UPDATE ON THE TIGER REHABILITATION PROJECT

Early Summer 2014, our partner Phoenix Fund posted great news on their website regarding the rehab and release of the five cubs back into the wild:

http://fundphoenix.org/en/tigers-go-to-jao/

http://fundphoenix.org/en/three-tigers-released-into-the-wild/

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Two young tigresses of 9 and 11 months of age were transported and released into the enclosure of the Rehabilitation Centre for Rare Species near Alekseevka village in the Russian Far East. This was done under the watchful eye of Russian President Putin. The tigresses will eventually be released back into the wild, like Cinderella last May.

More information can be found on the website of our partner Phoenix Fund: http://fundphoenix.org/en/putin-in-rehab/

One of the sedated tiger cubs (c) Inspection Tiger

One of the sedated tiger cubs (c) Inspection Tiger

One of the cubs gets medical check-up (c) Inspection Tiger

One of the cubs gets medical check-up (c) Inspection Tiger

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At last, the long-awaited event has occurred! On May 9, 2013, young tigress named Cinderella was returned back to the wild in Bastak Nature Reserve in the Russian Far East.

Photos by the Phoenix Fund

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Now, the tigress weighs about 94 kg (207 lb) that is normal for her age. The animal is very active, and it took over two hours before the specialists could immobilize it with a tranquillizer dart. They checked animal’s teeth, took temperature, blood and other samples to test any disease. Then, the predator was put in a special trailer in order to be transported to Bastak Nature Reserve.

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In the early-morning hours of May 9, 2013 (at 9 a.m.), an off-road jeep towing a trailer arrived to the place after an 18-hour drive and traveling 1,000 km (over 600 miles). After that, the trailer was attached to a cross-county vehicle that took the tigress and tiger specialists to the Upper Bastak River, a release site. Upon arriving, the specialists first checked an automatic remote control of cabin’s door, radio-locating system, instructed everyone around on safety rules, and then opened the door. After a 3-second pause, the tigress jumped out of the cabin and disappeared in thick forest.

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At present, specialists of A.N Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Inspection Tiger and Wildlife Conservation Society are monitoring Cinderella’s movements with the use of radio telemetry, and have already received first signals from a radio collar. She is moving towards the area where the presence of an adult male tiger was recorded before. The scientists are hopeful that soon a new tiger couple will find each other, and Cinderella will found her new home there, taking into account that there is plenty of food in the protected area and the guards of Bastak Nature Reserve will ensure peace and good protection.

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The Phoenix Fund has been concerned about Cinderella’s future since the first days the tigress was found. We, together with International Fund for Animal Welfare decided to assist in her rehabilitation process’, says Sergei Bereznuk, Director of the Phoenix Fund. ‘We would like to thank all Russian people who responded to our call for help. Donations were coming from all parts of Russia and from abroad. Thanks to professionalism of specialists of the Rehabilitation Centre for Rare Species, we think, Cinderella is ready for a new stage in her life. At this very exciting moment we hope that it will not take her long time to get settled in her new home, and that she will increase wild tiger population by giving birth to young in the future’.

It should be recalled that Cinderella’s story began in February 2012, when people found the young orphaned tigress in freezing conditions on the territory of Borisovskoye hunting lease. She was unable to survive for long on her own. The animal aged approximately 5-6 months was so exhausted that she could be easily handled. Her foreleg and tail were frostbitten. According to the vets, if the female tiger had not been rescued that day, she would have died the next. The cub weighed up to 16 kilograms (35 lbs). After a 3-week quarantine the young tigress was transported to the Rehabilitation Centre for Rare Species located in Alekseevka village, Primorsky krai, which construction was made possible thanks to the financial support from Russian Geographical Society. At the centre Cinderella was under constant control of veterinarians and specialists of Inspection Tiger and A.N Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution.

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PREVIOUS POSTS AND NEWS ON CINDERELLA AND THE OTHER 3 TIGER CUBS:

SPOTS Foundation together with the Rewilding Foundation made a donation in March of $2,000 USD to Phoenix Fund for the rehabilitation of Cinderella and the other Amur tiger cubs.

One of the three rescued cubs (c) Mark Wheeler

One of the three rescued cubs (c) Mark Wheeler

Another cub was found early January and captured by the team on the 9th! The 7-month old female underwent surgery on the 11th and has recovered since.

