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Tigress who came out of the woods to seek help can be a pet who escaped owners or was thrown out

By Svetlana Skarbo, Olga Gertcyk
27 May 2020

The rare predator was caught after weeks of wandering into a village in Russian Far East.

The rescued Amur tiger cub is 9 to 10 months old. Picture from a trail camera courtesy PRNCO 'Tiger Center'

The young Amur tigress was seen walking close to houses and resting for long hours in back yards of Gornovodnoye village in Primorsky district, and on a side of a motorway. 

The big cat showed no aggression, and no pets or livestock were missing, but the tiger’s presence around humans for nearly three weeks was unnerving for the residents and signalled serious health issues with the animal. The endangered animal was also an easy target for poachers. 

Experts from the regional Hunting Surveillance department hoped that mother tiger would appear, but after two weeks of air and land monitoring they concluded that the cub was orphaned and needed help. 

Amur tigress who came out to people to seek help might be a pet who escaped owners or was thrown out 

Amur tigress who came out to people to seek help might be a pet who escaped owners or was thrown out 

Amur tigress who came out to people to seek help might be a pet who escaped owners or was thrown out 

Amur tigress who came out to people to seek help might be a pet who escaped owners or was thrown out 
The rare predator was caught after weeks of wandering into a village in Russian Far East. Pictures: PRNCO 'Tiger Center'

The tigress was caught on 16 May and delivered to ‘Centre Tiger’ for medical  observation and temporary stay. First checkups showed that the cub had no wounds. Her complete blood count was normal, results of separate virus tests are yet to arrive. 

The cub’s weight is 54 kilogram and despite her looking quite well-fed experts believe she is quite malnourished due to issues with feeding. Her teeth hasn’t changed from milky yet and are in good condition except for two broken incisors. 

The cub’s age was identified as nine to ten months, which is half a year younger than the experts thought earlier. 

What puzzles the Centre Tiger's team is the tigress’s behaviour which continues to be nowhere near as aggressive as it should be with an Amur tiger.  

‘It’s rare to see orphaned tiger cubs in May as normally mothers don’t give up on cubs of that age. Quite likely the tigress was killed by a poacher or died from a natural cause, though it is not impossible that the cub was kept by people before it escaped or was thrown out.

'Certain strange traits in the tigress’s behaviour allow us to think that the cub could have stayed with humans’, said Sergey Aramilev, director of Amur Tiger Centre in the Far East of Russia. 

Amur tigress who came out to people to seek help might be a pet who escaped owners or was thrown out 

Amur tigress who came out to people to seek help might be a pet who escaped owners or was thrown out 

Amur tigress who came out to people to seek help might be a pet who escaped owners or was thrown out 

Amur tigress who came out to people to seek help might be a pet who escaped owners or was thrown out 

PRNCO 'Tiger Center'
The tigress spends most of her time sleeping, the rehabilitation centre team's said. Pictures: Anna Blidchenko/PRNCO 'Tiger Center'

The latest update on the tigress’s health was received on 26 May and suggests that the she is beginning to feel better. The cub still doesn’t drink water and prefers meat broth, her digestive system seems to be working fine, but her behaviour remains unusually calm. 

‘She doesn’t even attempt to get out of the enclosure and spends her days mostly sleeping’, the Centre Tiger team said. 

After the rare cat completes all medical tests, the rehabilitation centre’s team will concentrate on her re-introduction to the wild. 

It will be possible if the tigress will show that her hunting instincts are intact and that her attitude to humans is back to being a lot more cautious. 


The Amur tiger is the largest of the world’s big cats. About 600 grown up animals - 95% of the world population - live in Primorsky Krai, Khabarovsk regions, Amur region and the Jewish Autonomous region in the Far East of Russia. 

Some Amur tigers live in China and in North Korea. 

Next tiger census in Russia will be held in winter 2021-2022. 


Team of  PRNCO 'Tiger Center' 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. 

The Centre was founded September 19, 2012.

