On June 17th WCS staff wrapped up the Siberian Tiger Project’s 16th annual spring capture season, having radio-collared two young male Amur tigers, the cubs of seven-year-old radio-collared tigress Galya. Although the cubs “Ivan” and “Misha” were nearly two years old and larger than their mother, they had not yet begun dispersing from their natal home range when captured in May along the coast of the Sea of Japan. In June, however, Ivan left his mother and began traveling north to seek his own territory. Siberian Tiger Project staff are following his movements, and expect that Misha will also soon begin dispersing.
Misha and Ivan also have a sister who remains un-collared. All three cubs were born to Galya in the summer of 2006. They are her second litter.
Siberian Tiger Project staff have been monitoring Galya since the fall of 2002, when she was first captured as a 1-year-old cub. Galya is the daughter of another radio-collared tigress, Lidiya. Cubs from Galya’s first litter – Lidiya’s grandchildren – were fitted with tiny expandable radio-collars when they were just 5 weeks old in 2004, and thus scientists followed three generations of living wild tigers (Lidiya, Galya, and Galya’s cubs) for the first time in history.
The Siberian Tiger Project is a cooperative effort between the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve. Capture activities are conducted in the fall and the spring, when individuals are captured and fitted with radio collars that allow their movements to be monitored year-round. Over 60 tigers have been monitored through radio telemetry activities conducted under the Siberian Tiger Project since its inception in 1992, yielding a wealth of information about how tigers live, which is in turn critical to developing effective conservation plans. The fall 2008 capture season will begin in September.