Support The Moscow Times!

Rare Tigress 'Poisoned' to Death at Russian Wildlife Center

The rare Amur tiger was poisoned at a wildlife rehabilitation center in the far-eastern Khabarovsk region.

In a dramatic setback to Russian conservation efforts for the rare Amur tiger, an adult female is believed to have been poisoned to death at a wildlife rehabilitation center in the far-eastern Khabarovsk region, the center said in a statement, citing its director.

"It was a plant-based poison that breaks up into fragments upon entering the stomach. No matter how bizarre and sad this may sound, my opinion is unambiguous: the tigress was poisoned on purpose," director Eduard Kruglov said in the statement, posted on the Utyos center's website Friday.

Only a few hundred Amur tigers are estimated to roam their natural habitat in the mountains of Siberia and the Far East. The Utyos tigress died a month before she was scheduled to be released back into the wild.

An autopsy revealed that many of the tigress's organs were "dark-colored," a sign of poisoning, the statement said, and the director believes that the toxicant was mixed into the animal's food.

"I'm not going to say who specifically could have done this, but I'm sure that there's a certain group interested in this sort of thing," he said. "This is the first such case in 20 years, and I hope nothing like this happens again."

The animal, known as Tigress 15, was captured by wildlife experts from the Natural Resources Ministry in December and sent to the center to be treated for an array of ailments.

See also:

Russian Poacher Faces 7 Years in Prison for Killing Rare Leopard

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.