On November 27, 2012 three young tigers appeared near a military unit in Primorsky krai, Russian Far East. The small predators tried to kill a domestic dog, but a guard scared the animals away into the forest. Experts from the Wildlife Conservation Society, Inspection Tiger, and Primorsky Hunting Management Department tried to find out why the cubs walked alone and did their best to track the tigress. Unfortunately, the tigress mother was not found. The specialists then decided to capture and transfer the cubs to the Amur Tiger Rehabilitation Centre in Alekseyevka village, where the Phoenix Fund is helping to rehabilitate an orphan tigress named Cinderella.

The Rewilding Foundation and several other NGOs have gathered funds for Cinderella over the past months and she will be released back to the wild in May 2013!

An operation to capture the animals lasted from November 28 till December 6. The female cub was captured first, perhaps because of her obvious weakened condition compared to her two siblings. Two of the tiger cubs are male. The specialists immediately started providing care to the animals. Thanks to timely medical treatment the animals feel good now and vets are sure that they will grow into healthy tigers and learn the necessary survival skills to be released back to the wild. The three cubs spent 3 weeks in quarantine where vets kept a close eye on them. The cubs were named Businka (Little Bead), Boris, and Kuzya. Give Cinderella, Businka, Boris, and Kuzya the chance to live free in the wild.

Give a small gift of:

  • €15 to provide a cub with vitamin and mineral supplements for one month.
  • €30 to pay for average daily veterinary costs.
  • €75 to feed a cub for one day. 
  • €120 to pay for daily care.

With your help the tiger cubs could be successfully released back into the wild this spring (Cinderella) and autumn 2013 (the two brothers and sister).

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Young tigress called Cinderella needs our help fast! She is currently being prepared for her return to the wild, but lack of funding may leave her little chance for release back into her natural habitat. Cinderella will stay in a remote rehabilitation centre this winter; it is hoped that she will be released in early spring 2013.

Last year, after one-year construction works in Primorsky province (Russian Far East), a new rehabilitation centre for Amur tigers and other wildlife finally opened its doors. And in April 2012 a young Amur tigress named “Cinderella” has become the first resident of the centre.

Young Cinderella when she was found. Photo by WCS

Cinderella’s story began in February 2012, when people found the young orphaned Amur tigress in freezing conditions. She was unable to survive for long on her own. The animal aged approximately 5-6 months was so exhausted that she could be easily handled. Her foreleg and tail were frostbitten. According to the vets, if the female tiger had not been rescued that day, she would have died the next. The cub weighed up to 16 kilograms (35 lbs). First, it was decided to put the animal in quarantine for three weeks under constant control of veterinarians in an improvised shelter specially constructed by wildlife specialists. Then, after the tigress began to recover and gain weight, the specialists spent much time discussing the possibilities for her release back into the wild. A unanimous decision was to transport the female tiger to the rehabilitation centre where it would be taught hunting technics.

Cinderella in her temporary enclosure. Photo by Inspection Tiger

At first, small animals like hares and badgers were to be put in a special enclosure with the tigress. Then, the predator would learn to hunt Sika deer. During this “training course” the tigress must be completely isolated from people, so that the animal can develop a fear of humans.With her first days in the centre, Cinderella felt herself at home. She liked a cool den artificially made of rocks which gives her shelter at sunny and hot days. Also, Cinderella enjoys cooling down in a small pond near the den. Animal care staff can keep an eye on all her movements from an observation tower or by watching on-line videos from video cameras installed along the perimeter of the enclosure. The tigress has already learned to hunt hares, and now is gaining skills to hunt deer. The centre’s caretakers do their best to increase her chances for release in the wild. Cinderella will stay in the centre this winter and has a good chance of being released in March-April 2013.

But Phoenix Fund, partner of the Rewilding Foundation in the Russian Far East, desperately needs funding for her care over the winter. Your help would give Cinderella a better chance of returning to the taiga and potentially having her own cubs in the future. PLEASE DONATE NOW! Whatever you can give would be gratefully received. You can donate via us, please visit this page for details. Make sure you specifically mention “CINDERELLA” and we will transfer all donations to Phoenix Fund. If you want to donate directly to Phoenix, visit their website for details. Thank you!

Cinderella, 1st of December 2012. Photo by Phoenix Fund