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‘Wounded rare tiger seeks human help’ at remote border post on Russian-Chinese frontier

By The Siberian Times reporter
04 January 2019

Big cat Tikhon refused to be scared away by warning shots as veteran alpha male makes clear he wants to come in from the wild.

The animal had came to humans ‘for help’. Picture: TRNGO 'Center Tiger'

In an extraordinary incident a long-living endangered male Amur tiger defied efforts by Russian border guards to scare it away. 

The predator - believed to be at least 15 years old and a senior citizen of the big cat world - killed and ate two guard dogs at the frontier post with China. 

But it refused to move on, and in the words of Sergey Aramilev, general director of the Amur Tiger Centre, the animal had came to humans ‘for help’.

The border guards had noticed that while ruthlessly killing the dogs, the animal seemed to be wounded. 

‘The tiger was limping, crouching on its hind legs,’ according to one report. 

It arrived at the border post - in the Land of the Leopard National Park - on 29 December and showed no desire to leave. 

Warning gun shots failed to deter the animal. 

A video shows the moment it was shot with a syringe.

It’s behaviour was ‘atypical’, according to experts. 

On 31 December, the tiger appeared ‘in the open’ and by 2 January was still in the vicinity.

National park rangers made a decision to sedate and examine the tiger. 

A video shows the moment it was shot with a syringe before the sleeping tiger was loaded into a truck and moved to a rehabilitation centre for big cats in Alekseyevka village.

Aramilev said: 'The captured tiger is at least 15 years old, and maybe even older. 

‘By tiger standards, he is a deep old man, especially in the wild.’

He has lived through a period when the species has made a startling comeback from being on the brink of extinction.

Tiger Tikhon sedated


Tiger Tikhon brought to rehab

Sleeping tiger was loaded into a truck and moved to a rehabilitation centre for big cats in Alekseyevka village. Pictures: TRNGO 'Center Tiger'

Even today there are just 550 Siberian or Amur tigers living in the wild. 

But this male tiger may had played a key role in the survival of the species since when he was born there were estimated to be less than 350 tigers in the wild. 

‘Due to his age, it was increasingly difficult to hunt,’ said the expert. 

‘Despite the abundance of ungulates in these places, the tiger was forced to turn  his attention to dogs. 

‘Now we are waiting for the results of tests that will allow us to understand what to do next. 

‘But, apparently, the beast due to age will not be able to return to the wild nature. 

Tiger Tikhon pictured in the Land of Leopard

This male tiger may had played a key role in the survival of the species since when he was born there were estimated to be less than 350 tigers in the wild. Picture: Land of Leopard

‘I was very pleased that the efforts of environmental organisations to educate the population were not in vain. 

‘A decade ago, using Soviet instructions, in such a situation, border guards had to use a weapon and kill the tiger. 

‘Now, to the honour of the border guards, they know that the animal that came to them for help does not pose a threat to their life and health.

‘They even sacrificed their two service dogs. 

‘We will compensate for the loss of the border guards - and provide  them with two purebred puppies.’

It is not the first time tigers have sought human help. 

In January last year an exhausted Siberian tigress came out of the wild in Khabarovsk region and lay down on the porch of a house in the village Solontsovy, blocking the door.

Comments (7)

Good to know that the tiger survived. Great work by border guards.
Nayandeep, India
27/01/2019 14:52
2
0
So no one is gonna shed a tear over the two guard dogs that were killed for an aging tiger. If it was my dog or the tiger we would be eating tiger together.
Mongrel Hordes , United States
08/01/2019 13:42
4
14
Good story - thanks. Those border guards deserve recognition for their cool professionalism. Not every day someone gets called upon to preserve a species.

Russia is likely this species' last hope.
NB, USA
07/01/2019 05:51
16
0
Nice story, thanks for reporting on it.
Jim Hubbard, Minneapolis, United States
06/01/2019 09:16
16
0
This was an extraordinary and uplifting story that focuses on the gifts these majestic beasts bring to our lives
it is everyone's wish that Tikhon, and the fact that the guards knew this animal, will recover. And spend his last years with love and food in abundance
miriam green, clinton connecticut usa
05/01/2019 22:00
24
0
educate, educate, educate. and it WILL pay off!
though how does one do it with poachers in Africa.OR out here in Russia as a matter of fact?
MORAK Benedikjt, Moscow
05/01/2019 13:46
18
0
Thank you to everyone involved for understanding that nature has an inherent intelligence and instinct that we can communicate with. This Tiger and the Tigress last year are examples of this and the compassion and response by those involved also a demonstration of the intelligence and instinct we are capable of as humans. I hope both tigers live out a long and tranquil retirement at respective sanctuaries. I hope also that the border dogs are always remembered and that different possibilities to help them be less vulnerable to a hunting tiger be considered (no tether maybe is possible?)
Pamela K Tetarenko, United States
05/01/2019 03:21
21
0
1

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