There is a world somewhere between reality and fiction. Although ignored by many, it is very real and so are those living in it. This forum is about the natural world. Here, wild animals will be heard and respected. The forum offers a glimpse into an unknown world as well as a room with a view on the present and the future. Anyone able to speak on behalf of those living in the emerald forest and the deep blue sea is invited to join.
--- Peter Broekhuijsen ---

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Animal trainers

Netherlands peter Offline
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Animal trainers could be something of the past in a few years only. I propose to dedicate this thread to animal trainers. Anything goes, as long as it's based on facts.  
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Netherlands peter Offline
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R. Havemann

There isn't much about him, but this photograph is a nice one to start the thread. Big male lions:



*This image is copyright of its original author


 
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United States TheLioness Offline
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That tiger a male sumatran tiger? Very fluffy neck.
*This image is copyright of its original author


I believe he only uses females in his act other than the male lion.

 
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United States Pckts Offline
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( This post was last modified: 05-16-2014, 06:09 AM by Pckts )

Those are bengals and female. He uses males as well with his mixed acts. He actually doesn't use anything anymore because it has been banned.
He also has some massive females that are as large as his male lions. 
Did you read that link I showed? He states about how large some of his females and males are. 

I have a bunch of info for this topic. Ill post a lot next week.
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Netherlands peter Offline
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Here's the essentials of three adult male lions I measured in a Dutch rescue centre. We couldn't weigh them, but my guesstimate, based on the captive Amur tigers I had measured, weighed and carried some time earlier, would have been between 390-430 lbs. The director told me he had had two male lions ('Athos' and 'Zeus') before. They compared to the Amurs in every way. Also circus lions.

I noticed each and every time that circus animals are fitter, more muscular and more sociable than animals born and bred in zoo's. Big cats are now banned. In my opinion, the effect will be the opposite of what is intended. I mean, every trainer I interviewed had a very strong bond with his animals. They have to. If there's one thing I learned, it is that big cats, and predators in general, are way more observative and intelligent than we assume. They 'see' right through you, meaning they are able to get to the core of you in a split second. If you're a joker, you're likely to be tested and male lions in particular have a reputation in this respect. Before you enter the cage, you must have answered the question they will ask one day. There are, no doubt, trainers who have treated their animals in a less than respectful way. Some got away with it, but many didn't.

Wild animals, I agree, should be wild. The problem is less and less will get the chance to be a real lion or tiger. We also have to remember wild big cats are confronted with problems everywhere (habitat destruction, poaching and humans all over the place). I mean, what is wild today? There are way more captive tigers than wild tigers. We know they in particular suffer from boredom and connected. Why not offer them the chance to do something and interact with other animals and humans? If the audience is done with tricks, try something different. And have a team of specialists paid by the circus and the state check the conditions anywhere. One breech is a warning, two a heavy fine and three is out. This would prevent problems. But the main argument would be trainers and animals. For motivation and education, trainers are second to none. And circus big cats, based on what I saw, are way fitter and sociable than their zoo relatives.          



*This image is copyright of its original author


 
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United States Counter Offline
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( This post was last modified: 12-02-2015, 11:50 AM by sanjay )

(05-16-2014, 06:30 AM)peter Wrote: Here's the essentials of three adult male lions I measured in a Dutch rescue centre. We couldn't weigh them, but my guesstimate, based on the captive Amur tigers I had measured, weighed and carried some time earlier, would have been between 390-430 lbs. The director told me he had had two male lions ('Athos' and 'Zeus') before. They compared to the Amurs in every way. Also circus lions.

I noticed each and every time that circus animals are fitter, more muscular and more sociable than animals born and bred in zoo's. Big cats are now banned. In my opinion, the effect will be the opposite of what is intended. I mean, every trainer I interviewed had a very strong bond with his animals. They have to. If there's one thing I learned, it is that big cats, and predators in general, are way more observative and intelligent than we assume. They 'see' right through you, meaning they are able to get to the core of you in a split second. If you're a joker, you're likely to be tested and male lions in particular have a reputation in this respect. Before you enter the cage, you must have answered the question they will ask one day. There are, no doubt, trainers who have treated their animals in a less than respectful way. Some got away with it, but many didn't.

