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Siberian vets fight to save rare tiger hit by car


VLADIVOSTOK, April 28 (RIA Novosti) - Vets are working to save the life of a Siberian tiger hit by a car in Russia's Far East, a regional conservationist group said on Tuesday.

The Amur tiger, one of only 500 left in the wild, was hit by a car on the Vladivostok-Khabarovsk highway on Monday evening, and admitted to a veterinary center for wild animals in Khabarovsk on Tuesday morning.

A spokesman for the Phoenix Fund told RIA Novosti: "If the caught tiger has a chance of survival, the Phoenix Fund is ready to provide the necessary financial support for the full rehabilitation of the animal."

He said the tiger had limped off after the accident, and was caught by staff at the local tiger inspection unit with a drag net. According to a preliminary examination, the tiger is about six years old, and does not show external signs of injury, but is weak and unresponsive.

The spokesman quoted Eduard Kruglov, director of the center where the tiger is being treated, as saying the animal may be suffering from a viral infection.

The incident is the second within a week involving a Siberian tiger.

Early last week, a female tiger was seriously wounded after she was hit by a car in the Primorye Territory. The tiger was subsequently put to sleep and the driver fined 500,000 rubles ($15,000).

Russia's Ministry of Natural Resources has requested that the Interior Ministry introduce speed limits on the road, which runs near a nature reserve in Primorye, where leopards and tigers are known to roam.

Siberian tigers, also known as Amur tigers, are the world's largest subspecies of tigers. They are on the World Conservation Union's critically endangered status list, and there are only about 500 of them left in the wild. Since 2006, poachers have killed around 10 in Russia's Far East.

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