VLADIVOSTOK — The first birth of Amur tiger cubs in over a century has been reported in southeast Siberia, according to World Wildlife Fund.
Scientists who travelled to the Amur Region and the Amurskaya province to check the reports, found traces of cubs they said were about six months old and their mother in the snow-covered taiga.
The fact that tiger cubs have been spotted in this area is seen as welcome news by conservationists because tigers have been lost through poaching and habitat loss in many critical areas and former ranges.
“The tigress and small cubs could not have come from another region,” said Yelena Starostina from WWF Russia. “This means they were born here.”
The young tigers were first spotted in the Zeiskii Nature Reserve by a driver who claims to have glimpsed two cats with long tails about the size of a lynx on a busy road at night.
Upon hearing the news, the reserve’s scientists, Elena Krasikova and Sergei Podolskii, from the Institute for Water and Ecological Problems, searched and then discovered the prints of two cats. One front paw pad measured 5.5 cm, the other 6.5 cm.
In October 2005, a hunter reported seeing a tigress with offspring several kilometers from the area. However, there were doubts as Far Eastern tiger researchers could not recall any time within the last century of a proven case of tigers breeding in the Amurskaya province.
WWF said tigers found in the Amur Region may have migrated there from the neighbouring Primorye and Khabarovsk Territories, home to a population of some 450 Amur tigers, according to the latest count.