An entire family or Amur Siberian tigers was recently captured on film via a camera trap set up by the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Russia Program — in partnership with the Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve and Udegeiskaya Legenda National Park.
The images mark the first time that an adult male, an adult female, and cubs (in this case 3 of them), have been documented to show this behavior — adult males generally don’t (or are thought not to) participate much in the raising of offspring, and are generally solitary.
WCS Russia Director Dr Dale Miquelle stated: “Although WCS’s George Schaller documented sporadic familial groups of Bengal tigers as early as the 1960s, this is the first time such behavior has been photographed for Amur Siberian tigers in the wild. These photos provide a small vignette of social interactions of Amur tigers, and provide an evocative snapshot of life in the wild for these magnificent animals.”
The new images are the result of a project that set up camera traps throughout the Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve and the Udegeiskaya Legenda National Park.
Svetlana Soutyrina, a former WCS Russia employee and currently the Deputy Director for Scientific Programs at the Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve, was the one that set these camera traps up: “We have collected hundreds of photos of tigers over the years, but this is the first time we have recorded a family together. These images confirm that male Amur tigers do participate in family life, at least occasionally, and we were lucky enough to capture one such moment.”
A recent press release provides more:
The exact population size of the endangered Amur Siberian tigers is difficult to estimate. Every 10 years an ambitious, range-wide survey is conducted that involves hundreds of scientists, hunters, and volunteers. The results of the most recent of these surveys, undertaken in February 2015, will be released by summer. In 2005, the last time a range-wide survey of Amur tigers was conducted, it was estimated there were 430-500 tigers estimated remaning in the wild. The WCS Russia Program plays a critical role in monitoring tigers and their prey species in the Russian Far East and minimizing potential conflicts between tigers and human communities. WCS works to save tiger populations and their remaining habitat in nine range countries across Asia.
Image Credit: Wildlife Conservation Society