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'The power of the taiga... perhaps only migratory birds know where it ends'

Stray tiger Ustin sent to a zoo after suffering 'barbed wire' paw injuries in wild

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19 February 2015


In December 2014 Ustin was returned to the rehabilitation centre in Primorsky Krai, where he was previously cared for. Picture: Russian Geographical Society

Amur tiger Ustin was one of five released into wild this year, with three liberated personally by Russian president Vladimir Putin in May. His adventures in the wild led him in the late autumn to China where he attacked domestic dogs, and was unable to find a forest with plentiful prey. 

His satellite tracking device showed his return to Russia in December, moving in the direction of Khabarovsk and then to Bolshoy Ussuriysky island, on the Amur River, the border between Russia and China.

Almost immediately he killed some dogs, then ate some domestic goats. Specialists 'fed' Ustin on several occasions released wild boar for him to hunt, but he was noticed staying too close to settlements.

An order to trap him led to the discovery that all four paws were injured. The wounds are thought to be from barbed wire or 'sharp ice' on the river. The injuries prevented the tiger from moving further and hunting its prey. 

In December 2014 Ustin was returned to the rehabilitation centre in Primorsky Krai, where he was previously cared for, along with other 'orphans'  Kuzya, Borya, Svetlaya and Ilona. 

After observing Ustin, there were fears by experts that he would again seek to hunt domestic animals. So a decision was made to place him in a zoo.

Wildlife official Viktor Serdyuk  said: 'On Wednesday morning, Ustin flew on a cargo plane to Rostov. It is planned that he will create a couple with tigress Prima. 

'She also went to Rostov Zoo from Primorsky Kray. Now Prima is 10 years old, and it is a fine age for the birth of offspring. And although Ustin is only three, the age difference in such pairs is not critical. 

'In the near future the specialists will introduce the tigers, and we hope for speedy offspring'.

Comments (2)

This animal was used to domestic conditions for food and is lucky to be alive after the damage to all its paws from barbed wire. I doubt people in Siberia and other remote areas like wildlife that cleans out any domestic livestock for each and every meal.
Laura Merritt, Paris, France
23/02/2015 20:55
Very wonderful animal, and what about Kuzya, please?
Jocelyne, FRANCE
19/02/2015 22:48

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