How Many Siberian Tigers Are Left In The Wild

How Many Siberian Tigers Are Left In The Wild – After decades of poaching and habitat loss drove the Siberian tiger population to extinction, Russia’s symbol of pride is making a comeback amid conservation efforts and anti-poaching efforts.

The Amur tiger, perhaps Russia’s most famous Siberian tiger, lives in a safari park near the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok. It is a popular attraction for tourists who want to see tigers up close. (Pascal Dumont/)

How Many Siberian Tigers Are Left In The Wild

How Many Siberian Tigers Are Left In The Wild

In the deep frozen forests of the Russian Far East, one of nature’s heaviest and most powerful predators is quietly making a comeback.

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The Siberian tiger, also known as the Siberian tiger, is the largest subspecies of Asian big cats. They have survived war, poaching and widespread habitat loss, depriving several animals of new positions of vitality.

In a football-field-sized enclosure about an hour outside of Vladivostok, Elena and Pavlik explain why this happened.

Currently, the 15-month-old male and female siblings are the only residents of the Amur Tiger Center, located near the village of Alekseevka.

Viktor Kuzmenko, director of the rehabilitation center, is closely monitoring the progress of the two adult tigers using multiple cameras and monitors. (Pascal Dumont/)

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The center consists of a large natural area that simulates a tiger’s habitat with typical trees, shrubs and landscape. It is fenced and the outside world is obscured by a green tarpaulin.

“They learned to hunt, trap and kill, and most importantly, they completely avoided people,” says Victor Kuzmenko, who oversees the unique facility. It was founded in 2013 with funding from the Russian government and other non-governmental organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund to protect, research and increase the Amur tiger population.

The cubs were taken in by wildlife officials last summer after their mothers repeatedly visited local villages and ate people’s pets.

How Many Siberian Tigers Are Left In The Wild

In Russia, it is illegal to kill a problem tiger, so the only solution is to capture it and take it to a zoo.

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This camera of a tiger cub at the Amur Tiger Rehabilitation Center shows the aftermath of a successful hunt. (Pascal Dumont/)

“The cubs of that age cannot survive without their mother,” Kuzmenka told News, so they were taken to the center.

At lunchtime, usually in the late afternoon, a deer, boar, or other animal is let into its territory, and the tiger immediately takes notice.

On TV monitors, you can see how a young predator climbs on an unsuspecting animal and jumps with lightning reflexes, clamps its teeth on the neck and waits for the victim to bleed profusely.

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“Their behavior is almost perfect,” said Kuzmenko, who expects the pair to be released this spring and likely succeed.

A century ago, the Siberian tiger traveled as far west as the Caspian Sea, across vast swathes of Russia and China, and all the way to the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

However, they are mercilessly hunted for their fur and body parts. By the end of World War II, only a few dozen animals remained in the wild.

How Many Siberian Tigers Are Left In The Wild

The Soviet Union imposed strict hunting regulations and the population recovered, but declined again after the fall of communism in the 1990s, when hunters were able to cross the border with China more easily and a lucrative black market re-emerged.

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As of 2018, the Russian government has cracked down on poaching and implemented a number of conservation measures that have helped the Russian Far Eastern tiger population grow to about 500 adults and about 100 cubs, according to a census by the Russian Ministry of Nature Protection.

Although the numbers are not large. the Siberian tiger is listed as endangered according to the World Wildlife Fund, the trend is on the rise. Russian authorities believe that within four years the number of tigers will reach more than 700.

According to the WWF, there are about 5,000 tigers in the world, including in Russia and other subspecies in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and South Asia.

In Russia’s Primorsky Krai, which borders China to the west and North Korea to the south, these animals are held in almost mythical reverence.

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“Walking in the forest of the Far East has a magical feeling and a sense of the unknown, because it is the homeland of tigers,” says biologist Sergey Aramiliev. rehabilitation centers and carry out other conservation works.

