Cupid draws back his bow: Budding romance for Siberian tigers

Valentine Love

© PRPO "TIGER Center"

We continue to monitor the rehabilitated Amur tigers released in Far East Russia in 2014. Here’s a Valentine’s Day update:

A joint monitoring team is currently working in “Zhuravliny” Sanctuary (in the Jewish Autonomous Region). The team studies the hunting locations of the young tigers and regularly checks the camera traps installed within their range. Subsequent images show that the released tigers are doing well in the wild.

The “Zuravliny” Sanctuary is the home of two wild Amur tigers – Svetlaya and Borya. Their stories are remarkable. A female tiger Svetlaya was released in June 2014 after she was rescued as an orphan and rehabilitated. After release, she immediately established her range within the sanctuary borders. Eighteen months later, a male tiger Borya, also a rehabilitated orphan, moved to the sanctuary. He was released in the Amur Region within the territory of “Zheludinsky” Sanctuary.

Borya had to walk more than 500 km to find Svetlaya (before that the tigers saw each other only at the rehabilitation center)!

In December 2015, their meeting in the wild was registered for the first time. Later on they met many times and spent a number of periods lasting several days together. GPS-collars allow the monitoring team to follow their movements. These tracking devices were placed on the tigers before their release into the wild and have been working without failure.

The team travelled to the locations where the tigers meet and installed photo traps. The pair has been spotted resting, playing and even hunting together.  In fact fifteen hunting locations were found, where the tigers hunted wild boars!

These may signify that the young tigers formed a pair, and maybe this spring Svetlaya will give birth to cubs. The data obtained during monitoring is unique. This is the first time it has been possible to learn about the life and social interactions of wild tigers in such detail.

Amur tiger monitoring is performed jointly by PRPO “Center “Tiger,” inspectors of Hunting Inspection Department of the Jewish Autonomous Region government, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), experts of A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences, staff of “Bastak” Natural Reserve and “Khingansky” Natural Reserve with support of Phoenix Fund and IFAW.


To learn more about our work with tigers visit our campaign page

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