A workday at the Center for Rehabilitation of Tigers may start at any time. It sometimes happens even late at night, if a necessity arises to go to catch or receive already caught animal which needs a veterinary care. When animals are kept at the Centre, days-off are cancelled. There is always a plenty of work. The main objectives of the Center are to create the optimal conditions for preparing the wild animals—tigers and leopards—to be released.
To date, the Center has become a home for a leopard Leo80M and a small orphaned tigress caught from the territory of the “Land of the Leopard” National Park. When the staff of the Center comes to work, their first task is to find these cats in the enclosures. The observations of animals are conducted mainly through the remote surveillance cameras. Using these cameras, we can observe animals’ behavior or control their health. But it sometimes happens that they cannot be found in the enclosures even with these cameras. When the vegetation grows thick enough there (especially in summer), we have to set up camera traps around the perimeter. This allows us to make sure that the animals are in good condition, as well as to record some interesting facts from the life of these unique predators, because the most interesting moments usually happen at night. But it is sometimes difficult to see the cats even during daylight hours. For instance, Leo80M began spending a lot of time in trees. At first, we failed to see him through cameras, as he had climbed high enough, where the cameras cannot reach him.
The young tigress now has a difficult period of life. She is adapting to the absolutely unknown conditions to her: she mostly hides or prefers staying in the most remote corners. She still does not use the whole area of the enclosure. Her behavior is still restless: she moves a lot along the farthest walls, always looking around. This behavior is characteristic for all orphaned tiger cubs during the first period of their life without mother. In this period of adaptation, they neither play nor manifest comfort that is certainly untypical to cubs living with their mothers.
Thanks to the study of behavior of big cats kept in the Rehabilitation Center, researchers of the A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution has developed the method of preparing large predators for release into the wild.
But the Center has also a lot of other work to be done. A few days ago the tigress was re-vaccinated against infectious diseases. The young leopard has been provided with live young boars that will allow him to train his hunting skills; live rabbits and beef have been brought for the young tigress. The quarantine and veterinary facilities have been disinfected. Also we’re now doing a lot of preparatory work for monitoring of the tiger cubs previously released into the territory of Amur Oblast and Jewish Autonomous Oblast.
The staff of the Rehabilitation Centre is grateful to the “Land of the Leopard” National Park, the autonomous non-commercial organization “Amur Tiger Center”, the A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the “Phoenix” Fund, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the chief veterinarian of the Moscow Zoo Alshinetsky Mikhail Valerievich, veterinarians of the “Nika” animal hospital and the Primorskaya State Academy of Agriculture, Ussuriysk, for their kind cooperation and assistance.