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Adventures of the tiger Vladik


Back in mid-October 2016, none could have ever thought that some unknown young tiger would do a very rash move that almost become fatal for the animal. Crossing the highway, the tiger have got into the lens of a car video recorder.

However, the fact he was caught on a video is not a big deal. Today, the DVR is a must-have accessory for almost every car in Primorye, and there are a lot of video records of tigers by the road.

And the point is not that it happened on Vyselkovaya Street (means “outskirts” in Russian). Even the name of the street tells that it is in the suburbs and not in a city center. Human buildings only stand on one side of this street. And on the other side is the forest. From which the tiger came, as his grandmother and mother once came here too.

And it was not at all that the tiger had insidious plans for the two-legged inhabitants of Vyselkovaya Street. He did not have such plans. The only immediate plan he had was to get out of the garage thickets and break through into his forest. And he, in the end, implemented this plan. He made it across the road right into the forest.

It was a completely different matter! The fact was that the tiger fell victim to the information boom! Journalists could not resist to "intensifying the news." In the headlines the tiger that slipped between the garages and car repair shops on the very outskirt , became "Tiger, who walks around the capital of Primorye," "Tiger, which runs around the stone jungle," etc. etc.

In a word, the boy was at the wrong time and in the wrong place... The case turned out, as they say today, high-profile. It was clear that the tiger had to be captured urgently and by all means. The rapid response team for human-tiger conflict resolution of the Wildlife Management Department, together with experts from WWF and the Amur Tiger Center, embarked on an impossible mission.
Why impossible? Well, because it is very difficult to look for a red cat in a red autumn forest in the complete absence of snow. The team invited the best drone pilot, who shaved the crowns of the trees with the blades of the copter risking to lose it in taiga. But it could not find the tiger. The help came from a very modern thermographic camera. With its help, the tiger was found, immobilized without causing injuries and delivered to the Rehabilitation Center in the village of Alekseevka.

So, an unknown young male tiger suddenly became the most famous among all its relatives, and was named Vladik (short for Vladivostok) courtesy of the Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology.

It was necessary to pass a sentence. There were some jurors who suggested that the trouble-maker has to be released into the wild immediately without serving time, since he did not offend anyone and did no harm to anyone. And maybe, in any other case, their opinion would have triumphed. But, as you remember, our Vladik fell victim to the information boom! The case turned out, as they say today, high-profile. And he behaved so fearless for a normal tiger in the presence of people and cars. Therefore, the experts sentenced him to imprisonment in order to re-educate and obtain strong evidence that Vladik wants, knows how and can get himself wild prey and will not go to the garbage dump again.

Tiger Vladik

So, the most famous criminal in the world had to spend the term in the penal colony from October 2016 to May 2017. Every day he proved that he loves and knows how to hunt wild boars and sikadeer, and never exchanges this skill to the garbage waste. Actually, by the middle of winter, jurors were quite ascertain in loyalty of the prisoner. And there were opinions about parole. But winter is a difficult time for the tiger. Therefore, it was decided not to risk the famous tiger. And release him in the spring, when badgers, raccoon dogs and other light tiger prey will get out of winter burrows.

It remained to make the most important decision: where exactly to release. There were many promising places. In the end, Vladik could well have settled next to the rehabilitated tigress Philippa in the nature reserve of Evreiskaya province. Moreover, they were sitting at the Rehabilitation Center in the neighboring enclosures and through the bars they had some kind of relationship ...

But, as you remember, our Vladik fell victim to the information boom! The case turned out, as they say today, high-profile. Therefore, it was decided to find a dense forest of such a size that the world-famous tiger would not have the slightest chance to look into the human quarters again.

Here came the name of the newly created Bikin National Park, the largest protected area in the tiger range, established with great support of WWF. It was here that a special rotorcraft led by a godson - Sergei Donskoy, Minister of Natural Resources brought the famous tiger.

Today, videos about this case have already circulated around the world and have landed on the National Geographic and Discovery portals.

But this is not the ending at all. This is just the beginning of Vladik’s fascinating story. We will definitely keep you posted on his new adventures. And thanks to everyone who supports our work.

Author: Vasily Solkin /Amur WWF Russia, 2017