In much sadder conservation news, the first Siberian tiger cub to be found in the wild in two decades died just two days after being discovered.
According to the Guardian:
Early on the morning of 25 February, Han Deyou, a forester in the Wanda mountains in the northern province of Heilongjiang claimed to have discovered a wild tiger cub trapped in a pile of firewood in his yard.
Afraid of its roars and aggression, he called local police and forestry officials, who fed the captive animal beef and chicken as they waited for wildlife experts from a tiger breeding centre to arrive in the remote area the following morning.
The tiger was anaesthetised with a dart, taken away and detained in the jail of the local public security bureau. Experts confirmed it was a Siberian tiger, weighing 28.5kg and thought to be about around nine months old.
It was supposed to be one of the best conservation stories of the year – there are an estimated 300 Siberian tigers in the wild, of which 40 to 50 perhaps remain in the country. As we reported earlier, wild tigers are so endangered, there’s the chance they won’t make it to see the next Year of the Tiger. While breeding programs for the beasts have been relatively successful, up until this discovery, nobody knew if baby tigers still existed in the wild.
Hopefully, this wasn’t the only one. It died two days after being found. “It was malnourished, and it had heart failure,” said Sun Haiyi, an official with the Heilongjiang wild animal research center said. The cub weighed almost half what it should have weighed.