Tigress Zolushka meets her mate

Tigress Zolushka meets her mate

14 March 2014

The permanent expedition of the Russian Academy of Sciences studying endangered and particularly important species in Russia regularly monitors parentless tiger cubs reintroduced into the wild. On 1-7 March 2014, in cooperation with the Tiger special expedition, the Phoenix foundation and the Russian branch of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the expedition was monitoring Zolushka, a female tiger reintroduced into nature last May and living in the Bastak nature reserve (Jewish Autonomous Area).


The data collected to date indicate that Zolushka is in good shape and is enjoying her life in the Bastak nature reserve. The tiger continues to keep to the upper Bastak river and successfully hunts boars. Tracking of the animal’s footprints have revealed excellent news of direct contact between Zolushka and a male tiger also living in the nature reserve. There are some signs of mating behaviour between the two tigers. Zolushka is still very young, only about two years old, and the earliest breeding age for female tigers in the wild is three years. However, the relationship established between Zolushka and the male tiger is very important and represents the first step toward breeding for the tigers in the Bastak nature reserve.


The Centre for Rehabilitation of Tigers and Other Rare Animals in the village of Alekseyevka (Primorye Territory), where the tigress Zolushka underwent rehabilitation, is currently preparing five more tiger cubs – like Zolushka, found starving in the taiga – for re-introduction into the wild. The cubs are now in good shape and are excellent hunters of boars and sika deer. They demonstrate adequate behaviour towards humans, avoiding contact. They are also comfortable around other tigers and socialise well among each other.


Local and federal officials are so far negotiating the location of where the cubs will be released. Re-introduction of the tigers after the rehabilitation programme specifically designed by the Severtsov Institute of Environmental and Evolutionary Issues of the Russian Academy of Sciences will allow for the recovery of a population of these predators in the north-western habitat of the Siberian tiger, where they were earlier exterminated.