VLADIVOSTOK, February 14 (RIA Novosti) - A female Siberian tiger cub rescued in Russia's Far East in January will be soon be released into the wild, the deputy chief of a local wildlife watchdog said on Thursday.
"We decided ... to release it back into the wild," Vitaly Starostin said. "But because the little predator has spent nearly a month with humans, we need to teach it to procure food on its own; otherwise she will die of hunger."
The five-month-old tiger was discovered by wildlife workers on January 19 suffering from severe malnutrition in a kennel in the town of Vyazemsk, in the Khabarovsk Territory. Its mother was presumably killed by poachers, as tigers do not normally abandon their offspring.
Eight orphaned tiger cubs were found in the Far Eastern taiga in 2007. Two of them did not survive; while the others were sent to zoos.
Siberian tigers, also known as Amur tigers, are the world's largest subspecies of tigers. They are on the World Conservation Union's critically endangered status list, and there are only about 500 of them left in the wild. Since 2006, poachers have killed around 10 in Russia's Far East.
Various parts of a tiger's body are used in traditional Asian medicine - its bones, cooked into a glue, are used as a traditional 'treatment' for infections and as a painkiller, and are sold for about $5,000 per kilogram on the black market. A tiger skull is said to prevent nightmares and keep away evil.
Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.