Meet Anna Savelyevna

Meet Anna Savelyevna

30 July 2014

The Tiger student team, who are making an ecological path in the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve, gave a nameless tigress the gift of a new name for International Tiger Day, celebrated on 29 July. From now on the tigress will be known as Anna Savelyevna.


Anna, who has given birth to several litters of cubs, was named after the first Soviet woman to be awarded the honorary title of the Mother-Heroine.


Two weeks ago, the reserve’s employees asked the students to choose a name for the tigress which had been monitored by scientists for eight years, but had never been named.


“We decided to memorialise the name of Anna Savelyevna Aleksakhina, a woman who gave birth to and raised 12 children (10 sons and two daughters). Eight sons fought in the Great Patriotic War where four of them were killed . Our tigress Anna Savelyevna is also a heroine mother,” said Alexei Shashenok, the student who came up with patriotic name.


The first tiger count in the reserve was done in the 1960s, when there were no camera traps, and the idea of giving names to tigers originated over 20 years ago.


“It’s a bit weird to call these great cats by call letters, like PT1 or Tiger-2. Researchers decided to give them Russian names, which is more convenient, especially for the purposes of environmental education and telling stories about the lives of tigers. Even in a scientific article, a name like Murzik or Varvara look much better than the abbreviation PT (“panthera tigris’) and a number. After all, we feel like we are part of their lives when we monitor them,” said Anna Mukhachyova, a researcher at the Sikhote-Alin Reserve, who has been studying tigers in their natural habitat for six years.