Wild animals, I agree, should be wild. The problem is less and less will get the chance to be a real lion or tiger. We also have to remember wild big cats are confronted with problems everywhere (habitat destruction, poaching and humans all over the place). I mean, what is wild today? There are way more captive tigers than wild tigers. We know they in particular suffer from boredom and connected. Why not offer them the chance to do something and interact with other animals and humans? If the audience is done with tricks, try something different. And have a team of specialists paid by the circus and the state check the conditions anywhere. One breech is a warning, two a heavy fine and three is out. This would prevent problems. But the main argument would be trainers and animals. For motivation and education, trainers are second to none. And circus big cats, based on what I saw, are way fitter and sociable than their zoo relatives.          



*This image is copyright of its original author


 


@peter that is interesting that you actually have the measurements to these lions.  I know you said that they compared to the Amur tigers, do you have the measurement data for any of the Amur's there?
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Netherlands peter Offline
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( This post was last modified: 12-02-2015, 02:55 PM by sanjay )

Welcome to the forum, @Counter. Any chance you're involved in captive big cats in some way?


Measurements of captive Amur tigers

As to you question. The captive male lions I measured were shorter than the male Amur tigers. Male lion 'Sascha' could have been similar in weight to 'Arames', but the other two most probably lacked a bit (we moved them when they were sedated and concluded the male Amurs were heavier). 

The director of the facility told me he had had two big male circus lions ('Athos' and 'Zeus') some time before the Amurs arrived. They were larger than the three lions I measured, but I have no details. The director said they compared to the three male Amur tigers.

Here's a table of the captive Amur tigers I measured and weighed:


*This image is copyright of its original author


Based on my experience, I'd say that 'Igor' and 'Amur' were a bit shorter than average. They were, however, muscular and bulky. Male tiger 'Arames', although longer, was quite lanky. 


The story on the Amur tigers

The facility had 7 adult Amur tigers. All of them had been part of a circus act. During a show somewhere in France in 1996, one of the adult males escaped. Although the audience panicked, nothing happened. The trainer went after him and both returned to the cage. When the trainer entered the cage, however, he stumbled. The tiger, nervous as a result of the commotion, acted instinctively and bit him once. The trainer died immediately and the tiger was shot. 

Some three months later, after many weeks of neglect, the 7 remaining Amur tigers were moved to the facility in the Netherlands. After they had recovered to an extent, the director decided to have the male tigers sterilized. Journalists were invited and videos later appeared on youtube. He asked me to measure and weigh the tigers. When I was measuring the tigers, 2 of them suddenly woke up. This is the reason they were not weighed. Tiger 'Arames', however, was. 

When we had the correct weight, the tiger woke up. Remember he was weighed out in the open. No cage, I mean. Those present started running for their life, but we managed to keep him quiet and moved him to his cage. A tricky affaire, but we managed to do it without problems. Arames was a very friendly animal.

One of the other two males, 'Igor', was anything but that. When fully awake, he told us loud and clear he wasn't happy about the proceedings. He demonstrated for over two hours and the atmosphere became so tense that all left the scene. They really thought he would tear the place apart and so did I. In spite of that, I stayed. Never saw something so angry for so long. 


A mock fight

Tiger 'Amur', his brother, was very different. A tiger with classic features, he was. He seemed to realize he was something special. After he had been sterilized, we carried him to his cage. The man who had transported many said he was the heaviest of the 60 odd big cats they had handled. After he was measured, he approached a nice Bengal tigress in the cage next to his. She didn't like it one bit and neither did her mate, a short, but bulky male lion (this was 'Macho'). 

