Tane a small town and Far East Russia This is no longer a place of Exile But today’s Siberians must eke out a hard living trapping fishing and logging They live on one of the last frontiers Surrounded by a vast and largely untamed wilderness Still out there somewhere a legend lives a creature of fearful power and stunning beauty It is the biggest cat on earth the Siberian tiger Today wildlife biologists seek to study the tiger and perhaps to save it About 300 Siberian tigers survive in the wild and they are perilously close to extinction These Russian and American scientists must get close to one of the most dangerous animals in the world But while some seek the elusive tigers in the wild One Russian scientist is studying them in captivity meeting and hunting Named for Siberia this splendid cat can spread across the snows at fifty miles an hour Magnificent mysterious highly dangerous and highly endangered This is the great Siberian the Tigers of the snow The coasts of eastern Siberia The Siberian tiger once ranged across much of the Asian continent Once they numbered in the thousands Now only some 300 survive in a narrow band of mountains on the Sea of Japan The sigiriya legend is a frozen wastelands in fact parts of the forest temperate even subtropical Here Russian and American scientists are seeking to study wild Siberian tigers in a last-ditch effort to save them Dr. Morris cornica, an American big cat authority has brought desperately needed technology to this crucial effort In the past Russian scientists could study the Tigers only in winter when their tracks could be followed in the snow Now with radio tracking devices the elusive cats can be studied sight unseen and year-round My first work with cats with mountain lions in North America in Idaho Everyone said it couldn’t be done. I’ve always liked a challenge We’ve fused the tiger population as target species, but we’ve studied the entire ecosystem Because of the immense area that the tiger needs to exist defines entire watersheds entire systems that the prey must also utilize So he can literally define an entire ecosystem by studying a big cat The scientists pick up a radio signal from a tiger somewhere in the thick forest below In fact it’s a number of tigers and incredibly they’re out in the open Siberian tigers are so rare and elusive that even a feeding glimpse like this is a landmark event for the scientists when we saw that female and those Cubs on this lakeshore wide open view first time that a female Siberian tiger cubs had ever been observed and photographed from the air. It was one of the most thrilling events in my professional career Hanukkah’s team has tracked some dozen Tigers by radio trying to determine such essential facts as their range and distribution This is at the fuel and of the horn occur Wildlife Institute’s Maurice is briefed by Dale Hill who’s been coordinating the field study for the past three years Five females that we’ve got good information on their home ranges We’ve got all the force first female we captured who’s now in the home range that only includes a little piece of the reserve actually when they were in fact gather with their Russian colleagues They need to quickly establish a management plan for the Tigers Things interesting about all this is that all these animals travel outside the boundaries of the reserve So even though the reserve is vast it’s not large enough to maintain these females in their entire home range Time is running out Even now logging roads skirt the reserve where only some 20 Tigers roam over 1,300 square miles The researchers received word that a tiger has been caught in one of their snares a Chance to add a new animal to their study group March flyer and dr. Honaker prepared to sedate the tiger There is no way of knowing how securely the tiger is trapped He could suddenly pull free and then they would have only a few seconds to save themselves a Tranquilizer dart should quiet the tiger down Still the dosage required is always in doubt Too much in dangers the Tigers too little the researchers It’s a three-year-old male when fully grown at about age six it weighs 600 pounds or more But even now he’s an armful They carry the tiger to better ground His eyes must be artificially lubricated since the blink response is sedated These massive jaws can crack the spine of a wild boar over the single bite Its feet are like thickly padded snowshoes with retractable claws The radio collar allows them to track the tiger and help answer some crucial Questions are much territory – the Tigers require a many elk and deer and boar How do they react to human encroachment? Suddenly the tiger is having trouble breathing They desperately try to revive him Yeah, but his breaths are real oh yeah Mr. Rossi That colors cut Morris that dollars cut yeah because we might have a cat that comes up real quick The tiger must be given a stimulant Slowly he resumed his normal breathing rate Yeah, he’s breathing Yeah, the biologist must now take their samples hastily before the great beast fully awakens They’re reluctant to lose sight of him before he’s safely on his feet but also eager not to be in his way Now at a safe distance the team receives a signal from the radio color The tiger is up and about and on the prowl again In another part of the reserve the team is concerned about the signal from a tigress named Olga She was the very first colored with a radio All great appears has remained in the same area for a long time a sign that she may be dead Or that she’s found a den and given birth Jeanne Smirnoff Russian Tiger specialist determines that Olga is in fact moving about her den site The researchers decide they’ll attempt to enter the den to earmark the cubs They’ll need to wait until night when the tigress should be out hunting Hopefully far from home The fading radio signal indicates that Olga has left her den But if she returns she would probably attack instantly They test flares they hope would drive all go off Protecting a dim is one of the rare circumstances when a Siberian will turn Mankiller Night is the time when Tigers