Russia releases two Amur tigers into the wild


In May, two Amur—or Siberian—tigers were released into Russia’s far eastern Evreiskaya Province, joining nine other rehabilitated tigers in the species’ historical habitat. The two young orphans, female Lazovka and male Saikhan, were the first to be released simultaneously, having been raised together at a nearby rehabilitation center in Primorsky.

1. SLEEPING CATS Before the tigers leave for Evreiskaya Province, Lazovka and Saikhan are sedated and taken for a medical exam.

2. WEIGHTY MATTERS The team weighs Lazovka. She is a healthy 231 lbs.

3. STAYING IN TOUCH GPS collars are attached to the cats; these will allow researchers to monitor their journeys.

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4. WELLNESS CHECK To check on a past injury, zoologists and staff take an x-ray of Saikhan’s upper jaw.

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5. COOLING DOWN Veterinarian Irina Korotkova checks on Saikhan as an IV bottle helps lower his body temperature, which rose after sedation.

6. READY FOR THE WILD The cats are on their way to Evreiskaya Province.

To increase their odds of survival, the tigers were moved to an open-air enclosure where they could recover from sedation; a week later, the enclosure’s gate was opened via remote. Lazovka left that evening and headed east; Saikhan went west the next morning. Researchers who saw the tigers off hope the two will reunite one day and breed.

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