February 20, 2004, Terney village, Primorye, Russian Far East – two students of Ussuriisky agro-technical institute were conducting monitoring the wildlife populations in “Nota” hunting society’s territory in Chuguevsky district when they heard a tiger roar on an abandoned logging road. The sounds were coming from one place and the animal’s angry roar was mixed with piteous groans. The students crawled to a small fir-trees forest and spotted a tiger rushing in a snare tied to a tree. The guys took several photos and hurried to a specialist of Ussuriisky nature reserve, who informed Inspection Tiger’s Special Response team about the accident with the endangered animal.
Boris Litvinov, the head of the Special Response team based in Terney village, realized the danger for a tiger to get into a snare in winter and hurried to the place of accident together with the specialists of the Siberian Tiger Project of the Wildlife Conservation Society. There they sedated and examined the animal- a 4 -6 year old male tiger (about 160 – 180 kg, paw width 10 cm) got into an 8-mm snare with its head and front legs. This tiger was lucky, as the snare did not fix on the animal’s body. Besides, even the nature helped to rescue its endangered child – the temperature was about 0C during the day and there was a mild frost during the night, though usually there is almost arctic weather in winter. Moreover, the tiger smashed down all the small trees in 2-3 meters around it and made a fir mattress on the snow.
Having supplied the tiger with a radio collar, the team loaded the animal in the truck and took it to a rehabilitation center in Terney for a thorough veterinary examination. Only after the examination the team will decide on the future of the tiger.
Boris Litvinov noted that he had never seen or heard of such type of poaching – a steel snare for the body of a large predator.
Inspection Tiger officers started searching for the tiger poacher.