are most alert and aggressive their night vision is far superior to humans The signal from Olga once faint is getting louder the team must quickly be in and out of the den Yeah, this is it that for Ya, yeah. We got the spot Yeah Love soaked with Tiger urine are worn so the mother will not detect their intrusion and reject her cubs It’s a healthy male two months old the cub already weighs about 13 pounds Yeah, I’m still getting a signal and it’s nearly not that weak right now. We’re gonna have to hurry if you can’t Unlike other cats tiger kittens never learned to purr An ear tag is inserted for future identification They christened the cub Sasha I’m getting a signal we’re going after her she’s back. She’s coming back over the ridge Their daring has set a new precedent For the first time ever scientists have examined and returned to come to a den in the wild In towns and villages throughout coastal Siberia people have learned to live with the idea of tigers but attacks have happened and some are afraid of Guy varam, however, one man is happy to have tigers in his own backyard Morris Honaker and Howard quickly are working with a Russian biologist who has two orphan Cubs in captivity Has raised the Cubs from infancy The author of a definitive natural history of the Russian wolf but he soon learned that culture of the tiger a New Yorker the tigress different animals indeed Post an epidemic but almost No Gaston ability study tigers in captivity Is absolutely necessary because many of their biological traits cannot be learned in the wild The results of the tiger studies that were done in captivity and in the wild to develop the methods of how to preserve the tiger as a species in reserves like The young Tigers have outgrown their cages And so with the support of the Honaker wildlife Institute an enclosure is built in the adjacent wards Though a far cry from the hundreds of square miles the tiger in the wild would roam these six acres will provide the young captives with the opportunity to run and hunt and Hopefully even mate and have Cubs But there are neighbors in the area Victor knows the importance of keeping them well informed especially now when the Tigers will Enter the enclosure So he brings local schoolchildren to the compound just a pre-christmas receive Rafi and prepares to Since it’s so different from life in the wild Which in justice Bradley Charity graviton Valley area I explained to them that there are limitations to what we can and cannot learn from observing Tigers the way we do in the wild They don’t provide Any posters When people realize that it’s not just for fun, that is serious work They look at me and admiration cos if I were a Superman I guess The day has come when for the first time the Tigers will step into the natural world they were intended to rule No one knows how they react to their new enclosure Victor it’s an especially anxious moment for he hopes the enclosure will be home to these Tigers for the rest of their lives The mail Kuchar has steps boldly out For the first time the light through the trees the smell of grass and leaf the feel of the soft earth Mirka of the females unsure of all this and even tries to close the gate but some curiosity overcomes caution The human surprise culture begins to feel a little frisky and tries to meet But Niko will have no part of it a her the time has not yet. Come Exhilarated by their freedom they soon vanish into their little private forest To feed his feline charges doctor you can collect some roadkill Victor feels he knows the mood of his Tigers. So well, he can risk entering the enclosure In the wild most attacks on humans occur when they invade a tiger’s territory or when Cubs are threatened unlike Bengal tigers Siberians have never been known to hunt man As the Tigers settled into their enclosure Dr. Uten begins his observations and controlled experiments He hopes to learn which behaviors are innate and which would need to be taught to captive Tigers Before they could be released into the wild Tigers live in a world of feast or famine still culture must wait his turn Dr. You notices it’s the female who feeds first? With the coming of fall the first risk winds blow in from the Siberian Arctic As if designed for these autumn colors the Tigers blend with a landscape In the wild their coloration becomes lighter as winter approaches anticipating snow Dr. Udin confronts one more problem that makes the study of Tiger behavior so difficult The tiger is largely a creature of the dark With their extraordinary night-vision culture and New Yorker come fully alive only after sunset Recently they began to roam restlessly in the dark Victor wonders if night has awakened an instinctive urge to hunt When he releases a small rabbit in the enclosure, he quickly learns the answer After several weeks the Tigers have established their territory in the enclosure to Another of their own species Set up an experiment involving a full-sized model tiger Tigers in the wild are solitary animals and fiercely territorial Is this behavior innate or learned? And if innate how soon does it develop? The reaction to an intruder by the captive raised Tigers may help provide an answer The scale-model is covered with Tiger urine the scent that establishes territory Recordings of tiger calls will be played under the enclosure the stage is set Culture the male is curious. He spends hours observing this strange creature But by light of day Kuchar keeps his distance It’s only overnight that the researchers discovered the Tigers real attitude towards the intruder Every shred of color has been ripped from the models skin Only when the model no longer looked like a tiger did Kuchar and leave it alone The defense of his territory is already a powerful instinct It was the long Siberian winter that created the Tigers of the snow demanding robust size padded paws and thick fur But it is also winter when they are hunted when they are most easily seen this time by a scientist We’ve had to develop and evolve all our techniques here No one had ever worked with Siberian tigers before so we utilize its