Sanda’s release into the wild set for May 2021

Sanda’s release into the wild set for May 2021

10 March 2021

The tigress Sanda is coming to the end of her rehabilitation in the village of Alekseyevka. She is expected to be released into the wild this May.


The emaciated tiger cub, aged 9 to 10 months, regularly approached the village of Gornovodnoye (Olginsky District, Primorye Territory). She was caught on 16 May 2020 and put into the Centre for the Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Tigers and Other Rare Animals in the village of Alekseyevka for treatment and temporary care. 


After two weeks of rehabilitation, the tigress’ condition improved significantly, and the experts decided to move her from a quarantine unit into a quarantine enclosure. In July, the young tigress was given access to a large rehab enclosure in addition to her quarantine space.


Sergei Aramilev, general director of the Amur Tiger Centre, said Sanda’s successful rehabilitation is further evidence of the high professionalism of Russian experts and their correct methods of rehabilitating big cats. They saved the young tigress from death and prepared her to return into the wild.


“The tigress shows the correct response to human presence and has passed all the tests. Now Sanda is completely ready to return to the taiga. However, there are still two months to go before May, and our overall goal is to prevent her from getting injured during hunting and help her maintain her current progress in reacting to humans. This is what the experts say who are preparing her for release into the wild. Meanwhile, an independent decision on Sanda’s condition and her release site will be made by a special commission at the Directorate for Wildlife Preservation and Protected Natural Areas of the Primorye Territory Forestry Ministry. It consists of leading experts on the study and protection of tigers. The final decision will be made by Rospotrebnadzor. The Amur Region is a promising reintroduction area,” Aramilev said.


According to Viktor Kuzmenko, director of the Tiger Centre, during her stay at the rehab centre, Sanda learned to hunt all of her prey: from small mammals to large hoofed animals.


“Since Sanda came to the centre pretty young, she had to hone her first hunting skills by attacking rabbits. Later on, she hunted young hoofed animals and started hunting hoofed adults in the latter half of this autumn. The first hunting sessions were not always successful, but this is natural for her age-mates. Since the start of this year, all her hunts have been exemplary. In all, she has successfully hunted down 17 sika deer and 15 boar. At first, she was rushing after these animals all over her enclosure, whereas now she masterfully uses the full range of adult tiger skills. She first hides, moves quietly, uses the terrain and natural shelters of the enclosure to approach her prey, and attacks it quickly and precisely,” Kuzmenko said.


Russian specialists have amassed unique experience in rehabilitating troubled tigers and releasing them into the wild again. These animals are taken out of their natural habitat because of wounds, injuries, diseases or other factors that pose a threat to their life or could lead to conflicts such as forced straying into populated areas, attacks on agricultural animals and pets, and so on.


Nowadays, in addition to Sanda, a tiger cub by the name of Rosomakha (Wolverine) is staying at the rehab centre in the village of Alekseyevka.