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Funds allocated by Putin allow five tigers to return to natural habitat

Russia's president allocates 15 million rubles to tiger rehab center

VLADIVOSTOK, September 20 (Itar-Tass) - The funds allocated by Russian President Vladimir Putin from the state reserve fund will give a chance to five young tigers kept in the special rehabilitation and reintroduction centre in the Primorsky Territory to return to nature, head of the Fenix ecological fund Sergei Bereznyuk told Itar-Tass.

According to him, public organizations mainly bore expenses to maintain the centre. The Russian Geographical Society built enclosures to keep tigers. The ecological fund Fenix and the International Fund for Animal Welfare provided food for animals and assisted in training of tigers.

One tigress from the centre has been returned to nature. The tigress named Zolushka has found home in the Bastak nature reserve. The cost to keep and train an animal in the centre cost more than 1.5 million rubles - serious expenses for public organizations, Bereznyuk noted.

At present, five young tigers are in the centre, and there is hope the provided funds will help return the animals to nature. Most likely, it will happen next year, the environmentalist noted.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered to allocate 15 million rubles this year from the presidential reserve fund for the Vladivostok rehabilitation and reintroduction centre for tigers and other rare animals.

The president ordered to provide the funds for Amur tigers to ensure their return to the natural environment and buy equipment and set up the infrastructure.

On September 1, Putin visited the centre for tigers. He asked how much its normal functioning cost. According to specialists, the cost of the centre, which occupies an area of three hectares, amounts to eleven million rubles, and one million is needed annually for each tiger.

The centre was opened two years ago near the village of Alekseyevskaya, the Primorsky Territory. Young tigers, many of whom were found dying or seriously ill in the taiga, undergo a course of training to hunt and live in wild nature. For those who cope with the program, specialists choose areas in Far Eastern nature reserves to set the animals free.

At present, about 450 Amur tigers live in the Primorsky and Khabarovsk territories.