Imagine a little kitten in distress coming to your door seeking some kind of help to heal their wounds. Most people rush out and rescue it in a burst of affection and tenderness. But such an act of kindness seems less obvious when the kitten weighs several hundred kilos and is actually...a tiger!
This is the incredible experience of a couple in Solontsovy, a small village in the Khabarovsk region of eastern Russia. One morning in January, while Alexey Khaideyev was getting ready to leave his house, he discovered a strange object spread across his front doorstep. Motionless but not inert, the obstacle was blocking the door whilst giving off threatening grunts. Afraid, the man instantly joined his wife at the back of the house before calling for help.
An unexpected discovery
When they finally arrived, the emergency teams discovered the Siberian tiger that had been lying on the doorstep all day. Rescuers put the animal to sleep before transporting it to the Aleekseevka Animal Rehabilitation Centre, a village in the Primorye Krai a region in the far east of Russia.
As the species are regularly attacked by poachers, the centre’s medical team feared that gunshot wounds could explain the tiger’s distress. But after further examination, no gunshot wounds were found. As explained in the Siberian Times, the director of the Armur Tiger Centre, Sergey Aramilev said:
The animal was extremely exhausted but there was no visible injury caused by firearms.
After further examinations, vets were able to diagnose the disease that the tiger was suffering from. Just ten years old, the tiger had lost all the teeth in her upper jaw and her gums were severely inflamed. This severe dental problem would probably have led to intense starvation and after going weeks without eating, the tiger eventually sought the help of the humans.
An uncertain cure
The animal’s behaviour was still very strange for a tiger but this shows just how much it felt threatened. According to Sergey Aramilev:
The tiger behaved in a peaceful way, as if it was waiting for human help. The situation in which this rare predator was located is severe and requires urgent action.
Time is no running out for vets to save the animal from the imminent death it now faces. But it will be no easy task. As the tiger is already extremely weak, any form of anaesthesia would immediately deteriorate the tiger’s condition. This obstacle makes any treatment impossible due to the increased aggressiveness caused by the animal’s pain and distress. This prevents the vets from getting close to the animal and therefore forces them to inject it from a distance. The other tactic that they have developed involves putting antibiotics into the ground meat the tiger has been made to eat.
The entire team at the Russian Animal Rehabilitation Centre is now on tenterhooks to save this animal. It is one of the last remaining in this species and declared as critically endangered by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature). Also called ‘Tigers of Love’, in reference to the river that borders both China and Russia, the number of Siberian tigers is in the hundreds. Sergey Aramilev stated:
We can’t hide the worrying condition of the tigress. Now everything depends on her. We really hope that the tigress will recover herself and survive. We are doing everything possible.
Take a look at the video above for more on this sad story...