Zolushka gives birth for the third time

Zolushka gives birth for the third time

10 November 2020

Zolushka the tigress and her one-year-old cub have been spotted by a camera trap in the Bastak Nature Reserve where the predator has lived since her release in 2013. Experts believe that this is the third time Zolushka has become a mother.


Zolushka gave birth to her first offspring in 2015, two and a half years after she had been released into the wild. In 2017, she was seen with her second litter.


On 25 September 2020, a trail camera spotted the tigress with a one-year-old cub.


“Under protection and given the sufficient number of hoofed animals, it is no wonder that tigers produce offspring. The Bastak Nature Reserve is an inseparable part of the Amur tiger habitat, and Zolushka’s new cub is further proof that the nature reserve employees are doing their job. Even though the cub is a grown-up, it and its mother have a tough winter ahead. But if they survive, the cub will be able to begin its own independent life in the spring,” said Sergei Aramilev, director general at the Amur Tiger Centre.


Alexander Kalinin, director of the Bastak Nature Reserve, notes that it seems like Zolushka feels safe and comfortable in the nature reserve, since she had another cub.


“Zolushka was the first tigress to contribute to restoring the local tiger population in our region, the Amur River basin. And we are very happy to see Zolushka with a cub. She has given birth to five cubs since her release, with at least one female among them. It will facilitate the recovery of the tiger population in the nature reserve and the entire region. We do not know the sex of the cub yet and hope that camera traps will tell us more. Then we will think of how to name the new striped inhabitant of our reserve,” Alexander Kalinin said.


The Bastak Nature Reserve has long been a partner of the Amur Tiger Centre in implementing the programme to reintroduce the Amur tiger in the Jewish Autonomous Region, on the border of its historical range.


In 2016, the Amur Tiger Centre provided the Bastak Nature Reserve with a cross-country vehicle and a snowmobile to patrol the area and protect Zolushka and her offspring.


In 2020, ahead of the wildfire season, the centre purchased and gave to the nature reserve 20 backpack fire pumps, four portable blowers and three satellite phones. This equipment went to the nature reserve’s firefighting units formed to prevent and extinguish forest fires.


In addition, the Amur Tiger Centre built electric power lines to connect two ranger stations, 39th Kilometre and Zabelovsky.


Three more tigers – Saikhan, Lazovka and Filippa – were released after Zolushka in the region with assistance from the centre. The tigers Boris and Svetlaya, released in the neighbouring Amur River basin region, moved to the Jewish Autonomous Region.


The reintroduced tigers in the Jewish Autonomous Region are also breeding actively. Besides Zolushka, the tigresses Svetlaya and Lazovka also have given birth (Svetlaya became a mother twice). Experts also believe that Filippa has had her first offspring.


According to experts, there is a total of some 20 tigers, including cubs, in the Jewish Autonomous Region thanks to the reintroduction programme.