This year, for the first time in nearly two decades, an adult tiger was observed with four cubs in southwest Primorski Kray! Here Aleksandr Rybin, field crew leader for WCS’s Amur tiger and leopard research project in Russia, tells WildCats why this is such a significant sighting.
We have been monitoring Amur leopards and tigers in southwest Primorski Kray since 2003. This year, for the first time in nearly two decades, we observed an adult tiger with four cubs! This is not so rare in more southern climes, such as India or Thailand. But here, on the snowy edge of global tiger range, where prey densities are much lower than in the subtropics, successfully raising four cubs is a massive accomplishment.
It is worth noting that these young tigers are already about eight months old. Our data suggest that, on average, only 50% of cubs live to their first birthdays. That four cubs are still alive and apparently healthy indicates that their home is well protected, and that the number of deer and boar is high enough for the tigress to feed such a large gang.
We have already set out camera traps for the 2022 season, and are hopeful that when we collect them, we will see more images of this big, beautiful family.