The problem of conflicts between big predators and humans is not new. It is very urgent and always attracts close attention both from the public and mass media. Thanks to organization of systematic protection, the populations of Amur tiger, Amur leopard and other large-sized predators have grown considerably in recent years. But, unfortunately, the habitats of these animals show a tendency to deteriorate: the populations of ungulates—the main forage base of predators—have much reduced owing to the intensive human activities. These are logging operations, wild plant gathering, fishing, and hunting. Taiga is actively visited by local residents all year round that creates a strong disturbance factor for all animals inhabiting it, particularly for predators. This causes conflict animals—tigers, leopards, and bears—to appear each year. Thus, the problem of antagonism between big predators and humans is very urgent; it has a long-term perspective, as it has always been, exists now and will continue in the future.
Wild Amur tigers, which become temporarily unable to survive in the wild, are caught every year. Moreover, these situations with Amur leopards have become increasingly frequent in recent years. Some of these animals can be rehabilitated, and after being release into the wild, they begin living an independent, conflict-free life near human-populated areas. Tiger cubs, which have lost their mothers due to various causes, also need temporary rehabilitation. Information about these animals generally comes from various localities, from local residents or hunters. These cubs usually annoy hunters, walk by their paths, remove baits from their traps, approach hunters’ winter cabins, visit dumps, and lose their fear of people.
The staff of the PRNCO "TIGER Center" renders assistance to representatives of authorities of the Russian Federation subjects and federal especially protected natural areas (EPNA) in resolution of conflicts between big predators and humans. Since operations with wild animals are conducted usually in extreme conditions (lack of roads, remoteness from populated areas, unfavorable climatic conditions), there is an urgent need for special equipment to rescue wild animals successfully (equipment for the veterinary mobile unit, transport for emergency cases, and equipment for capturing and keeping the conflict animals).
Since 2012, PRNCO "TIGER Center", in cooperation with the A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences, federal EPNAs, public organizations and funds, have rehabilitated 7 tigers and 1 African lion. Of them, 6 tigers were released into their natural habitat. Five of them became fully adapted to life in the wild. The first female Zolushka (Cinderella), which had passed the full course of rehabilitation, was observed with two cubs in December 2015. The tigers Svetlaya (Bright) and Boris, released in 2014, formed a couple. At the moment, a male leopard, a five-month-old female Amur tiger saved in the "Land of the Leopard" National Park, and an orphaned brown bear cub are kept at the rehabilitation center. All the animals are now passing the rehabilitation course and getting prepared to be released into the wild.
PRNCO "TIGER Center" is ready to assist and cooperate with any nature conservation structures and organizations. We hope very much for a fruitful cooperative work.