‘It was exhausted’: 4-month-old orphaned tiger cub found by locals in Russian Far East

© Yuriy Lashov
An orphaned Siberian tiger cub has been found in the Russian Far East. Desperately looking for food, the four-month-old female cub sneaked into the garden of a local resident, where it received a cold welcome from guard dogs but was saved from near death.

One of the dogs freed itself from its leash and attacked the cub. Luckily, however, the owner managed to stop the dog moments before it was too late, a spokesperson for the rescue and rehabilitation center at the Leopard Land national park told TASS. 

"It was exhausted and urgently needed veterinary aid," center vet Ekaterina Bridchenko said. "The cub has started eating, we hope it's on the road to recovery, but it is too early to make forecasts regarding her health."

Tigers usually give birth to two or three cubs every two years. As a rule, female tigers take care of their offspring during that term. Juvenile mortality is high, and about half of all cubs do not survive more than two years, according to the WWF.

Most abandoned tiger cubs have lost their mothers due to poachers.

Leopard Land staff are on the lookout for the orphaned tiger’s mother and potentially other cubs who could be on the verge of starvation.

Siberian tigers, also known as Amur tigers, were once abundant in the Russian Far East, northern China and the Korean peninsula. But in the 1940s, the Siberian tiger population almost became extinct, dropping below 40. Over the last 10 years their population has finally increased and may be currently up to 540 animals.

Last month a Siberian tiger, Amur, made headlines after it befriended a goat named Timur and refused to eat it, despite the goat being intended as the tiger’s lunch. For some reason, the goat showed no fear of the tiger and even stole the feline’s bed. The pair became inseparable, eating and playing together at the Far Eastern Safari Park.

A South Korean filmmaker, Sooyong Park, was impressed by the rare bond to the point where he decided to make a documentary about the duo.

"This story showed to all nations in all continents that animals are smarter than humans – they don’t have any racial prejudice and hatred for each other," he said.