PRIMORSKY KRAI, RUSSIA — We all know tigers and humans don't get on very well — just look at The Jungle Book. But one tiger in Siberia defied its instincts, emerging from the wild to seek help for an injury.
The Siberian Times reports that the endangered male Amur tiger, who goes by Tikhon, showed up at a remote border post between Russia and China on December 29.
Russian border guards tried to scare him away by firing warning shots, but the big cat stayed put. He was still in the area five days later.
When Tikhon helped himself to two guard dogs, the men noticed that the tiger seemed wounded. He was limping and crouching on his hind legs.
Siberian tigers usually shun human contact, leading wildlife rangers to believe the atypical behavior meant this one had purposefully come for help.
National park rangers decided to take the tiger in. They shot Tikhon with a sedative and used a truck to move him to a rehabilitation center for big cats.
Tikhon is 15 years old, and an old man by tiger standards. He played a key role in helping the survival of his species, but may not be able to return to the wild again due to his old age.
Experts are now waiting for test results so they can assess the big cat's injuries and diseases, and figure out what to do next.