Comments (135)

She is just like Malayan Tiger of Malaysia. Thaks to the team of Tiger Centre. Hopefully she can return to the wild soonest possible.
Ismail Awang Senik, Kuantan , Malaysia
28/05/2020 19:45
A lovely chance to help by stating if she has two broken incisors, she could be asking for help. Not all animals can survive without canine teeth. So be sure to understand, like me she may be enduring real pain
Deborah Matcham, Canberra, Australia
28/05/2020 19:33
Please keep this beautiful tiger safe as we all know these and other big cats have been pouched to almost extinction thanks to us humans
Nadine, Canada
28/05/2020 19:31
Please put her in a sanctuary she will not survive in the wild she is to calm and trust people. She will be an easy target for a poacher. Give her a chance at a happy life. It’s unfortunate that someone had this beautiful girl and took her instincts away. Hope nothing but the best for her. God bless.
Cathy sunshine, Poughkeepsie ny usa
28/05/2020 19:11
God bless all that are caring for this beautiful creature. Please take care of yourselves and procreate!....the world needs more of you in it!
Cg, Kentucky, USA
28/05/2020 18:50
This is a subject close to the presidents heart I say, share the news with him and he might make a donation. Being from the u. K. Russia remains a mystery to me with such vast areas of boreal/taiga habitat. Wjat your doing is absolutely great. I take my hat off to all of you.
Jesse William Nicholson , Tenby
28/05/2020 18:45
Please take care of this sweet soul, she is just a baby that has no idea why she is alone. She deserves to be cared for in a safe environment like a sanctuary. She doesn’t seem like she will survive in the wild. Please do what is right to keep her safe, healthy and alive. God bless her
TK, Orange County, CA
28/05/2020 18:40
Firstly, I'd like to thank all the individuals who have worked tirelessly over the years to save these rare, beautiful and inspiring animal's. Judging by the comments left by other's on these pages, it is quite clear to many that these animals must and should be protected at all cost, like so many of the other big cats, man has and still is their greatest enemy, we have done so much damage, that it is only right that we should do the right thing and repair that damage. We all know the work that you all do is so important and we all appreciate the high standards set by you at achieving that goal to saving these animals. All of us who care so much about this world know how fragile the balance can be between man and beast, but when man exploits that balance for all the wrong reasons that's when things go wrong and we end causing terrible damage that lasts for decades and sometimes it is irreversible and we end up losing what is precious. Please keep on doing what you can to save any and all animals, every one of them is so precious and worth fighting for to save. Kind regards, Ann.
Ann Scott, United Kingdom
28/05/2020 18:29
I love animals and I have fallen for this beautiful tigress. She is so adorable
28/05/2020 18:21
She is beautiful! Please place her with other tigers to learn how to grow up, if that is possible. Make sure she is monitered, well cared for. We love her.
Jan Kunzman, Des Moines, Iowa, USA
28/05/2020 18:11
Please please take care of her. She is precious and deserves to be able to have a happy life. Put her in a great sanctuary. Please dont let poachers get her. I think we should be allowed to shoot poachers that we find hunting these beautiful creatures or any other.
Melissa, United States
28/05/2020 17:16
What a beautiful beautiful animal, thank you thank you for saving and caring for this most beautiful of Cats, they are so precious as all animals and fauna are in our beautiful world, our Earth is so precious. She's like a big Pussycat wanting love and affection like we all are. As per everyone's comments, please keep all updated with her progress. Peace to all, Paul Scholes
Paul Scholes , Gold Coast / Australia
28/05/2020 16:49
So relieved and thankful to you for rescuing this precious amur tigress, she seems like she is too tame and trusting of humans to be released back to the wild.
Diane M Mackintosh, United Kingdom
28/05/2020 16:48
Horosho! Thumbs up to Russia and to humanity! Beautiful indeed!
Sam Paaka , New Zealand, now living Edinburgh
28/05/2020 16:47
Praying she is not sent to Big Cat Rescue in Florida USA. Hopefully she will be placed in the most reputable zoo with the top caregivers to protect her from exploitation.
Kay Hayduk , United States
28/05/2020 16:35

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