Vets Use Skin From Frostbitten Tiger Cubs Leg To Replace Rotting Flesh On Her Face

This severely malnourished tiger cub that ended up with severe frostbite and on the verge of death has been rescued after it was separated from its mother and probably attacked by a dog.

The rare animal was found on New Year’s Eve and instantly given emergency surgery by team of vets organised by the Primorsky Krai forestry services, who say the recovery has been so good that they are even hoping the tiger cub will be able to return to the wild.

@amurtigercenter/Newsflash & Amur Tiger Center/Newsflash

The female cub, estimated to be now around 5-6 months old, was found by a riverbank in the Anuchinsky District of Primorsky Krai in Russia by fishermen, who alerted the hunting authorities that then recovered the cub.

It was in a critical condition and given emergency treatment at the site before being taken to vets.

The cub was so malnourished that her tail and also her muzzle had been affected by frostbite, with some of the tissue literally rotting away.

There was also a lower jaw injury, probably from a dog bite, that had worsened the frostbite on her muzzle.

Sergey Aramilev, General Director of the Amur Tiger Centre, said: “The nature of the injuries and their condition allowed us to accurately simulate a picture of what happened in the forest. In search of food, the tiger cub, left without a mother, most likely encountered a dog and during the conflict received bites of the soft tissues of the muzzle.

The tail of the emaciated tiger cub with severe frostbite and a lower jaw injury which was rescued in Primorsky Krai, Russia in December 2021.
(Amur Tiger Center/Newsflash)

“Due to exhaustion in severe frosts, she could not “warm” herself and received frostbite on the injured tissues and tail.

“By the time the tiger cub was warmed up, the dead tissues had already, in fact, rotted. All actions were timely, which gave the tiger cub a chance to survive. However, it is worth remembering that the struggle for her life and health continues.”

The centre said it was unclear why the mother and cub got separated, but it could have been that the tigress had gone on a long hunt and the cub got lost when deciding to look for her.

They also did not rule out that the tigress may have been careless with the cub due to lack of experience.

The treatment for the cub, which weighed only 20 kilogrammes when it arrived, involved first operating on its injured jaw. It was then given antibiotics and a special diet.

An emaciated tiger cub with severe frostbite and a lower jaw injury was rescued in Primorsky Krai, Russia in December 2021.
(Amur Tiger Center/Newsflash)

Within the first week, she gained 10 kilogrammes and started to show the healthy reaction of being nervous around people and showing signs of aggression by hissing, which is regarded as normal and healthy.

The director of the MROO Tiger Centre Viktor Kuzmenko said that the team that was looking after the cub had been working round the clock in order to make sure she pulled through.

After they stabilised her, they operated to remove the dead tissue at the Vladivostok Clinical Hospital No. 2 Nikita Vereshchak. The assistant Andrei Prodan said treatment for the muzzle injury involved cutting skin from her leg in order to replace the dead skin on her face.

The operation lasted 2.5 hours and, according to doctors, was successful. If the stitches heal safely and the injury does not cause discomfort to the predator, it is expected that in the near future she can be released back into the wild.

After the final treatment, the final rehabilitation and eventual reintroduction into the wild will be handled by the Amur Tiger Centre.


To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Feza Uzay, Sub-Editor: William McGee, Agency:  Newsflash

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