He immediately went for the tiger with everything he had and all present ran away screaming. I saw what happened next at a distance of about a yard. The lion rose when he got to the bars, but the tiger had seen him coming and rose as well. On his hindlegs, he was taller, bigger and faster. He moved like an experienced fighter. When the lion hit the bars, the tiger had moved to the right and landed a heavy blow to the bars separating both cages. At that moment, he also moved in his left paw for an upper-cut. He never made a sound, but seemed to enjoy the action. There was, however, no more action, as the lion had seen enough. Standing on his hind legs against the bars, he rolled over in submission. He told his fiancee about back luck and very bad luck, but she no agree and furiously attacked the mighty Amur. This was much appreciated by the tiger, but he couldn't destroy the cage. 

Some weeks later, I noticed tiger 'Amur' and lion 'Macho' got along well. The tigress, however, still didn't like the Amur. A few years later, tiger 'Amur' and his brother 'Igor' were moved to a Chinese safari park. Both were weighed at Schiphol Airport. The scales used over there are very accurate, because freight is important and they don't want problems. The man who moved the tigers to the airport told me that one of the tigers was 211 kg. (466 pounds). I assume it was 'Amur', but I'm not sure.

As to the mock fight I witnessed from a few feet. I'd say there was no fight. The reason is 'Amur' had a significant advantage over 'Macho' (see the tables) and the problem was settled in less than 10 seconds. When the tiger would have faced a bigger lion, the outcome could have been different. What I remember most is the speed, the tremendous energy, the power and the noise. Although I was very impressed, the director told me the Sumatrans, regarding fights, dwarfed all other big cats. I agree Sumatran tigers, for energy invested and aggression, could be unmatched, but my guess is an average Amur tiger wouldn't be impressed. Size counts and the animals also know.     


Amur tigers and brown bears

When the Amur tigers had just arrived, the facility also had a very large male brown bear. The Amurs could not have known, because they had just arrived and his cage was some distance away. In spite of that, they knew he was there and the bear also knew. When I went to his cage, he was very nervous and urinating all the time. I moved away and positioned myself between both cages. The animals couldn't see each other, but I could have sworn I felt energy coming towards the cage of the bear. When I moved to the cages of the tigers, I saw that all 7 were standing on their hind legs. They couldn't see the bear (the wall they faced was about 8-9 feet in height), but nevertheless knew exactly where the cage of the bear was. My guess is they were interested in a debate.

Posters often talk about lions and tigers. I understand, as males in particular tend to discuss issues the hard way. I wouldn't say they was good neighbours, but domination is different from annihilation. Amur tigers and brown bears really seem to hate each other. I've seen Amur tigers interacting with all kinds of animals. Never saw them get angry. When they see a brown bear, however, things change. Male tigers in particular often respond in a very aggressive way. My guess is they would engage any bear (and the other way round). I saw it more than once and trainers confirmed the animosity is deep-rooted.   

This is why I don't buy the information on tigers and brown bears in Russia. Biologists concluded male brown bears are not on the menu. Could be true, but I'm sure they meet every now and then. Although I trust the biologists, Vaillant ('The tiger', pp. 139-141) could be right. He talked to those in the know and concluded a male tiger will avoid a big bear, but not others. Fights do not seem to be a result of a failed hunt, but of something else:

" ... Based on observations of hunters and biologists, it appears that Amur tigers will occasionally kill bears solely on something we might recognize as principle. Communal animals sometimes engage in wanton attacks, but it is hard to imagine any other solitary animal capable of a tiger's ambitious and intelligent savagery ... " ('The tiger', pp. 140).

My guess is male Amur tigers do not hunt adult male brown bears. They fight them at times. My guess is quite many fights will go all the way. In the sixties of the last century, Russian biologists apparently concluded male brown bears win most fights with male Amur tigers 'on points'. I tend to agree. If it would be the other way round, brown bears in southeast Russia would be in serious trouble.   


