Tigress Cinderella is to be released in early May 2013 after successful rehabilitation at Primorskii Regional Non-commercial Organization «The Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Tigers and Other Rare Animals» (PRNCO «Tiger Centre») located in Alekseevka village, Primorsky krai.
Since July 2012 the Phoenix Fund and International Fund for Animal Welfare have been assisting the Centre to rehabilitate tiger cubs. In September 2012 we launched a campaign to raise funds for food and medical treatment for the first patient – tigress named Cinderella. Not only people of Primorsky krai, but also citizens of many other cities all over Russia have supported our appeal to help Cinderella. Thanks to their deep concern about the future of the young predator and their willingness to help the tigress to return to the wild, we managed to raise about $3,600 (as of April 2, 2013). Moreover, we received support from our foreign partners, namely David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, Rewilding Foundation, SPOTS Foundation, and ALTA. All funds gathered during the campaign were transferred promptly for rehabilitation needs: meat, vitamins, veterinary care, electric fence and video cameras to observe over the tigress at great distance.
Cinderella learned to hunt very well, and her hunting skills prove that she has good chances for survival on her own in the wild. Moreover, taking into account that Cinderella had limited and safe interactions with staff, she did not forget her inborn fear of humans which is one of the main criteria for successful return back to the wild. It is unlikely that such an animal after release will try to approach human settlement for no good reason.
When tiger specialists unanimously agreed that Cinderella is ready to be released, it was necessary to find the best suitable release site. Viktor Lukarevsky, tiger specialist of A.N Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution explored several alternative release sites and chose the best one in Bastak Nature Reserve, Jewish Autonomous Province. There is plenty of food for the tigress and no risk of poaching because the release site will be protected by rangers of the protected area. Moreover, over the past few years tracks of one or 2-3 tigers were found there occasionally. Probably, a tiger family has come from the south of Khabarovsky krai or Primorye and settled in deep forest of Bastak Nature Reserve. The release site has already been approved by all stakeholders, and now Cinderella is preparing for transportation.
We would like to thank everyone who was concerned about the fate of tigress Cinderella and are glad to share a video kindly provided by Inspection Tiger.
After Cinderella is released, four tiger cubs will still stay at the Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Tigers and Other Rare Animals» (PRNCO «Tiger Centre»). Centre’s staff will continue to teach them hunting technics and prepare the cubs for release into the wild. Three of them were found without their mother in late November-early December 2012 near Yakovlevka village, Primorye. The fourth one was found in the beginning of 2013 in Kavalerovsky district. Unfortunately, neither small nor large Russian businesses showed their willingness to support this project. Therefore, specialists of Inspection Tiger and A.N Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution may only hope that ecological organisations (Phoenix Fund and IFAW) and Russian people will go on supporting the Centre’s patients until new financial sources are found.