Tiger released to the wild in Russia’s Far East

Wednesday, 16 September, 2009
Moscow, Russia
Today, a 14 month-old tiger was successfully released to the wild. One of only an estimated 450 surviving Amur tigers in the wild, the cub spent 6 months undergoing rehabilitation supported by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - www.ifaw.org) and other groups and government agencies. Prior to the release, the tiger was radio-collared by scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences who will monitor the cub in the following months.

The orphan tiger was found last March when it wandered into the village of Avangard desperately looking for food. It was captured without resistance by the tiger protection specialists from Inspection Tiger. The cub was given little chance of surviving on its own. At eight months, the small and weak cub weighed only 37 lbs (17kg).

From the 28th of May to the 15th of September, the tiger cub was under the daily care of Dr. Viktor Udin. It was put on a special diet to gain weight, a rehabilitation program to restore its natural hunting skills, and taught a healthy fear of humans. When it was released today into the Ussuriisky Nature Reserve the tiger was 70kg. and in good health..

"We are extremely happy and excited to have this tiger back in the wild. Our hope is that this historic release will allow more endangered tigers to be saved in the future. Today’s release shows that scientifically-proven rehabilitation techniques can translate into the conservation of one of the world's most enigmatic species," said Masha Vorontsova, IFAW Russia Director.

Since 2007, IFAW has been involved in the rehabilitation of six orphan tiger cubs, five of which were deemed non-releasable and live in captivity. Today’s release marks only the second time an endangered Amur tiger has been released back to the wild after rehabilitation.

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