Pavlik and Yelena successfully adapt to life in the wild

Pavlik and Yelena successfully adapt to life in the wild

7 February 2020

The reintroduction of tigers Pavlik and Yelena to the wild, is being scientifically monitored in the Amur Region, the Amur Tiger Centre reports.


Experts from the Khingan Nature Reserve and the Department for the Protection, Control and Regulation of Wildlife and Their Habitat in the Amur Region collaborate in collecting important scientific data on the condition of reintroduced tigers, with the support and participation of the Amur Tiger Centre.


Scientists regularly monitor reintroduced tiger groups (including their long time habitats as determined by GPS transmitter collars), and service the camera traps like those installed in Pavlik and Yelena’s habitats to track the animals.


The information collected by the scientists is vital for studying the Amur tiger’s living patterns, activity, feeding and general response to being reintroduced into the wild under the programme.


“This observation system (this is the term, as people, information technology, communication and transport operate as a consolidated tool) for monitoring tiger groups and tracking tigers, even in low access areas, has been set up and has been successful. In total, over 60 tiger habitats have been observed with this monitoring system, and the carcasses of prey have been identified in 40 of them. This helped us determine Yelena and Pavlik’s variety of food well enough to conclude that their adaptation to life in the wild has been successful,” said Vyacheslav Kastrykin, deputy director for science at the Khingan Nature Reserve.  


Kastrykin added that a positive side effect of the reintroduction programme is loyalty to the tigers by hunters and local residents. They help the scientists collect data by telling them about tiger tracks and any casual encounter with tigers.  


The tigers’ appearance in the southwest of the Amur Region will help resolve the problems associated with the large population of wolves, which are much more harmful predators for ranchers and for hoofed animals.


“When we planned the monitoring of Pavlik and Yelena we had two goals: to protect the tigers from poachers and to protect people from tiger attacks on livestock and other possible conflicts. So far, thanks to the tigers’ good behaviour and the responsible attitude of the inspectors from the reserve and the regional hunting management department, we have succeed in achieving both goals.


“In addition, it was important for us to collect scientific data, so right after we released the tigers we formed a group to continuously monitor them. The researchers are tasked with collecting scientific data without interfering in the tigers’ lives. At the same time, the permanent presence of the researchers near the tigers is a warning to potential poachers; they usually give up their criminal plans for fear of being identified and held responsible. This liability is very serious now both in terms of prison time and in fines for environmental damage, which are currently over 2.3 million roubles,” said general director of the Amur Tiger Centre Sergei Aramilev.