The return of tigers into the wild is no more a scientific experiment

  • 27.11.2015
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The return of tigers into the wild is no more a scientific experiment

In the framework of the third and final day of the International Working Meeting on the Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Large Predatory Mammals at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution A.N. Severtsov RAN in Moscow Sergey Aramilev, director of the Primorsky branch of the Amur Tiger Center, spoke about the results of joint work with the Government of the Khabarovsk Krai on the rehabilitation and return to the wild nature of the male Amur tiger.

The report "Experience of rehabilitation and reintroduction of the Amur tiger in the Khabarovsk Territory", prepared by Aramilyov S.V., Kostyrya A.V., Fomenko P.V., and Kruglov E.V., presents the history of the issue and experience on the release in the nature of the tiger "Persistent".

Since the 90s. Thanks to a well-developed veterinary school, Russian specialists successfully solve problems of restoring the physiological state of young Amur tigers (so-called orphan tigers) found in an exhausted condition. Upon completion of the rehabilitation process in rescued tigers there are two ways: to get to the zoo to maintain a program for breeding animals in captivity, or to return to the wild. However, in order to return to nature, a rehabilitation center is needed, where tigers can be taught how to hunt ungulate animals, ensure their complete isolation from people and the manifestation of human activities.  Before the construction of a rehabilitation center near the village. Alekseyevka in the Primorsky Krai, only the Utes rehabilitation center in the Khabarovsk Krai met these requirements.

“One of the first experiences of returning tigers to nature was carried out in 2001, when in the Terneisky district of the Primorsky Krai, with the support of the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia and WCS, two young Amur tigers were reintroduced after training at the Utes Center.  Experts differ in assessing the success of the release, as both tigers died, but one of them lived in the wild for more than a year, and the cause of their death was a poacher bullet.”

Nevertheless, the experience of the Center Utes is invaluable, so it is here in 2014-2015. Measures were taken to rehabilitate and prepare for release into the wild nature of a male Amur tiger aged 3-4 years, who received the nickname "Uporny". In May, 20015, with the support of the Government of the Khabarovsk Krai, and the Amur Tiger Center, Uporny was released to the conditions of wildlife in the Tiger House of the Nanaisky District of the Khabarovsk Krai. The tiger was equipped with a collar with a GPS module that allows you to monitor its movements.  At the moment, experts are actively examining the places of stops of Uporny.

“Uporny, in fact, is the first tiger, returned to nature, within the framework of the state’s fulfillment of its obligations to resolve conflict situations and in compliance with all necessary procedures and approvals, while the main purpose of the release was to return the animal to its natural habitat, and the scientific component played  secondary role.  Nevertheless, in the preparation and production of the tiger, the scientific developments obtained by our colleagues in the production of tigers in the Jewish Autonomous and Amur regions were taken into account.  If Uporny survives the winter, it will mean that the return of tigers back into nature from the problem and scientific experiments will turn into the category of ordinary and in the good sense of the word “routine” events.”

The Amur Tiger Center wrote in detail about the movements of the Uporny.

The international working meeting on the rehabilitation and reintroduction of large predatory mammals was held from 25 to 27 November at the Institute of the problems of ecology and evolution of them.  A.N.  Severtsov RAN in Moscow with the support of the Russian Geographical Society and the Amur Tiger Center.  Its goal is to combine the experience of leading global projects for the rehabilitation and reintroduction of large predatory mammals, including those carried out with the support of the Russian Geographical Society, as well as the Permanently Operating Expedition of the Russian Academy of Sciences on the study of animals in the Red Book of the Russian Federation.

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