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Supporting World Class Tiger Rehabilitation

At WVI we believe passionately in the importance of training and building the capacity of local professionals working on the ground with the projects we support. As part of our core support for rehabilitation of endangered species,big cat expert and WVI Veterinary Partner, Dr. John Lewis, regularly visits the Alexeevka Tiger and Leopard Rehabilitation Centre in the Russian Far East in order to provide on-the-job training and advice to the Russian veterinary staff. In-between visits, John is always on hand to help via email or Skype.

The staff at Alexeevka work in very demanding conditions to help orphaned, injured and sick Amur tigers and leopards return to a life in the wild. As soon as possible in the recovery process, animals are moved into large outdoor enclosures, where human contact is minimised and their progress can be monitored through remote cameras. CCTV footage allows the staff to assess the mobility and hunting ability of the big cats as they prepare for release.

Rehabilitation of injured or orphaned animals is usually a matter of more general animal welfare and less important to conservation initiatives. But when the animals are as rare as the Amur leopard or Amur tiger, every individual counts and rehabilitation can be an important tool in helping ensure the survival of the species. The Alexeevka centre, which opened in 2012, is located south-east of Ussurisk in the Russian Far East. It provides world class rehabilitation and has had some excellent results to date. WVI is delighted to be able to provide the high quality specialist veterinary support essential to such successful rehabilitation.

As part of WVI’s aim to promote collaboration as well as being a key outcome of the WTHC, Dr. Lewis will take the chief vet from Nepal’s Chitwan National Park with him on his next visit to Alexeevka in spring 2020.  Chitwan is keen to start tiger rehabilitation and we believe that facilitating this kind of cooperation will be of real benefit to those working on similar issues, and ultimately an important element in securing the long-term survival of tiger species. (See the Wild Tiger Health Centre for more information.)

Dr Lewis is able to provide this support to the rehabilitation centre thanks to financial support from Chessington World of Adventures.