foot snaring to capture the tiger and it’s worked very Successfully but some of them are becoming very trap shy some of them have become very difficult to capture So in order to maintain the continuity of our data collection in order to keep track of certain individuals We’ve had to utilize helicopters The hump begins – we color certain Tigers The information the collars provide is critical to understanding the boundaries required for the Tigers survival Their territories are extensive Females may range up to 200 square miles males laps 500 Losing contact for the study animal is their greatest fear Each one is precious to the scientists The collars were put on animals last about two to two and a half years and then the batteries lithium batteries run out So they simply need to be replaced Once we’ve invested two years in an animal and gathering information that animal becomes very valuable to us because it has a history And the longer we maintain contact with an animal the more we learn about its life history patterns How often it has young how long they live its whole life history The pilot spots something below It’s a wild boar running for its life And in pursuit of Tiger Tigers miss most of their prey this time the helicopter provides the distraction saving the boar The tiger is not amused Eventually, they’ll pick up the strong signal of another familiar tiger It is Olga mother of the cub found in the den The helicopter quickly searches the area hoping to spot her cubs, Sasha And Sasha, is there no longer a small cub are thriving well The young are raised by the mother alone Sasha will stay with her for 18 to 20 months until it’s time to establish his own home range Not long after they spot a tigress named Mary vana She is very aggressive and even climbs a tree to attack the helicopter She only provides a better target for bar flier a Single-dose sedates the Tigris quickly The old cour is measured against the new one which is given an extra notch for growth They carefully monitor her heart rate and respiration Mission accomplished the new color will provide crucial data for at least another two years Not far from the cold forbidding wild to success at the venture is celebrated Russian style It’s also Bart’s Flyers birthday It’s a Colorado reborn of years of feared dangers and shared dreams Atlee to humans compound winter has transformed the enclosure The Siberian winter seems to invigorate the captive Tigers This is truly the season that the Tigers of the snow As Victorine observes culture the male continues to stake out his territory spraying the trees with his scent In what is called a flamin the female tests the air for his scent? Then its cultures turned a detective his mate is in heat And she is New Yorker the female initiates the coupling and so the mating period begins He’s written a modest apology to show melodic cigarette if we succeed in getting young car Develop the best methods for returning the young Tigers back into the wild You try to bring them up in the natural conditions So they will more easily adapt to joining the wild tiger population here in the reserve As far as successful mating all dr. Newton can do is hope for results Victor’s wife Lina has a special relationship with the Tigers. She’s nurtured them since they were Cubs they must be brought in at night because of the dangers of Condition that new car Over the next few days the Tigers breed often Sometimes dozens of times a day At last the breeding ends and Mirka moves into her den She should give birth in about a hundred days Springtime in Siberia. Dr. Honaker receives word from Viktor uten that New Yorker has given birth But something’s wrong Victus observed that the mother is not taking care of her cubs This is not uncommon when big cats give birth and captivity This is a Viktor think she’s fed them at all, but you’re still not sure Camila Not lewiston yet, then we’d better go in and look They isolate the mother New Yorker so they can safely approach the den One of the cubs is up and about but looks hungry and unkempt The other cub is barely moving and Viktor is clearly concerned It’s no easy Suddenly the cup stops breathing Victor rushes it inside where he will try to revive it It appears the mother has neither grooved non nursed her cubs, and this one is near death With infinite patience Victor massages the heart hoping against all odds to bring the car back to life The mortality rate of Siberian tiger cubs can be up to 30% With so few born in the wild the survival of captive cubs is critical to the species One cub is lost but her brother under Victor’s tender nursing recuperates quickly He’s named the cub Globus for a world that cares about him. Even if his own mother hasn’t learned to Eventually globus will be brought to the United States as part of a captive breeding program When he is he’ll be following other Cubs orphaned in Siberia and sent by dr. Honaker – the snows of Omaha, Nebraska They’re now part of the world’s most successful breeding program for large predators The Tigers are bred here with the goal of returning the Cubs back to the wild But what kind of environment will await them Back in Russia, dr. Honaker strives to educate Siberia’s future caretakers If we’re to save these big carnivores as the world population Increases we must convince the younger generation that it’s worthwhile Conserving them it’s always so rewarding to me and gratifying to see how children Accept this they really love these big animals They want to save them and if we can convince them that’s in their best interest, then it’s to their advantage and to ours So much of this magnificent forest the Siberian tigers last domain May be cut down for a world hungry for lumber But the years of difficult and dangerous study have given birth to a plan to save the forest By saving the tiger in the wild Selecting the tiger is the umbrella species to be saved means that the forest surrounding the reserve must also be protected But there are no guarantees Poised on the edge of extinction the tiger of the snow evokes an old Russian proverb hope Is the last to die?