A tigress named Zolushka – Russian for Cinderella – has been successfully released to the wild by the International Fund for Animal Welfare along with the Phoenix Fund, Special Inspection Tiger, A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, and the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Zolushka became an orphan in the winter of 2012, her mother a likely victim of poaching, and had to be removed from the wild to be placed in a rehabilitation facility; she spent a year being monitored by conservationists who were responsible for improving her physical condition and adapting her for reintroduction to the wild.
Zolushka learned to hunt and to stalk her prey: for over six months she was feeding exclusively on live deer, hogs, and raccoons that she hunted in her spacious enclosure. All contact with humans was eliminated and monitoring was performed remotely through video cameras.
Zolushka was fitted with a satellite collar and released at the Bastak Nature Reserve in Primorsky Krai, where she will be monitored by rangers.