Trekking through snow in a Russian winter may not be everyone's idea of fun, but for Redland Bay wildlife photographer David Guillau, spending two months in a remote area of Russia, helping to record some of the last 450 wild Siberian tigers on the planet, was a dream come true.
David, who self-funds his own independent wildlife rescue service in the Redlands, said he had long wanted to see the endangered big cats and, after extensive research, connected with Russian tiger researcher Alexander Batalov, creator and director of a 20,000 hectare reserve for the flora and fauna of an area near Khabarosvk in south-eastern Russia, home of the tigers.
David said he travelled there in February and his tasks for eight weeks were to help track the tigers, set camera traps, and video and photograph them in their natural environment all in temperatures that dropped as low as minus 28degC and without carrying weapons of any kind.
"These are massive animals and weigh up to 300kgs," he said.
"You could hear them roaring and sometimes you would track them for days, not find the tiger, and suddenly, there he was behind you tracking you."
David said he helped record 13 tigers, including a female with three cubs, and will pick up the work again when he returns to the reserve in July.
"It will be summer then and the bears will be awake, so we will have (tranquiliser) guns with us," he said.
While David was in Russia, he was invited to speak at a local school, where he showed students photos of the Redlands and its wildlife, especially koalas.
To learn more about David's wildlife rescue and photography, visit his facebook page at www.facebook. com/kangafroggywildliferescue