The tigress Sanda, who was removed from her natural habitat in Olginsky District of Primorye exactly a year ago, returned to the taiga. The predator was released into the wild in Arkharinsky District of Amur Oblast in the vicinity of the Khingan Reserve. It is there that the program to restore the lost tiger population is being implemented.
In May 2020, a lone tiger cub the age of 9-10 months, which regularly went to the village of Gornovodnoye, Olginsky District, Primorsky Krai, was caught and handed over to specialists. The exhausted animal was taken to the center for the rehabilitation of rare animals "Tiger" in the village of Alekseevka.
After some time, the young predator acquired a nickname. At the initiative of the inhabitants of the village of Gornovodnoye, whose solicitude made a significant contribution to the rescue of the animal, the kitten was named Sanda. The name was given in honor of the old name of the village of Gornovodnoye – Sandagou. All expenses for treatment and fostering were covered by the “Amur Tiger” Center.
“Sanda owes much of her miraculous rescue to the local residents, who, noticing an unconventionally behaving animal, immediately notified the Service for Hunting Supervision and subsequently actively shared information with the tiger catchers about the whereabouts of the tigress. Because of this the predator was quickly caught, which, as it turned out later, saved her life – another day or two, and she would have inevitably died of exhaustion. Therefore, when the residents of Gornovodnoye asked to name the tigress in honor of their village, no one had any objections – they deserved this right by being so caring," noted the general director of the “Amur Tiger” Center, Sergei Aramilev.
Only with the right supportive therapy was Sanda able to survive and return to a normal life. As soon as the tigress recovered, the specialists of the rehabilitation center began to teach her to hunt and respond correctly to the presence of a person. The predator turned out to be a capable student and quickly learned her lessons.
The optimal time and a suitable place for the release of Sanda were selected taking into account the recommendations of the specialists of the working group under the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife Protection of Primorsky Krai.
"Although Sanda is far from the first striped cat who successfully underwent rehabilitation with us and returned to the wild, for us her release is both a joyful and sad event. I am glad to know that we are returning another animal to the taiga, home. It is sad that while the animal lives in the rehabilitation center, watching it on the cameras, you involuntarily become attached to it. But we understand that the tiger must live in the taiga, and there it will feel better than anywhere else. We hope that a happy and long life is awaiting Sanda," said Viktor Kuzmenko, director of the “Tiger” Center.
On May 15, 2021, Sanda was examined by the veterinarians for the last time. Then a collar with a GPS-module was put on the tigress, which in the coming years will track her movements and control her safety. The animal went to Amur Oblast in a special box in the car of the Primorsky Krai Service for Hunting Supervision.
In Arkharinsky District, the box with the tigress was placed in the truck of the Service for Hunting Supervision of Amur Oblast. Next, the path to an independent free life lay along the local impassable roads. A few hours later, the cage door unlocked, opening a window into the wild in front of Sanda.