The specialists from the Amur Tiger Center shared rare footage from a camera trap – the tigress Elena appeared in two videos. Previously, Elena was monitored using a satellite collar, but the device has worn out. Now the scientists are learning about the life of the Red Book cat thanks to automatic cameras, and hope that one day they will see tiger offspring in the footage.
In two videos, captured by automatic cameras in November 2020 and January 2021, Elena is walking through a snowy forest in the Khingan Reserve. It seems that here she feels like she owns the place. The tigress looks healthy and strong. Experts hope that in the near future she will be able to find herself a mate and produce offspring.
“Today we can say with confidence that Elena has finally established herself in the Khingan Reserve. For the reintroduction program to be successful, it is necessary to wait for her to get cubs. Recently, the experts have recorded the movements of a young male from the Jewish Autonomous Oblast in the Amur Region; let's hope that when the time comes, he or his brothers will find their way to Elena and we will rejoice at her first offspring," said Sergei Aramilev, general director of the Amur Tiger Center.
We would like to remind you, that in May 2019, Elena the tigress was returned to the wild together with her brother Pavlik. Previously, the tigers had undergone a rehabilitation course at the Primorye Center for the Rehabilitation of Tigers and Other Rare Animals, where they arrived as cubs in February 2018.
Elena settled on the territory of the Khingan State Natural Reserve, very rarely and for a short time leaving its borders. Her brother Pavlik, having lived for a short time in the reserve and the neighboring Khingan-Arkharinsky Reserve, went to wander around the northern areas of the Amur Region. Unfortunately, in September 2020, Pavlik was killed by poachers.
Until November 2020, a group of employees of the Khingan Reserve and the Hunting Supervision Service of the Amur Region had been monitoring Elena using the GPS module of her collar. In almost real time, the experts were tracking the location of the tigress, investigating routes and places of long stay. This made it possible to obtain unique information about food items and the daily routine of the predator, and to collect biomaterial for analysis.
In 2020 alone, the specialists of the monitoring group checked 76 clusters (places of long-term stay) of Elena, where the remains of 34 prey hunted by the predator were found, which indicated the regular successful hunts of the tigress.
“In over a year and a half of observations using satellite data, Elena has brought us an impressive amount of unique information about the life of tigers in the wild. Unfortunately, any equipment has its lifespan and it is finite. Now we have to follow her life by traces and camera traps, since Elena’s favorite locations and routes in the reserve are well known to us," said Vyacheslav Kastrikin, deputy director for scientific work at the Khingan State Reserve.
The Amur tiger is one of the largest land-based predators on our planet, the largest subspecies of the tiger in the world. The weight of an adult male is about 185 kg, body length is 220 cm. About 520 Amur tigers have been recorded in the world. 95% of the entire population lives in the Russian Far East and 5% in China and North Korea. In 1947, the Amur tiger was taken under protection – hunting for it was completely prohibited in the USSR. Since 2010, the Russian Geographical Society has supported the Amur Tiger project.