Svetlaya and Borya: A Tiger Love Story

By Claire Kaufman, Environmental and Sustainability Program Manager

The past 100 years have not been easy for tigers. Poaching for tiger fur and body parts, human population growth, and sea level rise has decimated tiger populations across Asia, reducing their numbers from approximately 100,000 at the turn of the 20th century to under 4,000 today. Isolated and alone, the largest cat in the world scattered across just 7% of their former range (WWF).

In the midst of all this, two tigers are bringing us hope. Hope which comes in the form of love:

Over four years ago, after being orphaned as infants, a rescue of two rare Amur tigers from the wild took place. These tigers, Svetlaya and Borya, became close friends at the rehabilitation center, growing up side by side. In 2014, these childhood friends re-entered the wild – but into two separate provinces. Heartbroken, Borya set out to find his Svetlaya. After searching far and wide, he finally found her in December 2015. After that, the two tigers were inseparable. Deep in love, the tigers would not venture too far from each other, and there were rumors they had children. In April 2017, those rumors were proven true—caught on camera were Svetlaya and the legs and shadow of at least one cub. Even though the young cubs hid behind their mother, specialists managed to see little paws! And so, the love story continues.

Photo by PROO Tiger Center

Photo by PROO Tiger Center. Note the paws behind Svetlaya.


Project Peril, a Signature Program of GreaterGood.org, is working with the best wildlife organizations to ensure tigers like Svetlaya, Borya, and their newborn cubs are safe from poachers, habitat loss, and human conflict. Because of YOUR support, GreaterGood.org’s Project Peril program can support organizations like Phoenix Fund Russia, who work tirelessly to protect these majestic creatures.

You can help tigers like Svetlaya, Borya, and their newborn cubs receive the protections they deserve! Click here to donate.



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