Post written by Masha Vorontsova, IFAW Regional Director of Russia and CIS.
An orphaned female tiger cub found in the Russian Far East is currently being kept at the Center for Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Tigers and Other Rare Animals near Vladivostok.
Approximately 4-4.5 months old, she was found at the borders of “Leopard Land” National Park in the village of Filippovka.
She is enjoying her meals and the first stage of her rehabilitation is over. On January 3 the experts held a full veterinary examination of the tiger cub including all necessary tests, and on January 11, the first routine vaccination was performed.
The tiger cub had been kept in a warm space, and today was transferred in the open quarantine enclosure, where she will also be able to use a heated house. After the end of the quarantine period the tiger cub will be released into a larger enclosure, which previously held the already released tigers Zolushka, Borya, Kuzya, Ilona, Svetlaya and Ustin.
In the last three years IFAW has actively participated in rescue and release of six orphaned tigers. All animals survived, and one female tiger has already given birth to offspring.
This is the first successful experience of tiger rehabilitation implemented on such scale both in Russia and abroad.
A second tiger cub was brought to the center six days after this first one, likely a sister, as previously the local residents saw the tiger cubs together but without the mother. Unfortunately, the second female tiger died from extreme hypothermia and malnutrition. Specialists at the center provided care and treatment for 24 hours, but they were unable to save the tiger cub. There is a chance that initially there were three animals, but so far the third tiger cub has not been found.
According to experts the young female tiger is likely to survive and she can be successfully reintroduced back into the wild. However, her mother and sister are irrevocably lost for the population. Most likely the adult female tiger was killed by poachers. Currently the police are actively searching for the hide and other tiger derivatives; on December 25 and 29 two confiscations were made of tiger hide and bones. This demonstrates that the level of poaching remains very high, and the Amur tiger population continues to be severely threatened.
Currently the orphan tiger cub rehabilitation project is implemented by “Leopard Land” National Park, Primorye Regional Public Organization “Tiger”, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), ANO “Tiger” with participation of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is funding the center for the next six months in order to ensure its full functionality. A month ago IFAW purchased an all-terrain vehicle necessary for maintenance of the center.