Pavlik and Yelena explore the north

Pavlik and Yelena explore the north

29 October 2019

The Amur tigers Pavlik and Yelena, who were released this spring into the Khingan Nature Reserve, surprised the experts tracking them by taking a trip to the north of the Amur Region. Having covered several dozen kilometres, the tigress turned back and returned to the reserve, while the tiger continues his journey to the north.


According to the experts who monitor the predators via GPS collars, which the tigers got before being released into the wild, Pavlik and Yelena have already shown a tendency to travel. But before, they did not stray far from the reserve: the tigress just walked in the protected zone, and the male wandered along the border of the Jewish Autonomous Region, after which both returned to the Khingan mountains.


But in mid-October, both tigers unexpectedly left the protected area and set off for the north of the Amur Region.


“Pavlik first went to the Bureya River, walked to the Bureya Reservoir and now continues to head northeast along its left bank. It is hard to say how long his journey will last. But now he is in an area with very few oak and cedar forests, so there are almost no hoofed animals for him to hunt there. This circumstance will force him to finish his trek and turn back,” said Vyacheslav Kastrikin, deputy director for research at the Khingan Nature Reserve.


“We expected something like this from Pavlik, because all the males previously released into the wild sought to run away from the release site. Some of them succeeded, but we really hope that Pavlik will come back anyway,” said Sergei Aramilev, general director of the Amur Tiger Centre.


The monitoring group that was following the tracks of Pavlik and Yelena, made up of specialists from the Amur Tiger Centre, the Khingan Nature Reserve and the Amur Region Hunting Department, found and examined the predators’ hunting and eating sites at the beginning of their journey. The tigers caught a boar, a roe deer and badgers.


Pavlik and his sister Yelena were removed from the wild together with their mother in February 2018. On 15 May 2019, the tigers were taken to their release site in the Amur Region, where they stayed in a specially equipped temporary enclosure to get acclimated. A week later, the specialists remotely opened the doors of the enclosure, and the tigers took off into the wild.


In the near future, the scientists plan to expand the monitoring of reintroduced predators using camera traps. The installation of motion-sensor cameras will begin after the first frost in the Amur Region. The cameras will be located in the places that tigers visit most often.