To finish the post

Here's a few photographs taken in the facility mentioned above. This is tiger 'Arames', the longest of the 3 males I measured. The director is on the right. The big man left, blind, wanted to touch the tigers and he did. To give you an idea about the size of the tiger. The blind man was well over 250 pounds:



*This image is copyright of its original author


This is the director instructing participants of a workshop. The tigers are Amurs. They seem a bit larger than they were, because of the wooden floor in the cage:


*This image is copyright of its original author
 

An adult male lion and 3 Amur tigers close together. I never heard of any problems: 


*This image is copyright of its original author
 

Hope you like the forum. Feel free to post and so long,

Peter.
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United States Pckts Offline
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Phenomenal post, Peter.
Thank you very much for the insight and detail.

One quick question, the bottom image with the tigers and lion side by side, is the crouching tiger a Tigress and the other two both males?

If so, are they related or have the males been sterilized?

Thanks again
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United States Siegfried Offline
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Looks like the only tiger that is on ground the same level as the lion is the crouching one.
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United States Pckts Offline
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Ya, the tigress is the crouching one but the other two look to be males. Their head size give it a way. I was just curious if they were siblings since two males and a female are together or if they were neutered to accomplish them living together in the same enclosure.
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( This post was last modified: 12-04-2015, 04:31 AM by Counter )

Peter thanks for that post, definitely informative.  Ive tried to study these cats anatomy for reference for art.  So Ive been in touch with anyone that is up close to both cats as to get the best info on their differences.  Interesting fight too that you posted.  From what Ive found, its very similar to what your saying, an actual veterinarian that has seen both cats up close, and Ive been to the sanctuary a number of times, he has remarked, the tigers are usually longer, and yes heavier.  But, and you maybe you'll agree, that is where most of that extra weight is going.  Many lions can be so short in length, their like half the size of a long Amur.  But for their size, this expert noted the lions had the stouter body, and thicker mass between the shoulders.  


Very short lion in length, named Tsavo, weight was 500lbs.  It looked strong in body though, very large paws I noticed, seemed to have long paws. 


*This image is copyright of its original author








I also have seen a large tiger fight a female, and yes their movements are very fast.  One of the main differences out of the top sanctuaries I noticed between dozens and dozens of lions and tigers, was the tigers forearms seem to almost always be thicker than the lions.  I very large Timbavati white lion almost full grown right now that I just saw, is so tall that its forearms are close to the biggest Siberians, but still seemingly more narrow.  But I have to say, the lions body does seem although shorter, is stronger stouter, more muscular in the stomach and back area, as well as even the neck and shoulders.  Many Siberians I saw in the summer, with thinner coats, were not really any thicker than the other tigers. Yet in the winter, these same mixed Siberian tigers appeared a lot thicker.  But I will say, the Amur's often had huge heads, and bigger paws than any lions Ive seen.  Fatter paws, perhaps better for trudging through the snow. 

As for a fight, in this very sanctuary I visited, a lion that had real traces of Barbary decent was very aggressive at feeding time, it lived with another male tiger, the intern keeper there told me, the lion would almost always win the scuffles, and they had to be extremely careful where to throw the food, as in hopes not to start a fight.  The intern mentioned, the lion would take the tigers food, and usually got what it wanted. It was dominant, in person seeing this same lion moved to another cage with 2 lioness's, I have film clips of the lion showing remarkable speed charging after the lioness's while eating.  

Here is that lion who beat the male tiger, Tanner, who is mixed Barbary decent, he was professionally tested.  What is particularly interesting about him, is the reddish hue in his mane and the darker body fur.


*This image is copyright of its original author



The fur although darker, is still not that thick in the winter, much thinner than the Amur tigers.  Still though, notice how stout and thick Tanner's back is when seen sitting from behind. 
The body fur is so thin, that you can actually see the skin wrinkling beneath it, similar to a wrinkle dog. 



