Orphan tigers interacting at Russian rehab center

Vladik (pictured) has shown an interest in fellow PRNCO Tiger Center resident Filippa. PHOTO: © PRNCO Tiger CenterWhile we celebrate the possible mating of Borya and Svetlaya in Russia—two graduates of the  IFAW-supported PRNCO Tiger Center rehabilitation project who are now living in the wild—the center’s current residents are starting to take an interest in one another.

While monitoring Filippa and Vladik, the two tigers admitted to PRNCO Tiger Center this year, we were able to see how social connections form between tigers even though they are in separate, abutting enclosures.

Recently, we saw for the first time how Filippa approached Vladik as closely as possible (previously Filippa kept her distance from him). The tigers now prefer to walk together moving alongside the enclosure fence. Sometimes Filippa will begin to run, trying to invite her neighbor to play.

We have not witnessed any aggressive interaction thus far.

One of important aspects of wildlife rehabilitation is the creation of special conditions, so animals are able to develop natural, species-specific behaviors.

As we have written before, hunting behavior is of particular importance for a predator, and this requires quite a long time to develop. Also crucial is an ability to effectively communicate with other individuals of the same species.

Social contacts are extremely important for this young female tiger, as she was orphaned and had not been able to obtain the necessary experience of interaction with her family. It has taken two months for these tigers to start a friendly communication, and we look forward to watching their interactions show real progress in their rehabilitation to survive in the wild in the future.

The following are blogs from 2016 on Filippa and Vladik’s experiences since being admitted to the center:

Rehabilitating Amur tiger orphan named Filippa

RUSSIA UPDATE: Tiger Filippa healthy, nourished, learning skills to survive in the wild

Orphan tigress Filippa learning to hide food from scavengers

RUSSIA UPDATE: One rescued tiger to start rehab; another examined, released to wild

RUSSIA UPDATE: Amur Tiger Filippa shows her stripes

--EB

Monitoring of rehabilitated and released tigers is continued by PRNCO Tiger Center, Hunting Inspection Department of the Jewish Autonomous Region Government, Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), staff of the Bastak and the Khingansky Nature Reserves with support of “Phoenix” Foundation and IFAW.

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