Russia's Conflict Tigers
WWF Russia supports rehabilitation of conflict tigers
Two wild tigers have been given a new home in the Utyos Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Khabarovsky Province, Russia after appearing separately on the outskirts of the town Vyazemskoye and killing three dogs. WWF is providing support for the recovery and rehabilitation of both tigers.
Experts from the Hunting Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources of Khabarovsky Province took part in the operation to sedate and relocate the tigers. These experts included a tiger conflict resolution group, which has been operating for 3 years with WWF support, specialists from Inspection Team “Tiger” and WCS.
“It is very important to find additional funds for further work and equipment for the centre" - Pavel Fomenko – Species Program Coordinator of WWF Russia Amur branch
One of the tigers, a three year old male, was given the name 'Stubborn' because of his refusal to enter the enclosure at the rehabilitation centre, preferring the confines of his transport cage.
According to tiger specialists, this young male is seriously exhausted and exhibiting a pale pelt – an indicator of poor health, however, he is eagerly accepting food, giving hope for a good recovery.
The other tiger, another young male aged between 2 and 3 years of age, is said to be in much better condition, weighing around 100kg – a normal weight for a tiger of his age and size.
Recently Utyos Rehabilitation Centre with the support of WWF-Russia and ANO “Amur Tiger” became the only government centre for the rehabilitation of wild animals in the Russian Far East and now plays a pivotal part in human-tiger conflict management.
It is too early to determine why the tigers have appeared so close to the town. A detailed medical examination of the tigers may provide further answers.
A meeting of veterinarians has already been scheduled in Khabarovsky Province to develop a treatment strategy. After that, the working group of the Ministry of Natural Resources of Khabarovsky Province, will make a decision about the future of the tigers.
Human tiger conflict (HTC) occurs when a wild tiger interacts with humans, their animals or their livestock and this results in an injury or death to a human, livestock or tiger. The solution is to minimize contact between wild tigers and humans, however, as Asia develops competition for space and habitat increases. Add to this the Tx2 goal to double wild tiger numbers and the challenges grow.
To address these challenges WWF is rolling out a HTC Management Programme across its tiger range countries. This is the first time such a long-term, comprehensive and integrated HTC approach has been used, incorporating all the essential elements:
- strengthened national policies
- innovative and preventative actions e.g. fencing, solar lighting, land use planning and livestock management
- post conflict mitigation, e.g. insurance and compensation schemes and alternative livelihoods programmes
- HTC hotspot mapping and understanding local tolerance trends toward tigers
- better trained and equipped rapid response teams in all HTC hotspots
- monitoring to inform where and why certain actions are and are not working
In November WWF hosted a Human Tiger Conflict Workshop in Nepal bringing together leading HTC experts and forming the HTC Working Group.