Tigers are revered in the Russian Far East. Tourists departing from Vladivostok airport are greeted by a group of statues. (Colleen Seminov)

In and around Vladivostok, there are murals, billboards and tiger statues that emphasize the animal’s connection to the region’s identity.

How Many Siberian Tigers Are Left In The Wild

Russian President Vladimir Putin is often photographed with wild animals in the Russian wilderness, often posing with Siberian tigers, most of which are associated with rehabilitation centers.

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The Russian government has funded a number of other security measures, including the half-kilometer Tiger Tunnel, which opened two years ago on the highway to the city of Khabarovsk. This allows tigers to cross roads that separate important tiger habitats.

But perhaps the most important efforts have been directed at poaching, which remains the biggest threat to the animals, Aramiliev said.

The security group is using military vehicles to patrol an area along China’s border with Russia to control poaching. (Pascal Dumont/)

“The laws have become stricter,” he told the news, noting that eight years ago, poaching was killing 50 to 70 tigers each year. Now, according to him, that number is closer to 15 to 20.

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The market for skin and body parts used in traditional medicine and rituals is almost entirely in China, he said.

“If a Chinese family has leather, it is prestigious. But understand, [China] has had this culture for 3,000 years, it’s not something that can change overnight.”

China has also passed a law banning trade in such animal parts, but Russian authorities say illegal cross-border trade continues.

How Many Siberian Tigers Are Left In The Wild

More than 14 Russian conservation teams with more than 100 permanent members now patrol important tiger habitats in military-style armored personnel carriers and look for poachers.

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On a recent trip, group leader Andrei Zakharov told the News that his officers often spent the night deep in the forest, checking the snow for tiger tracks or suspicious vehicles.

“Tigers are supernatural things,” he said. “It’s only 50 meters from us, but we can’t see it until it moves, it’s a very secretive animal.”

As tiger numbers recovered, another part of Zakharov’s work became more important: community outreach as part of so-called “conflict groups.”

Scientists and veterinarians at the Siberian Tiger Rehabilitation Center examine the body of Tikhan, a 13-year-old male Siberian tiger who died unexpectedly in February. (Colleen Seminov)

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Russian television regularly reports about villagers in Primorye whose pets have been killed by tigers or chased by them.

On New Year’s Eve, a woman from a village near Khabarovsk showed the blood of a tiger trying to drag her pet over the fence, but the lucky dog ​​escaped.

The mother of two tigers, who is currently in rehabilitation, was caught eating 10 of the family’s pets after returning to the village several times.

How Many Siberian Tigers Are Left In The Wild

To discourage people from taking matters into their own hands during conflicts, local authorities now offer cash compensation for killed animals or pets.

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“There were cases when tigers attacked cows, horses, dogs, but if the person has all the relevant documents, we will fully compensate, people will receive financial compensation immediately,” said A. Zacharov.

The News was originally invited to the tiger rehabilitation center to witness the medical examination of an elderly tiger named Tikhan.

At the beginning of January, the 13-year-old boy was behaving erratically, approaching Russian border offices and attacking soldiers’ dogs. After the biologists found him and sedated him, they discovered he had a problem with his teeth, so they performed dental surgery.

However, when the crew arrived at the Tiger Center after a long flight from Moscow, Tikhan died suddenly.

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Thirteen years is the average lifespan of a tiger in the wild, but they can live up to 20 years in captivity.

Tests showed that Tikhan weighed 142 kg at the time of his death, well below the normal 300 kg for a healthy male.

As it turned out later, scientists learned that his body was severely dehydrated and suffering from exhaustion. The final cause of death was determined to be natural.

How Many Siberian Tigers Are Left In The Wild

“In this case, we are only reassured by the fact that this tiger has a long life and should leave many offspring.

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Chris Brown is a foreign correspondent in the London bureau. Formerly based in Moscow, Chris had a passion for great stories and traveled across Canada and the world in search of them. Tigers are at the same time one of the most famous, loved and popular species, but also one of the most endangered species in the world. once spread across the largest continent

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