(Yarmouth Port, MA – 9 December, 2015) Zolushka, an Amur (aka Siberian) tigress found orphaned in 2012 and released after rehabilitation in 2013, was photographed by motion-sensing cameras at Bastak Nature Reserve in Far East Russia with two young cubs. The photographs provide historic proof of her successful reintegration to the wild. Experts from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – www.ifaw.org) and partner organizations involved in Zolushka’s rehabilitation celebrate the news world-wide.
The Amur tiger, a separate tiger subspecies, only number approximately 500 individuals in the wild. The biggest threat to Amur tigers comes from illegal poaching and habitat loss. Zolushka (Russian for Cinderella) became orphaned in the winter of 2012, her mother a likely victim of poaching.
“We are overjoyed with the news of Zolushka becoming a mother to two healthy cubs,” said Masha Vorontsova, IFAW Russia Director. “This is what we’ve all been hoping for since her release in 2013. This shows that she has fully adapted to a life in the wild and is able to successfully hunt, breed and now raise a new generation of Amur tigers.”
Scientists have been monitoring Zolushka since her release. She was outfitted with a satellite and radio collar and rangers have used a combination of field tracking and motion-sensing remote cameras to monitor her condition and movements.
With the birth of these cubs, the population of tigers in Bastak has doubled. This ground-breaking animal welfare and conservation effort was jointly carried out by IFAW, the Phoenix Fund, Special Inspection Tiger, A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
In May and June of 2014, IFAW and its partners collaborated once again to release another five Amur tigers back to the wild, the largest tiger release in history.
This article was originally posted at IFAW. It has been reprinted here with permission.