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Putin frees three endangered Siberian tiger orphans into the wild

By The Siberian Times reporter
19 June 2014

The Amur cubs were specially trained to cope after being raised in Zhelundinsky Nature Reserve.

The Amur tiger remains endangered, but conservationists are proud of efforts to assist their survival. Picture: Phoenix foundation 

The males Kuzya and Borya rushed out of their cages to discover freedom, but female Ilona was more reluctant to leave her familiar surroundings.

Even a crane tipping her cage failed to budge the creature as she dug in her claws. 

The Russian president suggested allowing the female to leave in her own time.  

All three were orphaned in 2012 when their mothers were shot by illegal poachers, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which helped organise what it called the largest-ever release of rehabilitated Amur tigers. 

The Amur tiger remains endangered, but conservationists are proud of efforts to assist their survival. 

Putin releases tigers


Putin frees three endangered Siberian tiger orphans into the wild


Putin frees three endangered Siberian tiger orphans into the wild

The males Kuzya and Borya rushed out of their cages to discover freedom. Pictures: NTV.ru, Phoenix foundation

Vitaliy Timchenko, head of the Russian Ministry of Environment, said: 'The tigers successfully went through a course of wildlife survival training.

'We will keep an eye on them for a year. Each has a collar fitted  with a satellite chip. The collars are programmed to unlock in 12 months time.'

There are an estimated 360 tigers in the wilds of Russia, down from more than 400 at the turn of the century.

The threat to them is blamed on poaching, logging, wildfires and a shrinkage in the population of the hoofed animals they prey upon.  

But there are no unprecedented efforts in both Russia and China to aid their survival in the wild, and crackdown on illegal hunting. 

Before their release, the three tigers were trained to hunt using rabbits and small semi-wild animals. 

As they grew, they began hunting for large ungulates.

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