*This image is copyright of its original author






While Ive been to many sanctuaries, not zoos, as sanctuaries have loads of lions and tigers.  To learn more, I decided to go to the largest Sanctuary in the U.S., Joe Exotics.  There I saw the same thing, many healthy tigers, tons of them, around 50 or so.  Not many lions though available for viewing, as I think they hide the ones that show aggression in the back, which is off limits to the public.  At any rate, I talked to Joe in person.  I first asked him about the differences in anatomy between tigers and lions, I mentioned the tigers seem kind of narrow and long in the body.  He remarked bluntly, " Yeah their skinny."  I said, do you think the lion is thicker or more muscular in the body, he replied, " The lions muscular structure is twice as strong as the tiger."  I then mentioned, but the forearms seem thicker on the tigers, he then said, " depends on the breed."  Then I mentioned, so in a fight, which do you think would win.  He was starting to walk away, obviously very busy and going a gazillion miles a minute, he turned to the side, coyly, and said, " The lion would win,"...then now walking away, he turned again and said looking right at me, " the lion always wins," then he winked and slipped away, as if he had been asked this many times and some how over all his years of work, had a definitive answer, that he new, something some people have trouble relating or at least are unlikely to want to say, as fights in captivity are not to be even spoken of because of the severe animal rights inflicted by radical places like Peta.  

Here is a thick short lion at Joe Exotics.  Very short body, similar to a square in over all shape. 



*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author



The lioness's Ive seen in all these sanctuaries while some are not that big, many are actually similar to the males, with necks and bodies that are much stronger than any of the tigress's Ive seen.
I interestingly have not seen one tigress with a build like this lioness below.  Many times as well, the male lions have this build, but the mane cuts off some of the largest thickest parts of the anatomy.  


*This image is copyright of its original author






At any rate, any info you guys have on any more fights, feel free to mention.  From the research Ive seen and compiled together on different sites, it seems harder than people think for a full grown tiger to kill a full grown healthy male lion.  Most of the accounts where people thought the tiger had killed a mature healthy male lion, is actually not the case, several were un fair fights, and some the conditions were as such that the age of the lion was young, or it was sick, old or with blunted teeth.  Any info you guys have on accounts of tigers killing adult healthy male lions, feel free to post.  Or maybe open up another thread. 




Darwin states that the mane dose work, and even sites naturalist saying a young lion will not fight an older full maned lion, he states the fights are vicious.  But with this new information, we now can assess, this lion Darwin is citing is most likely the same old lion from the Edmond's account.  Which again, is not a fair fight, it had bad teeth, and was very old. Yet its mane protection worked. 
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Argentina Tshokwane Offline
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One thing to note @Counter
We do not wish for a lion vs tiger debate in any shape here. The details are ok, the pics are great and it is great to know what trainers or the people that look after them think about the cats, like the anecdotes Peter always tells us.
‘Like night-watchmen they patrol the dark nights; marching with intent and chasing all those unwanted into the shadows…those that do not run are removed’
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United States brotherbear Offline
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( This post was last modified: 12-04-2015, 04:55 AM by brotherbear )

Heres the mail reply ... from a zookeeper...
"Steve, when working with the 2 Tigers there is little to test the human with its sideways thrusting of the front legs but they will instinctively grapple you with the jaws and try to turn you or bare their weight down.
A firm bite can be quite excruciating even with padding, and we need to call release if they get too enthusiastic. They are also sneaky and will take your down from behind without ever showing a mood for doing so.
Lions are completely different and flick out with their paws constantly roaring and moaning. They only use the jaws when you go down.
The Grizzly is all together a different proposition and will bare his weight down on you and flatten you down. He will grab you and toss you down.
He his easily stronger and we always concern ourselves with his mauling. Grabbed in, is like being in a furnace such is the stiffling hair and his body heat and he will annoyingly drop his weight to put you where he wants. There is no way to wrestle a Grizzly of this size, you just aim to make it look good for as long as possible.
In my opinion, a Lion or Tiger attacking from behind will result in a dead Grizzly but there is no way that the Cats can win if wrestling up front, especially the Lion with his hitting tactic.
As Regard Lion and Tiger we would say Tiger simply because our own animals are slightly the larger and stronger.
They tend to place both paws down on their adversary and bare their weight down similar to the Grizzly which may advantage them with a Lion.
Equally, our Lion can keep a Tiger away from grappling by hitting out. Our Tigers lose interest and wander off but we always concern ourselves with their trickery that they may attack the Lion without warning.
Lions tend to be wary of Grizzly bears for some unknown reason but will round on Tiger confrontation.
It maybe because they simply protect prides against other similar pack hunters like other Lions but do not recognize Grizzly or maybe they fear them.
Tigers may probe an attack at a Grizzly with their usual sneaky behavior and kill one but would lose a wrestling match rather easily.
We live in fear of generating anger in a Grizzly to the point at which a Bigcat normally behaves". Warm Regards Dan.

