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Putin's Prized Predators: Russia's Endangered Amur Tigers Causing Havoc After Relocation Effort

Loose Tigers Part of Putin's Plan, but Russians Are Dying
Source: MEGA

Amur tigers at Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland. More than 700 adult tigers are in eastern Russia.

Feb. 1 2024, Published 11:01 a.m. ET

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Russia is grappling with a growing menace as killer tigers roam free in the country's eastern regions, far from the confines of zoos.

Once classified as an endangered species, Amur tigers have become a focal point of Vladimir Putin's agenda in an attempt to preserve them in their natural habitat.

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With over 750 adult Amur tigers now residing in Eastern Russia, a troubling trend has emerged — these majestic creatures are venturing into towns, resulting in attacks on both animals and humans.

A recent incident in the town of Kutuzovka saw a tiger devouring a guard dog, followed by another similar incident 25 miles away.

Even guard dogs stationed along the Sino-Russian border are not immune to the threat. In the Khabarovsk area, a trained dog fell victim to a tiger, highlighting the increasing encounters between wildlife and civilization.

Reports from The Daily Mirror recount a harrowing incident during which a tiger leapt through a window at a rural home, shattering glass and attacking a teenager. The teenager survived with serious injuries thanks to a quick-thinking cousin who intervened and shot the tiger.

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In 2010, President Putin made the decision to relocate Amur tigers to the eastern part of Russia, their natural habitat, in an effort to combat the threat of poaching.

While poaching remains a concern, zoologist Sergei Kolchin identifies additional factors contributing to the tigers' behavior, such as the destruction of their habitats due to logging. Deforestation in Eastern Russia is diminishing substantial evergreen forests that once served as the tigers' home.

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An additional factor complicating the problem is a decline in wild boar populations, the main source of food for tigers. Due to the catastrophic loss of the wild boar population caused by African swine disease, tigers are now more likely to approach populated areas out of hunger.

Environmental organizations like Kedr have been vocal about the difficulties associated with this complex topic. However, Kedr was shut down by the Russian government in early January on the grounds that it was spreading "fake news" about environmental initiatives originating from the Kremlin. Right now, the related website Smola has some of Kedr's content available.

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More than 600 Russians who live in the impacted areas have signed a petition to Putin expressing their concerns about the situation and requesting protection from the tigers that are invading their land. Some fear that starving tigers will come into contact with more humans.

Although Putin gave his approval for the tiger relocation effort during his September 2022 visit to Vladivostok, there are still problems with the roughly $54 million project. Concerned about their children's safety, parents who opted for "distance learning" have voiced their fear over the rapid rise in tigers snatching domestic animals.

The worldwide tiger population continues to be a source of worry, with reports of repopulating attempts in several locations.


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