Three Siberian Tiger Cubs Rescued in the Russian Far East

Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Moscow, Russia
Within the last three weeks, three tiger cubs have been delivered to the Tiger Inspection Rehab Center in the Russian Far East, a project funded by IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) to help rescue the Siberian tigers.
Last weekend two cubs were found by a logger and a truck driver on the roads of the Chuguyewski district in the Primorye region. The young tigers were so exhausted from hunger and frost that they did not flee from the men.
 
“These tigers look like they are only about two months old which indicates they were likely abandoned by their mother tigress,” said Igor Beliatski, of IFAW. “These tiger cubs did not yet have the skills to hunt and drink water, they would have soon died.”
 
The cubs are now recovering under veterinarian and medical control in the village of Razdolnoye. The pair joined a third female tiger cub named “Lapka” which was rescued just a few weeks earlier.
 
Lapka, approximately 4 months old, was found with a trap on its paw two weeks ago in Khabarovskiy krai, in the Russian Far East. The loggers that found Lapka later delivered the tiger cub to the Wildlife Rescue Center near the Kutuzovka village of Khabarovskiy krai.
 
The tiger cub was weak and exhausted and her paw was severely injured. She had survived approximately two weeks with a trap on her paw, and stayed alive by eating snow.
 
Urgent veterinary help came from Russian Federal Inspection Tiger of the Ministry of Natural Resources, an IFAW grantee for the last 8 years. Sergey Zubtsov, Head of the local inspection department, sent 2 veterinaries from a local clinic to help the tiger cub. Urgent surgery was performed and 2 phalanges of its injured right forepaw were ablated to avoid blood poisoning. After the surgery, the tiger cub was transferred to the Razdolnoe rehab center in the Primorskiy region.
 
“In the recent months 5 tigers, all females, died because of conflicts with humans. Four were killed by poachers and one was killed in a collision with a bus on a regional land road. This is an alarming sign for the Amur tiger population which is being driven out of the forests and closer to human settlements because of habitat and prey loss, uncontrolled logging and expanding industrial activity in the region,” said Masha Vorontsova, IFAW Russia country director.
 
The Russia’s tiger subspecies is the Siberian (or Amur) tiger Pantera tigris altaica.  According to 2004-2005 winter tiger census, 431-529 Siberian tigers inhabit Khabarovskiy and Primorskiy districts of the Russian Far East. The Amur tiger is the subspecies which is used to hard snowy winters in the wild, it is listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
 
IFAW works regionally, within India, China, and Russia, on critical tiger issues. Currently, tigers are facing grave threats due to the trade in tiger parts, habitat loss, and human encroachment. Tiger farms are an added danger, with only 50 wild tigers remaining in China, and over 4,000 in breeding farms. Due to such factors, tigers occupy an estimated mere 7% of their historical range.

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