In 2008 Vladimir Putin shot a five-year-old female tiger with a tranquilizer gun and helped put a transmitter around her neck. The transmitter allowed people to follow the animal’s perusing through Russia’s Far East.
On Wednesday Vladimir Krever of the World Wildlife Fund said that the satellite tracking devise has been silent since mid-September; which could be due to battery failure, a broken collar or poachers.
Sadly tigers are becoming an endangered species in the far-eastern region of Russia due to factors such as poaching and the loss of habitat. Since 1997, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, their number has declined by 40%. They said that only 56 tigers have been spotted in an area of 9,000 square miles (24,000 square kilometers), which is about one-sixth of their known habitat in Russia. The Wildlife Conservation Society estimates the total number remaining in the wild as 300. A similar estimate in 2005 put the number of tigers left in Siberia at 500. These numbers show that the animal could be facing extinction.
Here’s why these tigers are endangered:
Chinese poachers have begun attaching explosives covered with animal fat to tree branches. When tigers or Amur leopards swallow the bait, it explodes in their mouths. The poachers use the animals for hides and bones, prized in traditional Chinese medicine.
Another factor which plays a huge role in Russia’s disappearing wildlife is illegal deforestation in the country’s Far East.
Siberian tigers can weigh up to 600 pounds (272 kilograms) – they are also known as Ussuri, Amur or Manchurian tigers. They prey on wild boars, deer and bears.
At one time, the Siberian tigers freely roamed most of Eurasia, from the Black Sea to Central Asia – however now they are limited to the forests of Far Eastern Russian and the Chinese province of Manchuria. In china the killing of a Siberian tiger is punishable by death.
The Russian government is currently planning to hold a conference regarding the conservation of wildlife, namely the tiger.