Bastak Reserve
Bastak Reserve

Rare Siberian Tiger Cubs Born in Russian Reserve

Bastak Reserve
Bastak Reserve

In 2012, a group of hunters found a four-month-old female Amur (Siberian) tiger cub alone in Russia’s Primorskii Krai in 2012. She was in bad shape: suffering from frostbite, starving, and close to death.

The hunters brought the cub—one of only about 540 endangered Amur tigers left in the world—to local wildlife authorities, who named her Zolushka, or Cinderella. The local wildlife manager performed an operation to remove the tip of her tail, which had been irreparably damaged by the cold. Once she recovered, Zoluskha was transferred to a tiger rehabilitation center, where she spent the next year learning how to be a tiger—living without humans and hunting her own food. 

Young tigers typically leave their mothers at 20 months old. When Zolushka reached 20 months, she was moved yet again, this time into Bastak Reserve. Researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Russian Academy of Sciences tracked the young tiger’s first few months to be sure she could make it on her own. They needn't have worried; Zolushka adapted quickly to her new environment and wasted no time tracking down the reserve’s wild boars, red deer, and badgers.

Image credit: Bastak Reserve

There was still one problem: The last of Bastak Reserve’s tigers disappeared in the 1970s. Zolushka could be the first of a new generation—but only if she could find a mate. And there were none to be had on the reserve.

Then one day, a single male tiger appeared. Scientists estimate he must have traveled more than 124 miles from the nearest tiger territory to get there. Before too long, Zolushka’s trackers began finding two sets of huge pawprints together in the snow.

Months passed. Then, last week, the reserve inspector spotted something wonderful on a camera trap: a healthy Zolushka, standing protectively over her two cubs. They are the first tigers born in the reserve in 40 years. 

“This is a watershed event not just for Zolushka, but for the entire population of Amur tigers,” WCS Russian director Dale Miquelle said in a press statement. “These births mark the return of tigers to habitat that had been lost, and the beginnings of a recovery and expansion of the last remaining Amur tiger population.” 

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Mark Ralston, AFP/Getty Images
How a Hairdresser Found a Way to Fight Oil Spills With Hair Clippings
Mark Ralston, AFP/Getty Images
Mark Ralston, AFP/Getty Images

The Exxon Valdez oil tanker made global news in 1989 when it dumped millions of gallons of crude oil into the waters off Alaska's coast. As experts were figuring out the best ways to handle the ecological disaster, a hairdresser from Alabama named Phil McCroy was tinkering with ideas of his own. His solution, a stocking stuffed with hair clippings, was an early version of a clean-up method that's used at real oil spill sites today, according to Vox.

Hair booms are sock-like tubes stuffed with recycled hair, fur, and wool clippings. Hair naturally soaks up oil; most of the time it's sebum, an oil secreted from our sebaceous glands, but it will attract crude oil as well. When hair booms are dragged through waters slicked with oil, they sop up all of that pollution in a way that's gentle on the environment.

The same properties that make hair a great clean-up tool at spills are also what make animals vulnerable. Marine life that depends on clean fur to stay warm can die if their coats are stained with oil that's hard to wash off. Footage of an otter covered in oil was actually what inspired Phil McCroy to come up with his hair-based invention.

Check out the full story from Vox in the video below.

[h/t Vox]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Bristly
A New Chew Toy Will Help Your Dog Brush Its Own Teeth
Bristly
Bristly

Few pet owners are willing to sit down and brush their pet's teeth on a regular basis. (Most of us can barely convince ourselves to floss our own teeth, after all.) Even fewer pets are willing to sit calmly and let it happen. But pet dental care matters: I’ve personally spent more than $1000 in the last few years dealing with the fact that my cat’s teeth are rotting out of her head.

For dog owners struggling to brush poor Fido’s teeth, there’s a slightly better option. Bristly, a product currently being funded on Kickstarter, is a chew toy that acts as a toothbrush. The rubber stick, which can be slathered with doggie toothpaste, is outfitted with bristles that brush your dog’s teeth as it plays.

A French bulldog chews on a Bristly toy.
Bristly

Designed so your dog can use it without you lifting a finger, it’s shaped like a little pogo stick, with a flattened base that allows dogs to stabilize it with their paws as they hack at the bristled stick with their teeth. The bristles are coated in a meat flavoring to encourage dogs to chew.

An estimated 80 percent of dogs over the age of 3 have some kind of dental disease, so the chances that your dog could use some extra dental attention is very high. In addition to staving off expensive vet bills, brushing your dog's teeth can improve their smelly breath.

Bristly comes in three sizes as well as in a heavy-duty version made for dogs who are prone to ripping through anything they can get their jaws around. A Bristly stick costs $29 and is scheduled to start shipping in October. Get it here.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios