Search off for tigress Troya, a lost "participant" in scientific experiment in Far Eastern taiga

Ecologists have called off an almost three-month search for the tigress Troya in the Far Eastern taiga. She was released by scientists into the taiga from a centre for the rehabilitation of wild animals, called Utyos, with a radio collar, and soon its tracks were lost by Russian and American wild life scientists.

It is the first time in the world that scientists have staged such a unique scientific experiment: they have released, after medical treatment, two young tigresses - Troya and Pakhomovna. Preliminarily they were provided round their necks with radio-equipped collars complete with transmitters to track their movements via satellite. But Troya's radio transmitter suddenly ceased to send signals.

"Specialists and foresters have combed through the area from where the last signal came, flew helicopter missions and interviewed locals," said Vladimir Boltrushko, deputy head of the Natural Resources Department of the Far Eastern Federal District. "If the tigress died from a disease or got rid of the radio collar, the signals would all the same be reaching the satellite. Our conclusion, therefore, is that Troya fell victim to hardened poachers who, to cover up their tracks, also destroyed the collar".

The other tigress is regularly "reporting back" via the satellite. She has gone into a remote and little-inhabited part of the taiga, and foresters occasionally come across her hiding places and remnants of her meals.

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