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City residents in fear as 'rare Siberian tigers stalk Vladivostok'

By Olga Gertcyk
20 October 2016

Parents concerned about their children from huge wild cat  - or more than one - on the loose, with another terrorising Solontsovy village.

At least 32 tigers from the rare but recovering species are now known to inhabit the southwest of Primorsky region. Picture: Land of Leopard

Police are patrolling with machine guns are seeking to protect residents from at least one wild Siberian - or Amur - tiger that has been sighted in the city of  599,000 people in recent days.

Aerial searches are also underway using drones and thermal imagers. One expert admitted the hunt was 'like a needle in a haystack'. A tiger has been sighted in suburbs around 8 kilometres from the centre of Vladivostok, Russian's Pacific coast capital. 

But local WWF campaigner Pavel Fomenko indicated there could be 'several tigers in Vladivostok suburbs'. 

At least 32 tigers from the rare but recovering species are now known to inhabit the southwest of Primorsky region, and usually 'they do not migrate alone, but in groups', he said. 'As a rule, these are family groups.'

Tiger in Vladivostok


Tiger in Vladivostok

A tiger was seen around around a residential building in Vyselkovaya Street close to Rudnevsky bridge, and close to the road connecting Borodinskaya and Irtyshskaya suburbs. Picture: PRNCO 'Tiger Center' 

Residents of the city district BAM, scene of the first sighting, are afraid to let children go to the street. One alert spread on WhatsApp warned parents of Kindergarten No 30 and neighbouring schools that the tiger was on Kholodilnaya hill. 'It is not a joke. Warn your children - call them or text, so they do not go out from the schools at breaks.'

On October 19, a local resident called Natalia said: 'A neighbour called. She was walking with her children in the (nearby) forest and stumbled on police with machine guns. 

'The police kicked them out. They said they are looking for a tiger and it is forbidden to be in the forest. I felt a bit scared. I have heard talks about this since morning, but I still can not believe that the predator can wander in the city.' 

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Aerial searches are also underway using drones and thermal imagers. Pictures: The Siberian Times, Vesti.Primorye

Director of the Far Eastern branch of Centre Siberian Tiger, Sergei Aramilev, said the predator's footprints were have not been spotted.

'Actually we are searching for a needle in a haystack. The area is very big. A tiger has very soft paws, and it is difficult to find the evidence of its presence. The footsteps could be spotted only on the country roads, in the dirt. Most likely it is the same tiger that was spotted near Artyom town recently.'

Artyom is 40 km to the northwest. 'Artem and Vladivostok are connected by a single forest, called Bogataya Griva.' This would have given the tiger protection. Tigers might hunt stray dogs hanging around garbage dumps, he said. 

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Tiger footsteps


dog killed by tiger

A female tiger is prowling the village of Solontsovy, some 200 km from Vladivostok, it killed a local dog and left prints. Pictures: The Siberian Times, Vesti.Khabarovsk

To have ventured into the city suggests the tiger 'has some problems', he said. 'The tiger may be ill, or injured.' He stressed the tigers are afraid of people, and would only attack if it had itself faced attack.

A tiger was seen around around a residential building in Vyselkovaya Street close to Rudnevsky bridge, and close to the road connecting Borodinskaya and Irtyshskaya suburbs. 

One social media posting read: 'It is scary. We need to cancel all kindergartens, schools and not go to work. Declare a state of emergency. And let them catch the tiger.'

Siberian Tiger


Siberian tiger footprint

The map showing the historical habitat of Siberian Tiger. Pictures: Land of Leopard, Amur Informational Center

A female tiger is prowling the village of Solontsovy, some 200 km from Vladivostok, residents have said. Maria Kazakova said her husband had seen the footprints. 

'It is impossible to go out at night because you can't be sure she  is not waiting somewhere in the bushes. And we are afraid of taking children to school in the morning, specially now, in winter.' 

The tiger killed a local dog and left prints in the snow. The village shop is closing early amid concerns the tiger is active in the dark at night. 

Tiger numbers have recovered significantly in recent years, and there are now known to be at least 562 in the Far East of Russia. The fact that they are entering the city indicates this recovery in numbers is underway and that they are spreading their reach. 

Comments (3)

Animals coming to town for food happens allot here in Vancouver and the result for the animal is not good. I propose a fence to keep the humans in and the animals safe from humans
Grant Hibbs, Vancouver B.C.
25/10/2016 01:03
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like the ice bears in Alaska, also the very shy tiger comes to town only when there is nothing left to eat in the forests. special when these are females who might have young to feed. as simple as that. so, don't shoot every wild boar, every deer, anything that has four legs and comes into the sights of a rifle.
Benedikt, Moscow
22/10/2016 14:18
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I am very glad tigers are increasing in numbers . Poachers I hope won't destroy them . Perhaps good fencing round towns and villages needed , to protect the people .
If enough game in the forest normally the tiger won't come into built up areas , isn't that so ?
joanna, UK
21/10/2016 03:17
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