'Discovery': Researchers spot tigers in the wild for first time

'Discovery Presents': Researchers Spot Tigers in the Wild for First Time
'Discovery Presents': Researchers Spot Tigers in the Wild for First Time

Deep in the frozen forests of Russia lives one of the world's rarest animals...the Siberian tiger. Only a handful of scientists have set eyes on it in the wild.

An international team of scientists and filmmakers have joined forces to save one of the planet's most endangered big cats whose population numbers have plummeted in recent years. Team leader Dr. Victor Lukarevsky has been tracking a handful of tigers in a 180 square mile wildlife reserve for five years. Now, he finally has some specialized remote video gear at his disposal.

The team hopes that capturing the world's rarest tiger on videotape to better understand its behavior may be the best way to protect it from poachers and loss of habitat.

After setting the cameras, the team gathers around to review the footage. First, a moose. Then a deer, then another. "Ooh!" exclaimed Liz Bonnin, "Look at it. Oh, my God." Banzai, a 456-pound male Siberian tiger has moved into the picture. Then from another camera, Luke, another large male, made an appearance.

This is the payoff the team has been waiting for. This is the first time many of the Russian researchers have seen footage of wild Siberian tigers.