Resolving human-tiger conflict
Although fewer than 400 adult Siberian or Amur tigers remain in the wild, they occasionally come into contact with humans - wandering into villages in the forests of Russia.
Amur tigers will occasionally kill livestock or pets. The World Conservation Society (WCS) and a government response team have been working together to resolve "human-tiger conflict" – to protect both people and tigers.
Before the team was established in 1999, "the main intervention was a bullet," says Dale Miquelle, director of the WCS Russia Programme. "If people felt any kind of threat at all, the tiger would be killed."
The team assesses the situation and, in some cases, the tigers can be captured, fitted with a radio-collar and re-released. This enables scientists to track and study these incredibly scarce animals.
Occasionally a tiger may come into a village seeking food because it is injured and unable to hunt. The team will transport wounded tigers like this one to Utyos Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
Some injuries mean tigers cannot return to the wild. Voyla, a young male, was shot in the face by poachers. Its lower jaw was shattered and, although vets wired it back together, the animal must remain in captivity.
Rehabilitation can allow tigers to return to the wild. This one was rescued from a poacher’s snare and eventually transported back into the forest for re-release. Here, it appears reluctant to leave the safety of the vehicle…
It eventually leaps into the forest. A recent analysis published in the journal Biological Conservation concluded that the Tiger Response Team's work had reduced the number of Amur tigers that were killed by humans.