Conservationists begin tracking Mom’s fourth litter
Scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and their Russian colleagues from the Russian Far East recently fitted three wild 40-day-old Siberian tiger cubs with tiny radio-collars, marking the youngest wild tigers to be tracked by scientists. The elastic collars, which eventually fall off as the tigers grow, weigh just over five ounces and would fit on a large house cat. They give researchers crucial insights into the needs of tiger cubs and may help improve the survival and reproduction of this largest of the cat species. Working near the Sikhote-Alin Reserve, the researchers located the tigers den by tracking a radio-collared 13-year-old tigress named Lidya.
Finding the cubs required some caution, particularly in making sure Mom was not home. The researchers waited until Lidyas radio signal indicated that she had left the den site before searching for the cubs, which they found in a collection of rocks on the slope of a hill. Two of the cubs, who weighed from 12 to 14 pounds, remained calm as the researchers handled and measured them, but the third spent most of the time "roaring" at its captors. After collecting hair and blood samples for genetic and disease analysis, the team fitted them with radio collars and returned them to their den.
Stephen Sautner | EurekAlert!
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