Two long-term resident tigers in the Ussuri Nature Reserve

Two long-term resident tigers in the Ussuri Nature Reserve

27 March 2014

Photo monitoring of tigers in the Komarov Ussuri Nature Reserve operated by the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences is underway as part of the Amur tiger study program in the Russian Far East, which is carried out by the academy’s permanent expedition.


In February-March 2014, employees of the Severtsov Institute of the Environment and Evolution went on an expedition in the reserve and adjacent areas to install an upgraded camera trap matrix to count the tiger population. The expedition members also gathered biological samples for further lab analysis to evaluate their physical condition. Three tigers, two of which were captured on film on earlier occasions, were caught on camera in the Komarovo and Suvorov forest districts over the course of two weeks during the expedition.


One of them – an adult female Serga – was first captured and tagged with a satellite collar in 2008 in the presence of President Vladimir Putin, and then again in the fall of 2011. Serga, which gave birth to at least two litters of cubs since the permanent expedition has been in place, is now 12 years old and in great shape. The tiger mostly resides in the western part of the reserve, leaving numerous scent marks behind.


The second identified tiger, Luk, a male, was first caught when he was three in late May 2010. Based on his genetic profile, the researchers assumed that he is not endemic to the Ussuri Reserve and first came there three months before he was captured. Luk then settled in the reserve and made the former adult resident male leave the area. During his second capture in October 2012, Luk was the Ussuri Reserve’s largest tiger, weighing 212 kg. He actively uses the territories under the Ussuri Reserve forestries and the adjacent Orlinoye hunting reserve.


Thus, both Amur tigers, which were captured twice during the program, continue to reside in the Ussuri Reserve and are in tiptop shape. The light snow cover and numerous wild boar population in the reserve have made surviving the 2013-2014 winter a fairly easy task for them.