Orphan tiger cub undergoes rehabilitation in Primorye

Orphan tiger cub undergoes rehabilitation in Primorye

8 June 2020

A young tigress rescued by Department of Hunting Supervision experts in the Primorye Territory’s Olginsky district is recovering, the Amur Tiger Centre reports.


The animal, which was found starving, is now feeding and drinking well. Experts also note that she has begun to show an appropriate reaction to people.


The 9- or 10-month-old tiger cub that regularly approached the village of Gornovodnoye was captured on 16 May 2020. Department of Hunting Supervision experts found that she was left orphaned and needed help.


“The cub often came close to the road, even lay on it, which could have resulted in a tragedy: it could have been killed by a car or poachers. Therefore, the authorised units decided to capture the animal and move it to the rehabilitation centre. The Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources promptly authorised the capture. The unit worked professionally and fast to immobilise the animal and bring it to the rehabilitation centre,” said Sergei Aramilev, general director of the Amur Tiger Centre.


The cub was moved to the Centre for the Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Tigers and Other Rare Animals (Tiger Centre) in the village of Alekseyevka for a veterinary check-up and temporary stay.


“The Primorye Territory Department of Hunting Supervision is working on finding out why the orphaned cub strayed near a village. They looked into the possibility that the young tigress could have been kept by people. We outlined places where the cub could have been kept and inspected them together with police officers. The information proved to be wrong, for we could not find any evidence that the cub had been there, so this version seems unlikely. Nevertheless, we will continue figuring out why the cub ended up all alone,” said Alexei Surovy, Deputy Minister – Head of the Directorate for Wildlife Preservation and Protected Natural Areas at the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife Preservation of the Primorye Territory.


After having spent two weeks at the centre, the tigress’s condition improved significantly due to the medical treatment and a balanced diet. She began to eat and drink water, which she refused to do when she first arrived. Experts believe that the tigress is in stable condition and decided to move her from the quarantine unit to an enclosure, also for quarantine.


“She is being closely monitored, and is showing good results. She already managed to hunt and kill two rabbits and began developing an appropriate reaction to humans: when people come to feed her, she hides and behaves like a wild animal. So we hope that we can teach her hunting skills and eventually release her into the wild. It is too soon to tell, as well as to make a prediction, but the changes in her behaviour give us hope and cautious optimism,” said Viktor Kuzmenko, director of the Tiger Centre.


Sergei Aramilev, general director of the Amur Tiger Centre, notes that experts will have to do a lot of work and research to find out whether the tigress is able to return to the wild.


“We should understand that the rehabilitation of predators does not allow for, say, holding the animal and examining it every day. The key objective is to not take the wildness out of the animal, and also general anaesthesia is not healthy when it is used too often. So experts can only assess what they see on video cameras. Even high magnification and still images cannot tell us how much weight the tigress gained and what the status of her internal health is. But one thing is clear: the tigress has received a chance for freedom, and our common task is to make sure she takes it,” Sergei Aramilev said.