Photo traps in Primorye record six Amur tigers

Photo traps in Primorye record six Amur tigers

4 January 2013

The deputy research director of the Sikhote-Alinsky reserve, Dr Yelena Pimenova, said that the photo traps installed by researchers in the reserve have taken pictures of six Amur tigers – three males and three females.


During the stage of wild animals registration completed in early January 2013, other predators, such as Far Eastern forest cats, were also photographed. All information obtained from photo traps is being processed and will be added to the data on each species in the reserve.


"Young tigers account for the biggest number of photos. They are spending a lot of time near the photo traps out of curiosity and sometimes even try to bite them. We know well two out of the six photographed tigers. The photo traps have recorded these male and female tigers since 2006. The other tigers – two young males, one young female and one adult female have been photographed for the first time," Pimenova reported.


She added that tigresses with their cubs have not been photographed. They are very cautious and usually carefully steer clear of unknown objects like photo traps. However, two female tigers – one with one cub and the other with three cubs – have been registered by their tracks. The information obtained by photo traps will help researchers pinpoint the number of tigers, the ratio between males, females and cubs, their movements and habitats, and the density of their population. These data are very important for drafting measures to protect each and every Amur tiger.


Pimenova said that researchers at the reserve have used photo traps since 2006. There are about 20 Red Book Amur tigers in the reserve. All in all, according to the latest count, there are about 500 Amur tigers in the south of Russia's Far East. "It is possible to count tigers by photos because all of them have different stripes," Pimenova explained.


She also said that in the beginning of the registration process, researchers installed 38 pairs of traps in the reserve's southern and central parts on an area of over 3,000 square km or about one third of the reserve. Although these two parts are separated by a high mountain ridge, tigers, primarily males, travel back and forth and mix with each other. It is important to count them simultaneously in order to get a precise figure.