Amur (Siberian) tigers are some of the most threatened big cats in the world. They nearly went extinct due to poaching and habitat loss, but in recent years dramatic conservation initiatives have seen their numbers rise. Thanks to the efforts of a dedicated team at the Alekseevka Rehabilitation Centre, Panthera tigris ssp. altaica (Amur tigers’ scientific name) have begun to expand their range.
In February 2012, a starving and frostbitten tiger cub was found in Russia. She was taken to the Alekseevka Rehabilitation Centre, where she eventually recovered. The tigress was named Zolushka (Russian for Cinderella), and at the centre she learned how to hunt live prey. The staff were careful to interact with her as little as possible, so that she would not become accustomed to people. Once Zolushka reached dispersal age at 20-months-old, she was released into the Bastak Nature Reserve.
Sometime after her release, a lone male tiger traveled 124 miles to the reserve. Zolushka has recently been filmed playing with two cubs, which means she must have mated with that male. After a 40-year absence, Amur tigers have returned to the Bastak Nature Reserve. Zolushka’s success also marks the first time a rehabilitated tiger has been known to give birth in the wild.
This is a major victory, not just for Amur tigers, but for humanity. It shows that with care, dedication, and knowledge we can reverse much of the damage we have caused to our planet.
Click here to view the original story from The Guardian. To learn more about tiger conservation in general, please visit Panthera’s website.