Originally posted by Scott Wolverine ~
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United States Pckts Offline
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( This post was last modified: 12-04-2015, 06:29 AM by Pckts )

You realize that we can post "real links" of lion vs tiger fights all day long, right?

Most of these accounts aren't "real history" they're stories of unnatural instances where both sides were exploited in unique situations that would never be faced in nature. We've already gone round and round about L v T for many years. For ever post you can do for a lion victory you can do an opposite for a tiger victory.
 
This isn't the point of this thread nor this forum,
It doesn't serve any purpose here.
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Netherlands peter Offline
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( This post was last modified: 12-05-2015, 01:03 AM by peter )

Counter

This post is a result of what was posted in the last days. My advice is to read it well.


1 - Forum rules

This forum has rules. All members have to respect them. If a rule is broken, there will be a warning. If the warning is ignored, posts will be deleted and you will be warned again. If you don't act accordingly, it's game over. Remember there's no leniency. Here's why.

The owners and mods of this forum don't want lion versus tiger 'debates'. The reason is these 'debates' resulted in wars in nearly all animal forums. Wars that resulted in a bad climate, crap and, in the end, destruction. Not happening over here.

After your second post in this thread, Majingilane reminded you of the rules. He's our lion mod. I will back him any time. If Majingilane advices, you take it serious. It's a fact you ignored his warning. As a result, your last two posts in this thread were deleted. Remember this is the second and last warning.  

As for your two deleted posts.


2 - Captive big cats

Most posters don't seem to realize that captivity has profound consequences. Those who top the food chain in particular are affected. The reason is big predators do not get the opportunity to learn and develop. In many respects, they remain infants all their life.    

A century ago, authorities already noticed that captive tigers, in zoos all over the world, were mere shadows of their wild relatives. Parodies. The most likely reason is no exercise and no development whatsoever. Another is those who breed them have very little knowledge. As there was nobody to stop them, they just crapped around. The consequences were profound.  

Tigers are more affected by captivity than lions. Here's why. Adult wild tigers are professional big game hunters. Learning how to hunt and how to overcome resistance of very powerful animals on your own takes a lot of time. It also is dangerous. Those who make mistakes not seldom perish. Those who learn how to hunt and reach adulthood than have to learn how to earn and defend a territory. When they succeed and keep it up for a few years, they will breed. This means that only the best breed. In captivity, the essence of tigers is lost. And it shows. In captive tigers, you still see the fundaments of what a tiger is supposed to be. It takes a long time to affect the bones and structure, but muscles are affected immediately. Same for mental development.

Lions, in contrast to tigers, are social big cats. In captivity, they also live in prides. Hunting skills, of course, are lost, but social skills are not. Males in particular interact in more or less the same way as their wild relatives. This mean they, in contrast to tigers, face competition. Nearly everything they do is affected by it. Males strive for dominance, they eat first and they often fight, just like their wild counterparts. As they don't need energy to hunt anymore, chances are the extra energy is invested in competition. Captive male lions, if anything, are even more aggressive than their wild counterparts. Will captivity affect their body? Of course it does, but not to the degree seen in tigers. As they don't need to hunt anymore and eat enough (not always true for wild male lions), there's no need for athletic bodies and endurance anymore. Compact and robust bodies would be much more appropiate for captive male lions and that's what we get. Although there's no reliable information, my guess is captive male lions are more robust and heavier than their wild relatives.

