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The comeback cats - amazing pictures show family life of Amur tigress and her three cubs

By The Siberian Times reporter
12 January 2018

Almost poached to extinction, these pictures highlight the way the endangered species is recovering thanks to Russian preservation measures.

It is estimated there are only 500 or so Amur - or Siberian - tigers in the wild in eastern Russia. Picture: Land of the Leopard Nature Reserve


Almost poached to extinction, these pictures highlight the way the endangered species is recovering thanks to Russian preservation measures.

A camera trap close to the lair of a Siberian tigress has given an unprecedented glimpse at the behaviour of the world’s largest cats in infancy in the wild. 

The cubs romped and played together and with their mother in the snow in the Land of the Leopard nature reserve, a park dedicated to  the survival and protection of both Amur leopards and tigers. Experts say the endearing cubs are around six to eight weeks old, when relatively little is known about the species’ behaviour.

The comeback cats - amazing pictures show family life of Amur tigress and her three cubs


The comeback cats - amazing pictures show family life of Amur tigress and her three cubs

These pictures are of great value for science. Pictures: Land of the Leopard Nature Reserve


‘This period of the life of predators that remains poorly studied, so such shots are a real rarity and a great value for scientists,’ said a posting by the reserve’s specialists.

‘Not noticing the cameras, the youngsters examined the territory, rested, caressed their mother, played and fought - in short, they did everything kittens should do at such a young age.’ 

‘Of course, in the first place, this data is of great value for science,’ said Dina Matyukhina, senior researcher.

‘We obtain information that allows us to estimate the reproduction in the Amur tiger population: the period of the birth of cubs, the size of the brood, survival, and so on. 

‘The data gives an idea of the behaviour of the tiger family in their (nearby) lair.’

The comeback cats - amazing pictures show family life of Amur tigress and her three cubs

Proud mother comes back to cubs with prey. Picture: Land of the Leopard Nature Reserve


Scientists now know more about ‘at what time of day and night are they most active, how often the tigress appears at the lair and how long spends time with the offspring, how the cubs behave in the absence of the mother.’

But it is not only about science. 

‘Of course, such ‘photo sessions’ certainly cause an emotional response from the whole team of researchers at the Land of the Leopard reserve.’

The tigress is a single mother, responsible for hunting as well as caring for the cubs.

The cameras caught the moment when she brought prey - a deer carcass - to the lair. 

‘Although the meal (when it was eaten) was outside the field of view of the cameras, the experts understood that the kittens had already begun to be introduced to adult food. 

‘At the same time at such a young age, the main source of nutrition for tigers remains their mother's milk.’

The comeback cats - amazing pictures show family life of Amur tigress and her three cubs


The comeback cats - amazing pictures show family life of Amur tigress and her three cubs


The comeback cats - amazing pictures show family life of Amur tigress and her three cubs


The comeback cats - amazing pictures show family life of Amur tigress and her three cubs


The comeback cats - amazing pictures show family life of Amur tigress and her three cubs

Stunning family of Amur tigers was captured by a camera trap. Pictures: Land of the Leopard Nature Reserve


Gradually, the family were seen less and less.

As they grew up, the mother soon took the cubs with her on journeys of several kilometres. 

The lair is only used by the tigers when the cubs are young - and by now it was time to move on.

The growing family was soon noticed in another photo trap some distance away.

Before this, some 2,500 pictures had been taken of the family in its natural habitat, a remarkable collection. 

It is estimated there are only 500 or so Amur - or Siberian - tigers in the wild in eastern Russia, but the population is now decisively rising thanks to curbs on poaching and efforts to ensure the habitats of the wild animals are sustainable. 

The Amur leopards are even more endangered with around 80 adults in the wild. 

As recently as 2007, it was reported numbers were as low as 30. 

While fears of extinction have eased, experts say both species are still vulnerable to an outbreak of sudden disease. 

It remains vital to increase the numbers further. 

Comments (5)

可爱的小虎仔,愿它们的未来更美好!!没有买卖就没有杀害!
姚剑申, 巨鹿/中国
15/01/2018 19:00
3
0
That is a real pleasure to watch these healthy cubs playing a lot !. And Mum tigress so elegant and efficient !
Thanks to take care of them and for these wonderful pictures and vidéo !
Jocelyne, FRANCE
14/01/2018 16:58
3
0
Hola Andres, you have a good sense of humour, good luck with your wish....:-). I agree with Benedikt and thank you to everyone involved in protecting the entire eco-system supporting these magnificent animals and also to those who protect nature from poachers.
Pamela K Tetarenko, League City, USA
13/01/2018 07:47
4
0
Meeooww. I want a human tigress for myself, but I will help her take care of the cubs. :)
Andres Suarez, Mexico
12/01/2018 22:08
4
0
just never show any pictures where poachers might recognize terrain. and go there to shoot and kill these beautiful cats. they deserve to live their live in full. and in peace.
Benedikt MORAK, Moscow
12/01/2018 15:22
7
0
1

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