Putin’s Tiger Caught on Film One Year After Release

Ilona released into the wild

Masha N. Vorontsova, Regional Director in Russia for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has some exciting news to share, posted below. In the previous year IFAW released 5 Amur tigers in collaboration with President Putin and recently captured some camera trap footage of one tigress Ilona.

It has now been more than a year since the biggest Siberian tiger release in history. Four of the five Amur (aka Siberian) tigers released last year in the Russian Far East have adapted successfully to life in the wild. Newly released video captured by a camera trap positioned at the Khingan Nature Reserve shows a healthy tigress Ilona marking her territory.

Ilona released into the wild (Photograph: © IFAW/M. Booth, 2014)

Satellite tracking and camera trap videos show that the rehabilitated orphan tigress continues to thrive in the Russian forests near the Chinese border. By tracking her movements, scientists have learned that she is hunting wolves, deer and wild boar.

“Success stories like Ilona are helping to change the opinion and policy of officials in the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources,” said Maria Vorontsova, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Russia director. “There was a general belief that it was impossible to rehabilitate and return orphan tiger cubs back to the wild. IFAW and our partner groups have now proven that it is indeed possible.”

Nicknamed “Putin’s tigers” after President Vladimir Putin’s participation in the release, all but one of the five tigers have successfully adapted to life in the wild. Kuzya, Ilona, Borya and Svetlaya have been tracked and are establishing territories of their own. Ustin was caught after months of wandering near human settlements, along the Chinese-Russian border and was ultimately taken to the Rostov-on-Don zoo due to public safety concerns.

Camera trap photo —> Read More