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Leading tiger expert mauled by dog-eating tigress

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21 March 2018


‘Unfortunately, it is impossible for me or my colleagues to fully protect ourselves against all surprises.'

Fomenko - whose life is not in danger - admits he was careless, and encroached into the tigress’s ‘forbidden territory’ during a complex operation to rehabilitate her for a return to the wild. 

The expert, head of the Department for Conservation of Rare Species at the Amur branch of WWF Russia, is one of the leading authorities on the Siberian tiger, a species now in recovery after being on the verge of extinction. 

He is in intensive care recovering from what he laughed off as ‘a kiss of the tigress’ - in fact a large gash on the side of his face.

Fomenko said: ‘The tigress is not to blame. This is typical behaviour of a predator defending its offspring. 

‘I was careless and provoked her. 

‘Unfortunately, it is impossible for me or my colleagues to fully protect ourselves against all surprises. 

Pavel Fomenko vaccinates

Vets taking samples

Pavel Fomenko works with recently caught cubs.

The attack came as specialists were vaccinating the wild animals. 

A spokesman said: 'The contact was short. However, Pavel suffered serious injuries. 

'He is still in intensive care. To be honest, this is a rather rare case.' 

The tigress that attacked him has been in the news lately after preying on a remote village and stealing guard dogs to eat and feed her two cubs. 

To save her from being shot by villagers Fomenko spearheaded an operation to capture the beast and put her into rehabilitation. 

After this, her two cubs were caught, and reunited with her, although it now appears she took time to accept them again. 

Tiger family reunited

Mother tigress

Mother tigress

Tiger family reunited. Mother-tigress in the rehabilitation centre.

The tigress evidently saw Fomenko as encroaching on her offspring and attacked him. 

The aim is still to train the tigress to revert to hunt for traditional prey. 

Then she and her two cubs - around 7 months old - will be released into the wild, far from villages with dogs.

'It was just a kiss from the tigress,’ he said. ‘All will be fine, and the cat will be returned home to the wild with her kids.'

Comments (5)

Having just discovered you and your incredible work, my heart is filled with emotion and admiration for such a wonderful human being. i take this opportunity to disclose my strong belief that all poachers should be shot on site - end of!
extreme but would be more of a deterrent than the current ridiculous and ineffective sentences. Get well soon you beautiful man x
Maggie Brimson, United Kingdom
29/07/2019 19:57
Thank you for your brave and successful work to save these beautiful animals treasured by all humankind. You are a hero to the entire world.
Kaysu, Usa
02/04/2019 12:00
Sincere best wishes for a fast recovery, Dr. Fomenko, and thank you and your colleagues for your wonderful work.
Phil Jones, Olympia, WA USA
24/03/2018 12:16
I agree with J. Paul and Thank you Dr. Fomenko for understanding the Tigress was only being as nature intends her to be.
Pamela K Tetarenko, League City, USA
23/03/2018 06:46
It's hard enough to convince a young cat to swallow a small pill, let alone a tigress with two cubs! Best wishes of speedy recovery, Dr. Fomenko! You are doing a great job.
J. Paul Braibant, Jakarta, Indonesia
22/03/2018 16:20

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