Moscow, A Siberian tiger, roaming freely in a Russian city, was tranquillised on Friday after a driver on a busy road spotted the big cat and alerted the police. The tiger was found at night, close to Shamora suburb, and has been removed and delivered to a rehabilitation centre at Alekseevka village, with hopes it would be released in the wild next spring, the Siberian Times reported.
A huge search had been underway in Vladivostok city for the tiger, involving police and hunting supervisors with machine guns. Parents were frightened to allow their children to go out, or attend school. Fearful residents were told by an expert the hunt for the wild cat was like “a needle in a haystack”, and it was likely that there were two or more tigers on the rampage.
The Siberian tiger is one of the rarest big cats, but rising species numbers in recent years, due to better wildlife protection spearheaded by Russian President Vladimir Putin, was seeing them roam more widely, the Daily Mail reported on Thursday.
One social media posting read: “It is scary. We need to cancel all kindergarten, schools and not go to work. Declare a state of emergency. And let them catch the tiger.” Meanwhile, a female tiger was plaguing the village of Solontsovy, about 200 km from Vladivostok, said residents.
“It is impossible to go out at night because you can’t be sure she is not waiting somewhere in the bushes,” said a resident. We are afraid of taking children to school in the morning,” the resident added.
The tiger has left prints in the snow. The village shops close early amid concerns the tiger was active at night. Siberian tiger numbers had dwindled to an alarming level in the Soviet era due to over-hunting and poaching. The species have recovered significantly in recent years, and there were now at least 562 tigers in the country’s Far East.