According to A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IEE RAN) and Inspection Tiger, the Amur tiger cubs, that were rescued in early 2013 and are now kept at the «The Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Tigers and Other Rare Animals» (PRNCO «Tiger Centre») in Alekseevka, Primorye Territory, are under constant control by veterinarians and tiger specialists.
On 21-22 December 2013, the specialists of Inspection Tiger, IEE RAN, Wildlife Conservation Society and Moscow Zoo immobilized the five tiger cubs for health check-ups and vaccination. Blood samples were taken for further general, biochemical and serological blood tests.
Serological blood tests have been already performed at the laboratory of IEE RAN in order to detect and measure the levels of antibodies as a result of exposure to some pathogens that most commonly found in wild big cats (feline leukemia virus, coronaviral enteritis, feline calicivirus, feline panleukopenia virus, herpesvirus (rhinotracheitis), and influenza A virus).
None of five tiger cubs gave positive tests for feline leukemia virus antigen (3% of the wild Amur tigers and leopards in the Russian Far East is infected with the feline leukemia virus), coronaviral enteritis (specialists of IEE RAN did not identify antibody-positive animals in the wild, however studies by others (Goodrich et al., 2012) have shown that around 43% of the population is infected), herpesvirus (there are about 6% of infected big cats in the wild), and influenza A virus (in the wild, there are 3% of antibody-positive animals). Three tiger cubs gave positive tests for feline calicivirus (in the wild, 12% of tigers are infected with the feline calicivirus), and all five cubs gave positive tests for feline panleukopenia virus (in the wild, according to specialists of IEE RAN about 50% of wild tigers is infected, and according to other specialists (Goodrich et al., 2012) around 68% is infected).
Thus, the tiger cubs that are now kept at the Centre have antibodies to some pathogens that most commonly found in wild big cats in the Russian Far East.