We recently collected images from camera traps placed in Bastak Nature Reserve in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, and were thrilled to see our old friend Zolushka (“Cinderella” in Russian). As was mentioned in previous updates, Zolushka was rescued as an orphaned cub in Primorye two years ago, and was released back into the wild in Bastak after a year-long rehabilitation period. Our colleagues and Bastak staff work monitor camera traps regularly—this involves installation and periodic checks to replace batteries and download photographs. This frequent monitoring allows us to receive important and timely data on the status of different animals in the reserve—first and foremost the young tigress Zolushka. She looks healthy and well-fed, meaning that she survived the most difficult season of the year for animals—winter. Zolushka was often camera trapped throughout the winter season,
Here she is curiously examining the camera traps on March 31, 2014:
And here she is again on April 9th:
Although tigers can be individually identified by their stripe pattern, Zolushka is easy to identify with only a quick glance due to her shorter-than-average tail—she lost the tip of it to frostbite as a cub, prior to her rescue.
We are also thrilled that the male tiger—Zolushka’s prince whom she met this winter—is still in the reserve as well. His most recent photographs were taken on May 6th and May 15th, 2014. We hope that by the end of the year the camera traps will start to show young cubs from this pair. If this happens, it will be the first tiger litter in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast in more than sixty years! What a continuation of the fairy tale that would be!
Below is a photograph of the resident male, taken May 6th, 2014:
And here he is sniffing a scent mark tree, then continuing on his way on May 15th, 2014:
Some time later, red deer also came to inspect the scent mark tree. Animals glean information about each other through smells.
Zolushka shares her territory in the reserve with other predators, including Eurasian lynx , brown bear, and wolf:
The camera traps in Bastak Nature Reserve were provided by the Wildlife Conservation Society with financial support from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).