On Jan. 13, animal rescuers reported they were fighting for the life of an Amur tiger cub found dying in the country’s Far East from fatigue and frostbite.
Late last year, a local fisherman discovered an emaciated female tiger cub, aged four or five months, on a river bank in the Primorye area, suffering from severe frostbite and bruises.
The fisherman alerted wildlife rescuers, who transported the cub to a rehabilitation facility, according to the Amur Tiger Center.
“External inspection revealed she was terribly fatigued, as seen by the frostbite on the tip of her tail,” the center stated, adding that the cub’s lower jaw had also become necrotic following an injury.
The tiger, who weighed just around 20 kilos when discovered, went through a tough rehabilitation program and gained roughly 10 kilograms in preparation for surgery.
The cub underwent a 2.5-hour procedure late last week, during which specialists transplanted healthy tissue to reconstruct her jaw.
The surgery went well, but it’s too early to make any predictions about whether the cub will be able to return to the wild, according to the Amur Tiger Center.
“Right now, the most essential thing is to stop the tissue necrosis and save the tiger’s life,” said the center’s head, Sergei Aramilev.
The huge cats, also known as Siberian tigers, live in Russia and China and are classified as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. According to Pyotr Osipov, head of the WWF’s Amur division, Russia has roughly 600 tigers.