People, Environment

Fate of Amur Tiger to Be Decided in 2016

Fate of Amur Tiger to Be Decided in 2016Fate of Amur Tiger to Be Decided in 2016

The fate of the quarantined Amur tiger will be clarified by mid-2016, according to a report by IRNA, ending a five-year saga marred by gross mishandling of one the rarest species on the planet.

In 2010, the former administration in Tehran was involved in a swap deal with Russia, which saw two Amur tigers – also known as Siberian tigers - brought to Iran in exchange for two Persian leopards as part of an ambitious scheme to revive the big cats.  

In December 2010, the male tiger died of glanders in a zoo in western Tehran, which prompted officials to quarantine the female tiger to prevent an outbreak.

The surviving tiger’s tests for glanders are slated to be performed in Tehran in 21-, 90-, and 180-day intervals. The final sampling is scheduled for April 15, 2016.

Originally, the animal was supposed to be transferred to a new permanent location where the tests could be conducted.

Iran’s Veterinary Organization, which proposed the transfer, argued that the tiger’s erstwhile living space was inappropriate, a claim supported by environmentalists and animal rights groups.

The IVO rejected the option to euthanize the tiger and proposed to home the animal in a protected area, all of which are managed by the Department of Environment.

Meanwhile, three locations were designated by the DOE: the Barajin Zoo and Bashgol Protected Area in Qazvin and Semes Kandeh Protected Area in Mazandaran. The IVO and the Health Ministry approved Semes Kandeh, but the DOE failed to meet its commitment due to the objection of the director of the DOE Mazandaran office to the tiger’s entry into his province.

Furthermore, the DOE called for the tiger’s euthanasia in case the test results were positive.

According to environmentalists, the tiger is currently living under poor conditions in a zoo in the Iranian capital. The Siberian tiger, also known as Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) is a subspecies which was distributed in large areas of east and central Asia and the east of Russia, but today lives only in a protected area in the east of Siberia.

It is the largest subspecies of tiger, the largest of the family of cats and the closest to the extinct Caspian tiger. Recent genetic research categorizes them under the same subspecies.