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Tiger shot in the head by poachers 'may go back to wild' after surgery

By The Siberian Times reporter
26 January 2017

Human eye surgeon takes part in operation to give cub the chance to go back to its natural habitat.

'We came to a very important conclusion that the animal could be returned to the wild.' Picture: PRNCO 'Tiger Center'

Experts say it is a 'miracle' the Siberian tiger survived after a bullet went through its head. One of only 600 or so tigers remaining in their natural habitat in eastern Russia, the 7 month old cub appeared on the brink of death. 

But rehabilitation and the surgery to 'restore the integrity of the facial part of the skull' - seen here in the pictures - has been successful, and the tiger has a chance to return to the wild.  

Ophthalmologist Anatoly Verba found that eye damage was not as bad as feared. 

Surgery


Surgery


Surgery

Rehabilitation and the surgery to 'restore the integrity of the facial part of the skull' has been successful, and the tiger has a chance to return to the wild. Pictures: PRNCO 'Tiger Center', Anna Yachmennikova

Leading veterinarian of Moscow zoo Mikhail Alshinetsky, who headed the team of doctors, noted: 'The ophthalmologist examined the eye, took blood tests and we also made new X-rays. 

'As a result, it became clear that the animal is in good condition. The surgeon came to the conclusion that the facial bones fuse together properly... most likely, an additional operation is not required. 

'But, after a month and a half, we will make another X-ray, and then everything will be clear.'

Injured cub


Injured cub


Injured cub

Experts say it is a 'miracle' the Siberian tiger survived after a bullet went through its head. Pictures: Anna Yachmennikova

Director of the Far Eastern branch of the 'Tiger Centre' Sergei Aramilev said: 'The situation was not as serious as feared after a visual check.' The tiger cub has a 'big thirst for life' and was no longer 'on the brink'. They believe the tiger will breathe normally, and can see well.

Head of WWF-Russia's Amur branch Pavel Fomenko said: 'We came to a very important conclusion that the animal could be returned to the wild. The chance is may be not very big, but it exists. It is based on the fact that the sight of the animal is now satisfactory.'

No progress has been announced in an attempt to identify the poacher who illegally shot the tiger cub. The animal was with its mother and a sibling when it was hit in the Pozharsky district of Primorsky region on 13 January.

Comments (6)

Amur tiger and leopard are so beautiful animals
Thanks to protect them a lot !
Jocelyne, FRANCE
30/01/2017 16:13
6
0
Congratulations to all the people involved (rescue/surgery/recovery), keep going this fenomenal work. Many poachers are simply cruel people who deserves the hardest punishment indeed, but as it's not the case for all of them, I think in addition to programs like the ones the Russian Government has to protect the Amur Leopards/Tigers, parallel work should be done to complement those programs, in order to give those "forced poachers" a choice. It's the only sustainable way to reduce poaching over the long run.
Diego Velez, Mexico City
29/01/2017 05:30
7
0
Thank you for helping our brothers and sisters in the animal kingdom. Hopefully a 'boring' or 'ugly' species gets the same treatment as would a beautiful tiger. Today you are my heroes as well as the tiger which had enough life force inside to pull through and hopefully get as healthy as his kin are now. Keep up the excellent job and I wish I could back up my congratulations with money. Right now I can just give you my positive energy and meditations.
Erik Bosma, Mission, Canada
29/01/2017 03:50
8
0
What a touching story. Thankfully, this little guy was lucky enough to come into the care of people like you. You help restore my faith in humanity.
Laura Dent, United States
29/01/2017 02:38
6
0
look after these animals,,,,,,,they could become the regions lifebloood,............long live the Amur!!!
peter coughlan, takaka...........new zealand
28/01/2017 15:14
10
0
Thank you for sharing the results of his surgery and the shared hope he can indeed return to the wild. I also continue to hope, as I realize everyone involved does as well, that the poachers will be identified and held accountable.
Pamela Tetarenko,
27/01/2017 21:00
20
0
1

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