Lazovka and her cub return home from China

Lazovka and her cub return home from China

7 May 2020

Lazovka the tigress and her cub have returned home safely after a trip to China, according the Amur Tiger Centre.


According to signals from Lazovka’s GPS collar, when spring came, the tigress crossed the frozen Amur River to China several times. Specialists recorded her first short visit to China over a long period in early March 2020. At that time, the ice covering the river was not as thick as in winter, but the tigress returned home safely. Lazovka went to China five times from mid-March to mid-April 2020.


On 12 April, Lazovka and her cub once again went to China, where the tigress hunted a boar. On this day, images of the animals were captured by Chinese scientists’ camera trap, which showed that Lazovka had taken her cub with her. A week later, the felines decided to go home, but the ice on the Amur had melted. The tigers wandered along the bank for another week looking for a safe place to cross to Russia.


Experts of the Amur Tiger Centre, the hunting supervision service of the Jewish Autonomous Region and the Tiger Centre interregional public organisation, in close cooperation with Chinese scientists and specialists, monitored the tigers’ movements all this time. Employees of the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the Russian Academy of Sciences, whose Chinese partners carried out scientific work in this region, also helped to check the coordinates in China. Colleagues from the Feline Research Centre (China) also joined the efforts.


On 28 April, specialists that check the tigress’ tracking collar signals announced that Lazovka had successfully crossed the river. The coordinates were quickly sent to the hunting supervision service of the Jewish Autonomous Region, whose employees immediately set off for the crossing site. They found fresh paw prints of the tigress and her cub on the bank.


“It is quite difficult to see why the tigress likes the foreign bank so much because there are enough hoofed animals in her Russian range and no reasons to worry. Of course, the period from 12 to 28 April was very stressful for us, because it would have been hard to send help for the tigress in case of need when all the borders were closed. Nevertheless, we should note the excellent cross-border cooperation, which helped us to quickly ensure the ‘personal’ protection for the tigress and her cub and receive updates on their life in China,” said Sergei Aramilev, director general of the Amur Tiger Centre.


Aramilev also said that the tigress had been looking for a place to return to the Russian bank for quite a long time.


“Of course, we didn’t see that with our own eyes, but according to the location data, the tigress made several attempts to cross the river. It looks like the cub was either afraid to swim and she had to return for it, or it got tired and returned to the Chinese bank, forcing her to turn back, too. Nevertheless, they have managed to cross the river, and now it is undeniable that an eight-month-old cub has successfully crossed a water barrier, which is at least 550 metres wide. There have been no such cases recorded so far, and previously, when we found paw prints (or received images) of a tigress with cubs in China, we thought the cubs were born there, because the Amur River was considered an insuperable obstacle for them. Lazovka and her cub have proved this wrong. However, we still hope that they won’t make a habit out of such crossings,” Sergei Aramilev noted.