By Aisling Maria Cronin
The one-and-half minute video above [see below\ shows the results of an amazing tiger rescue and release effort by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), in conjunction with partners in far east Russia. The three Amur (also known as Siberian) tigers – Ilona, Borya, and Kuzya – had sadly been orphaned by poachers.
Prior to their epic release, IFAW and its partners had worked hard to ensure that the animals would be prepared for their new life. The release of two more Amur tigers is planned in the coming weeks, and as IFAW Communications Officer Michael Booth pointed out, “You’re probably asking why we’re that excited about five tigers? Well, consider this: Even though you can count that number with one hand, it represents more than one percent of the entire population of wild Amur tigers alive today.”
He added that the releases should signal “what we hope will be a triumphant return of Amur tigers to the region.”
There are only an estimated 360 remaining Amur tigers left in the wild. But the release of Ilona, Borya, and Kuzya – coming so soon after the successful rehabilitation of Zolushka, another Amur tiger who was released by IFAW last year – gives us a great reason to hope that this species can indeed be saved. Video.