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Baby tiger undergoes operation at rehab centre for wild animals in Russia’s Far East

January 14, 2013, 13:53 UTC+3

Doctors say the rehabilitation period will take at least one year

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KHABAROVSK, January 14 (Itar-Tass) — A six-month-old she-tiger cub that was taken to the Utyos (Cliff) rehabilitation center for wild animals in Russia’s Far Eastern Khabarovsk Territory has been operated, a spokesman for the centre told Itar-Tass on Monday.

“The baby tiger was taken to the centre in the state of utter exhaustion, with her right forepaw badly injured. The paw had two infected lacerated and stab wounds in the carpus. The phalanx ligaments were badly injured too. The inner part of the paw had a six-centimeter wound,” the spokesman said.

According to specialists, the wounds were most probably caused by metal teeth of a poacher trap. Veterinarians also diagnosed pneumonia. Specialists used local anesthetic to put in 15 inner and 12 outer stitches. After the operation, veterinarians instituted a course of medicines and vitamins. Doctors say the rehabilitation period will take at least one year. An extra course of medicines, vitamins and immunomodulatory drugs will be needed. The administration of the centre has called on locals to raise funds to buy drugs and meat for the animal.

The tiger got the name Svetlaya, since she was found near the taiga village of Svetlogorye located on the administrative border between the Primorye region and the Khabarovsk territory.

Located in the taiga some 200 kilometers away from Khabarovsk, the Utyos rehabilitation center for wild animals was set up in 1991 by tiger catcher and specialist in gamekeeping Vladimir Kruglov. Its overall area is 5,200 hectares. It has spacious enclosures to offer shelter to wild animals in distress – bears, tigers, wild boars, elks, and the like. After rehabilitation, the animals are released in the wild, in case they are adapted for independent life. In 2012, the centre released more than 20 bear cubs.

However, not all Utyos inmates return to their natural habitat. The center has become a home for many animals. A tiger called Lyutyi (Fierce) lived there for 20 years. People saw a baby tiger near a Taiga village. They tried to catch it by pressing the animal to the ground by forks and broke its fangs. At first, Vladimir Kruglov didn’t believe that the little one would survive. But the baby tiger recovered. When it got stronger, veterinary doctors implanted artificial fangs made of gold and platinum. However, the animal couldn’t exist in the wild with artificial fangs. That is why Lyutyi was placed to live in a spacious cage with a total area of several hectares. Lyutyi died in spring 2012 at the age of 21. In the wild, tigers live 15 years at best.

Another Tiger called Zhorik was delivered to the Utyos center in 2010. He has undergone several surgeries and is now feeling fine.


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