AboutZoos, Since 2008


Reha­bil­i­tated Amur tiger translo­cated and released into the wild

pub­lished 31 May 2015 | mod­i­fied 31 May 2015

After a suc­cess­ful six-​months reha­bil­i­ta­tion process a three-​year old male Amur tiger was strong and healthy enough to be returned to the wild. As a poten­tial con­flict tiger he will be mon­i­tored for the rest of his life in the wild though.

tiger Uporny releaseEarly Novem­ber 2014 two tigers appeared within 12 kilo­me­tres of the town of Vyazem­skoye in the Rus­sian Far East Vyazam­sky dis­trict of the Khabaroc­sky Province, killing three dogs on the premises of a min­ing enter­prise, on the town’s out­skirts. A tiger con­flict res­o­lu­tion group was sent to cap­ture the con­flict tigers. The first tiger was sedated with tran­quil­iz­ers and placed in the UTYOS Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre in Khabarovsky Province in the morn­ing of 14 Novem­ber. The UTYOSis the only gov­ern­ment Centre for reha­bil­i­ta­tion of wild ani­mals in the Russ­ian Far East. For his stub­born­ness and unwill­ing­ness to get out of the trans­port cage into the enclo­sure, this 3 year old male was nick­named Uporny (Russ­ian for stub­born). Accord­ing to UTYOS spe­cial­ists, Uporny’s con­di­tion was poor, while the other tiger that was cap­tured was in good health. The lat­ter was sent to a reha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre located in Nadezhdin­sky dis­trict of Pri­morsky Province.

Uporny became the first tiger to be accom­mo­dated in the brand new enclo­sure of the UTYOS Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre equipped with a spe­cial sur­veil­lance sys­tem, which makes it pos­si­ble to avoid any unnec­es­sary human-​tiger con­tact. He was treated and pro­vided with the nec­es­sary nutri­ents and a bal­anced diet, while peo­ple never came close to the cage. Because con­tacts between humans and the tiger were min­i­mal, all instincts proved to be pre­served — Uporny can hunt, ambush his prey, and still is afraid of humans.

This is a wild tiger. He is entirely ready to be released into his nat­ural envi­ron­mentEduard Kruglov, head of the UTYOS Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre »

So, six months later Uporny was released into the wild in the area called Home of the Tiger after being reha­bil­i­tated. The Home of the Tiger moun­tain area is 200 kilo­me­tres away from the Utyos Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre on the bor­der with Anyuisky National Park. From now on this sparsely inhab­ited moun­tain­ous area in the Nanayski Dis­trict of Khabarovsky Province will become home for the tree-​year-​old male Uporny. An adult male and a female with a cub liv­ing in an adja­cent plot will be his neigh­bors. If the old res­i­dents do not accept a new comer he ca always escape to the national park.

Nanayskyi DistrictUTYOS rehab centre map

What is pecu­liar about this oper­a­tion is that all of its stages such as reha­bil­i­ta­tion, translo­ca­tion and releas­ing of the “re-​educated” tiger into the wild were organ­ised and con­trolled by the gov­ern­men­tal agen­cies respon­si­ble for the rare ani­mal con­ser­va­tion, namely the Min­istry of Naturel Resource of Khabarovsky Province and its struc­tural sub­di­vi­sions,” notes Pavel Fomenko, the bio­di­ver­sity con­ser­va­tion pro­gramme coor­di­na­tor at WWF Rus­sia Amur branch.

Non-​governmental organ­i­sa­tions only did the leg­work like pro­vid­ing con­sul­ta­tions and assis­tance on the spot. And this is the way it should be done. We have been try­ing to achieve for many years that the gov­ern­ment fully car­ries out its respon­si­bil­i­ties for con­ser­va­tion of rare species like the Amur tiger. In this par­tic­u­lar case the efforts of all offi­cial agen­cies could be graded as excel­lent. And of course I am happy for this guy with the striped skin that peo­ple caught him at a proper time, duly stopped his dis­or­derly con­duct, pro­vided him well care and finally awarded the ani­mal with the most pre­cious thing — free­dom!” adds Fomenko.

As soon as the gate bolt was removed the tiger jumped out of the cage and dashed to the bush with­out even look­ing back. From now on the tiger’s route will be observed by the Hunt­ing Depart­ment staff with the help of a radio col­lar with GPS mod­ule which was pro­vided by the Amur Tiger Center.

To work with con­flict tigers in Khabarovsky Province we have cho­sen the advanced light radio col­lars cur­rently avail­able on the mar­ket. It is not easy to col­lar a tiger. You should cor­rectly decide on a collar’s size so that an ani­mal can­not unfas­ten it some­how and [roam and hunt with­out being fur­ther mon­i­tored, Moos],” com­ments Sergey Aramilev, head of the Amur Tiger Cen­ter Pri­morye branch.

It is impor­tant that the col­lar is auto­mat­i­cally detached when running out of power. Even after being in con­tact with humans only once an ani­mal will be regarded as a poten­tially con­flict tiger from then on. There­fore the tiger will be observed by men till the end of his life. After the col­lar is detached Uporny will be con­trolled with cam­era traps and using other meth­ods. Dur­ing the first month after the release it is impor­tant to under­stand his behaviour. There­fore a group of spe­cial­ists will check con­stantly the loca­tions received from satel­lite and iden­tify how and what the tiger feed him­self with,” adds Aramilev.

WWF Rus­sia pro­vided finan­cial sup­port for the recov­ery and reha­bil­i­ta­tion of the con­flict tiger brought to UTYOS Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre.
The oper­a­tion on his translo­ca­tion was car­ried out by the Khabarovsky Province Hunt­ing Depart­ment with the sup­port of WWF and the Amur Tiger Center.

(Source: WWF Rus­sia news releases, 17.11.2014 and 28.05.2015)

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