the beast for the wild nature. It may include scaring the animal with flares, loud noises and other methods.

Sixteen members of the Council present at the meeting have unanimously agreed that leopard Leo 80M must be returned to the wild. At the same time, the final decision of the animal’s future will be made by the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources (Rosprirodnadzor). Prior to its obtaining, experts of the Council of the “Land of the Leopard” will determine the best time to release the rare carnivore to the nature and will also approve a series of measures to be taken in advance. Among them is a plan for monitoring movement of the leopard using a satellite collar, specification of the people responsible for this work and other organizational matters.

These are such a great news for all of our supporters who help us to maintain such rare animals in the Rehabilitation Center! Thanks to you, another rare cat that had a missfortune to suffer from humans will get a chance for a free life in natural habitat!

As you know, we always try to find new ways to ensure the survival of the rare Amur leopards and look for fund to implement our conservation projects in the field. We are very grateful for your support of our effort through GlobalGiving and we want to ask you for another favor!

Please vote for our project ‘Saving Amur leopards, Russia's Far East’ at

The voting has already started and will last online for two weeks.

We would be grateful if you also spread the word and let us get more supporters.


(c) Inspection Tiger
(c) Inspection Tiger

As some of our followers may already know from the newsletter on leopard project, a cub of Amur leopard was recently saved from inevitable death and transported to the Rehabilitation Center in Alekseevka village.

The one year old kitten with an injured paw was found in the Land of the Leopard (LoL) National Park near the border with China. According to experts the leopard lost its fingers after getting into a poacher’s trap or a snare. After numerous medical treatments the animal felt much better! It has successfully settled in the new spacious enclosure of the rehab. During the first three days, the cub managed to catch a rabbit, and, judging by the footage from video cameras, is in good physical shape.

We remind that in June 2015 Russian border guards found the cub at the Russian-Chinese frontier. They noticed a leopard tossing around one place not leaving the area. It was obvious that something was wrong with the animal. Having realized that, the border guards immediately reported about the incident to the national park authorities. The LoL staff arrived at the site shortly together with the specialists from the Primorsky Environmental Control Department (Rosprirodnadzor), WCS and the experts from Nadezhdinsky veterinary station.

Due to the injury the exhausted and frightened kitten would not let people to approach it but could not escape. It was clear that the animal will die without veterinary help. The experts decided to immobilize the cub and transported it to the wildlife rehabilitation center. Leopard’s examination showed that the four fingers on the front paw were missing and there was an inflammation around the wound. The cub had a fever heat when it got to the rehab and without treatment it could die within the few days. The poor leopard suffered due to the fault of poachers who placed their traps on the border. After the surgery the condition of the patient was satisfactory. Veterinarians from around the world were involved in the discussion on the further treatment for the animal.

Although, this cub will most probably never return to the wild, the time it will spend in the Rehabilitation Center is important for its survival. And in future the leopard will have a chance to participate in the Amur leopard breeding program. 

Thank you dear friends for your generous donations to rehabilitation project! You help the most vulnerable rare cats, injured and orphaned cubs receive a chance for healthy life.


According to the Amur Tiger Programme press centre four of the five cubs that were released into the wild by President Vladimir Putin in Russia’s Far East have adapted well to their new surroundings.

“A group of researchers is currently in the Amur Region, exploring tiger trails and tracking the movements of the radio-collared tigers. Four of the five tiger cubs that were released into the wild have fully adapted and settled in the Amur Region, the Khabarovsk Territory and the Jewish Autonomous Region,” Viktor Serdyuk, a spokesman for the Tiger special inspection service, told reporters. “And Ustin would have done well too, if he hadn’t crossed into China during the ice breakup.”

The four tigers are doing fine out in the wild, he added. “They hunt successfully, so the scientists aren’t worrying about them. We can say the experiment to release the cubs into the wild has been a success.”

In 2013, five tiger cubs, weak and abandoned, were found in the Far Eastern taiga. The cubs were named Ustin, Kuzya, Borya, Svetlaya and Ilona. In May 2014, after rehabilitation Kuzya, Borya and Ilona were released into the wild in the Amur Region. Ustin and Svetlaya were released in the Jewish Autonomous Region in June. All five were fitted with radio collars, making it possible to track their movements via satellite.

In autumn, Kuzya and Ustin crossed into China but returned in December. Ustin swam across the Amur and ventured into several villages in China where he hunted various animals. After crossing back into Russia, he settled in the Bolshoi Khekhtsir Nature Reserve not far from Khabarovsk, where he reportedly attacked dogs. In late December, scientists had to catch Ustin and place him in a rehabilitation centre in the Primorye Region. It turned out that he had suffered an injury on his way back from China. At present, Ustin lives in a zoo in Rostov-on-Don.

As for the tigress Zolushka (Cinderella), released into the Bastak Nature Reserve in the Jewish Autonomous Region two years ago, she is looking to become a mother. “Scientists have discovered that she has been accompanied by a male for a long time, so there is every reason to assume that she will have cubs soon,” Serdyuk said.

Tikhon watches the deer from his enclosure (c) IT
Tikhon watches the deer from his enclosure (c) IT

Dear supporters, 

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."

Peaceful life (c) Inspection Tiger
Peaceful life (c) Inspection Tiger
Tikhon (c) Inspection Tiger
Tikhon (c) Inspection Tiger

Dear supporters, 

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!

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Organization Information

Phoenix Fund

Location: Vladivostok, Primorski Krai - Russia
Project Leader:
Sergei Bereznuk
Vladivostok, Primorsky krai Russia