For the first time, a wild male tiger was captured on camera trap in the very center of Khingan State Reserve. The tigress Elena also lives there. If a couple has an offspring, the specially protected area will have every reason to become part of the Siberian tiger's range.
The fact that the unknown male has never been to Khingan Reserve before is evidenced by the results of the analysis of the tracks. From the video of the camera on the forest road, it can be seen that he was moving east. Earlier, in April, the female followed the same route. Experts are counting on a fruitful meeting between the two predators.
“Our predictions are starting to come true. Males are getting farther into the territory of Amur Oblast and are already observed in the areas of habitation of females. Most likely, the wanderer tiger came from the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, but who he is – an adult tiger who left his mother's habitat, or a well-known adult male that previously lived there – we still have to find out. We hope that a face-to-face meeting will take place soon, if it has not happened yet, and the male who came to Elena will succeed. Then, Amur Oblast will become a proper part of the Siberian tiger's range, since the area where the animal reproduces is considered to be the habitat of the animal," said Sergei Aramilev, general director of the Amur Tiger Center.
According to Vyacheslav Kastrikin, deputy director for scientific work at Khingan Nature Reserve, the footage clearly shows the pattern on one of the tiger's sides. It is likely that it will be possible to identify it from archived photographs of cameras in other regions of the Far East. If the predator cannot be identified, a new tiger passport will be made for it.
The female Ilona, released earlier, once lived in Khingan Nature Reserve. Elena lives here now. However, the males have so far bypassed these lands along the northern border of the protected area. Something prevented them from moving south.
“This year we followed, with hopes, the movements of the wanderer male across the territory of Amur Oblast, and, most likely, they were met. I think that the same tiger was caught by the camera trap, the tracks of which we had been marking for the entire first half of the year outside the reserve. Despite the fact that he does not have a collar with a transmitter, thanks to the local population, which always actively informs about finding tracks of a tiger, we managed to track him. Since the male's habitat is large, then, in addition to Elena, he could also have gotten acquainted with Sanda, who lives on the territory of Bureysky Park, relatively close to the reserve," said Vyacheslav Kastrikin.
It is likely that the traces of this particular male were found by the employees of the Service for Hunting Supervision west of Khingan Reserve – in Zavitinsky District in winter. Experts noted that the predator passed through Novobureysky District and crossed the Bureya River.
In April, tiger tracks appeared on the right bank of the Arkhara River, in June – even closer to the protected area, literally 20 kilometers from its border. Now the staff of Khingan Reserve has taken on the mantle of observing the animal.