Hopefully in summer all tigers live in prosperity, hunger no longer drives them close to the settlements and we hear nothing about human-tiger conflicts. But almost every winter severe weather conditions force predators towards villages in search of easy game. Every year tiger cubs lose their mothers and become orphans. Also, tigers with injures or affected by some diseases are found near roads and human settlements. Such animals are considered conflict and most of them are doomed to death in taiga. Creation of adequate rehabilitation center is required to ensure tigers’ survival and successful release back into the wild.
Phoenix Fund went to the construction site of the first full-fledged rehabilitation center for tigers and other animals in Russia. The construction takes place in Nadezhdinsky district of Primorski krai in the forest located far from villages so that the "patients" would not be disturbed and felt like home there. It is a wood lot of 2.7 hectares that is the most suitable site for semi-free-ranging animals. The federal-level agency Inspection Tiger is responsible for the establishment of the center and was allocated funds from the government for it. The center will play a vital role in conserving Amur tigers and reducing tiger-human conflicts.
For many years the Inspection Tiger has been engaged in tiger rescue operations and release of tigers back into the wild. However, they had to use private farmsteads for cubs' maintenance and rehabilitation because there is not a single specialized rehabilitation center in Russia that would conduct the whole cycle of works on treatment, recovery and preparation of animals for release back into the wild. The population of the Amur tiger, living exclusively in the south of the Russian Far East, has low numbers and very low genetic variety. Preservation of each healthy reproductive individual, capable of living in the nature independently, is very important for Amur tiger conservation as a whole.
The Phoenix Fund visited the site to see future tiger rehab. The huge area was already segmented with numerous enclosures. The director of Inspection Tiger Victor Gaponov who was hosting the visit explained that the enclosures were intended for quarantine, rehabilitation of tiger cubs where they will learn to hunts and be afraid of people, for wild boar and deer housing and other purposes. Looks like new lodgers would be more than comfortable there.
At present, most of the federal funds were spent but there are few more things to be accomplished. With the help of the Phoenix Fund and GlobalGiving the Inspection Tiger is raising funds to build reserve enclosure, veterinary station and utility buildings.