Ilona’s movements prove tigress avoiding people

Even from the road our team tracking Ilona were able to spot the characteristic tiger tracks.

This report was filed by Vyacheslav Kastrikin, Deputy Director of Khingan Nature Reserve. –MV

On the northern border Reserve, a tiger's tracks were found.

The next morning, three staff members of the natural reserve’s scientific department travelled to the location indicated by the residents as a “tiger’s.”

With a snowfall  starting, it was necessary to find the tracks as fast as possible before they were covered by the new snow.

Travelling by car along a dirt road to the village at the border of the reserve, we saw them!

Even from the road we were able to spot the characteristic indentations of huge tiger tracks.

They belonged to Ilona.

Based on our survey of the area, she left the tracks in the snow less than six days ago.

Following the tigress’s tracks for almost 3.5 km, we were able to determine why she spent time there: the snow was marked with wild boar tracks. We also found tiger pellets with wild boar hair.

Several times the trails of wild boars and the female tiger were crossed by trails of hunters and dogs. However, we found out through talking to the local residents that no dogs had disappeared nor had anyone seen or heard a tiger.

We were able to conclude that Ilona, when moving outside of the natural reserve’s territory, behaves very carefully. This indicates that she has adapted to both living inside the reserve and outside of the protected area near people.

We are very happy about this. We are always very worried about what might happen if Ilona ends up near a village, or in the forest if she and hunters turn out to follow the same herd of wild boars.

--VK

Related: Monitoring tigers Borya and Svetlaya

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