VLADIVOSTOK, May 13 (Itar-Tass) - It took more than 12 months to release tigress Zolushka (Cinderella) saved from starvation in the Ussuri taiga, Russia’s Far East, into the wild.
Last weekend the tigress was freed into the wilderness on the border with the state nature preserve Bastak in the Jewish Autonomous District.
“We’ve already received the first data on the tigress’s movement across the new territory,” the director of the ecological fund Fenix (Phoenix), Sergei Beryuznyuk, told Itar-Tass.
“Today she is moving to the area, where the signs of an adult male tiger were found. Scientists hope that possibly a new tiger family will appear soon and Zolushka will find her new home,” he said.
Zolushka was found in the taiga last February. The tiger cub left without mother was sick and exhausted. It took several months to cure the cub and show her how to survive in the taiga. The Wild Animals Rehabilitation Centre in the Primorsky Territory used a special method to teach the cub to trace and kill her prey.
Today the tigress weighs 94 kilograms, which is the norm for her age. She is about two years, she is very fast in moves and feels instinctive fear to people and this is very important for her survival in the wild.
While choosing a new home for Zolushka, conservationists reasoned from a sufficient number of deer and wild boars that may feed an adult tiger. Moreover, the nature preserve had already hosted a tiger family that migrated from the south of the Khabarovsk territory or the Primorsky Territory.
Four more tiger cubs remain in the rehabilitation centre. Three of them were found near the village of Yakovlevka, the Primorsky Territory, in late November-early December 2012. The fourth cub was spotted in the Kavalerovsky district of the region early this year. Conservationists say it is still unclear whether they can release all of them into the wild.
There are 450-500 Siberian tigers, also known as Amur tigers, in the Primorsky and Khabarovsk territories. Tigresses bring up their cubs for two years. Every winter, when tigresses caring for the brood become most vulnerable for poachers, conservationists found orphaned cubs.
Over the past five years they managed to save more than ten cubs, most of them founnd shelter in zoos.