On 29 April 2017 a young, female Amur tiger named Filippa, was released into the Russian wilderness after almost two years of rehabilitation. The tigress was raised and trained to survive in her natural habitat of the Primorye Region of the Russian Far East at the Center for Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Tigers and Other Rare Animals (PRNCO “Tiger Center”) supported by the .
Filippa, who weighs 90 kilograms, is in excellent physical condition and has passed all the pre-release tests. She has been fitted with a GPS satellite tracking collar for post-release monitoring while she adjusts to life in the wild.
The Dichun Regional State Nature Sanctuary was specifically chosen for her release site following extensive research by the Federal Supervisory Natural Resources Management Service and IFAW.
In 2015, Filippa was found as an emaciated, orphaned tiger cub, her mother most likely killed by poachers. She was discovered by residents of Filippovka village in the Khasansky District near the border of the Land of the Leopard National Park, who gave her the name Filippa.
National park staff delivered Filippa to the PRNCO “Tiger Center” and she soon showed signs of improvement. Food and veterinary support of Filippa’s rehabilitation was provided by the autonomous non-commercial organization “Amur Tiger Center”. She is now fully rehabilitated into a clever and experienced hunter, ready for life in the wild. She is one of a total of seven tigers that have been released into the Far East of Russia to repopulate the area with Amur tigers.
“Rehabilitation of large carnivores is a multi-stage process. However, there are two key elements. The first most important stage is ensuring survival of the injured animal: in captivity, a wild animal experiences immense stress and discomfort. This work determines success of further rehabilitation and preparation for release. The second key element is the release itself. After a year and a half of being taken care of in captivity the tigers once again find themselves in new conditions – full freedom in the wild. First weeks after release are not easy as well. The young tigers need to learn to make independent decisions, choose their way and deal with dangers. Of course, during this time, we really worry for our “graduates,” but knowing, how well Filippa learnt to deal with challenges we would like to believe that she will find her place in the wild,” said Ekaterina Blidchenko, zoologist with the PRNCO “Tiger Center”.
“Seeing a rare wild animal return to the wild, one feels both glad and very anxious! We are happy to be involved in this important work and hope Filippa will have a long and healthy life in the wild,” said Masha Vorontsova, Russia and CIS Regional Director at IFAW.
Continued monitoring of the released tiger will be implemented by the Department for Conservation and Management of Wildlife Resources of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast government.
(Source: IFAW press release, 28.04.2017)