"Russia leopard mission collars massive tiger
An extremely rare Amur tiger captured in a remote area of Russia by an international research team searching for the even rarer Amur leopard has boosted the chances of saving both species from extinction.
Capture and examination of the huge male tiger was a major success, said big cat specialist vet Dr John Lewis, WVI co-founder and director and on the team in far eastern Russia in autumn 2011. He explained: “We need to catch, assess and radio collar tigers as well as leopards if we are to discover how they co-exist.
“Tigers are present in the proposed leopard reintroduction area and we must know the risks for any leopards released there. Infectious diseases affecting tigers can equally affect leopards so health screening has major conservation relevance for both animals.” (See Our Project)
His work on the Amur leopard – the world’s most endangered big cat with as few as 25 left in the wild – positions WVI as the key veterinary support in the programme to save it from extinction in the wild.
Text messages, from an area notorious for poor communications, illustrate the tiger capture build-up: “Fresh tiger prints 1km from camp this morning! Think we are getting closer”, followed by a triumphant;“Caught large male tiger!”
The tiger, one of just 450 remaining, was anesthetised for examination and released with a GPS tracking collar. It is the only traceable individual in the area, he believes, after signals from previously collared tigers have been lost.
Leopards were heard close to camp and traces found on aptly-named Leopard Ridge, but none captured. Two large black Asiatic bear were also been captured and data logged.
The team, including young Russian field vet Dr. Mr Mikhail Gonchuruk, spent two months tracking the elusive, solitary and nocturnal Amur leopard before temperatures plummeted below -20 degrees centigrade, inhibiting their sensitive immobilising leg snares.
In a previous occasion, I have show the picture of this tiger and I believe that it looked just a little larger than the male tiger“Professor” that weighed 204 kg, but I was completely wrong.
When I search in the three images available, I found this one:
As we can see, the massive tiger weighed 250 kg, and still not fully grown! The picture itself is the best evidence, as the tigers was ACTUALLY weighed, which clear any doubt about it. The other pictures show that the animal was, actually “coming into its prime” and had a flat stomach and taking in count that from 27 darted males and more than 33 captures, just two were found with stomach content, we can be 93% sure that this male had an empty belly too.
Here is the previous image that I showed:
To be sincere, he looks almost like the large Sauraha male or even Madla, but the angle of the image don’t make him justice."