All in all, the conclusion is that captive tigers degenerate and keep on degenerating. After some generations, you will see a parody on a wild tiger. This is not the case for captive male lions for the reasons mentioned above. Does it show in captive animals? Yes. Although a bit shorter, captive male lions generally are more robust and heavier than male tigers at equal length. Although there are plenty of exceptions, I saw it time and again. My guess is this could be the general rule in captive lions and tigers all over the world.            


3 - Fights between lions and tigers

Discussions in forums about lions and tigers usually are about who would win in a fair fight. When you look closer, they are about fights between adult males of similar age and weight. The door to this department, as explained above, will not be opened in this forum. This post is the exception to the rule. And it will stay the exception.

I have read many books and never found anything about interactions between wild lions and wild tigers. This leaves fights between captive lions and tigers. The only ones who have reliable information are trainers. Although most trainers with experience keep to themselves regarding lions, tigers and fights, some talked. I noticed that those who wrote books usually have outspoken opinions. They, however, represent only a fraction of all. For this reason, I interviewed a number of those who didn't write books. Trainers, a director of a big cat facility and a director of training facility. What did I conclude?


a - Trainers and directors of training or big cat facilities

The director of the training facility and the director of a big cat facility saw many animals and interactions between big cats of different species, whereas the experience of trainers is limited to the animals they had. Did the difference show? Yes. Directors had a wider scope than trainers.

The trainers I interviewed roughly underline the stories I read in books, meaning they, more often than not, favour one of the two. The result is a bit of a mixed bag. Most trainers don't like a mixed act. It takes a lot of energy to prevent and solve problems and it's too stressful in the long run. If they continue with a mixed act, many do so without male lions. The reason is they usually are more aggressive than male tigers.

The director of the training facility told me lions tend to gang up on tigers. This has an effect, because lions have more experience and more organisation. At the level of groups, lions, therefore, often dominate tigers. Tigers, however, seem to be able to learn. This means they too are able to get to some kind of organisation. Who dominates who seems to depend on encounters between alpha animals. When the alpha male lion is big and experienced, he might dominate the tiger. This will affect the situation for some time to come. If the situation is reversed (most fights are close), tigers dominate. When lions dominate, the general situation will be quite stable. When tigers take over, it usually is not. There was a good evaluation about lions and tigers in Everland in the Carnivora Forum. Find it. 

At the level of individuals, the situation is a bit different. Male lions are more aggressive and often initiate a fight. Although it is a close call in most cases (most fights are between animals of similar age and weight), tigers seem to be a bit more able in this respect. Most fights are very short. Male lions often have the initiative, whereas male tigers seem to resort to damage control and wait for an opportunity. When a chance is offered and the tiger scores a few points, the lion usually retreats. Few fights go all the way, because trainers intervene. At times, however, fights can't be stopped and one of the two is severely wounded, maimed for life or killed. The outcome of a fight usually depends on size, character and chance. If a tiger really goes for a fight, it often is the result of a dislike or a fued. Both emotions are deep-rooted, which means that the problem will never be really solved. This will result in permanent tension. Lions, most often, fight for dominance. The outcome is unpredictable. Lions have more experience, but even degenerated captive tigers remain hunters with more 'feel' for a deciding move. One could say they create more chances and be close.       


b - My experience

In nearly every facility I visited where lions and tigers were neighbours, male lions challenged male tigers. Not the other way round. As soon as two males agreed to exchange their intentions at the bars, the other lions became interested. Not so in tigers. When males engaged in mock fights, lions compared to freight trains (going straight ahead at full throttle), whereas tigers reminded me of heavyweight boxers. Moving all the time, they seemed to read the intentions of their opponent. It was also clear that they were more athletic. I saw a large male tiger surprised by his neighbour jump out of (virtual) trouble. The rumours about large tigers jumping 6 feet or more into the air out of nowhere most definitely are not the result of stories. They also are lightning fast. Based on what I saw, I would get to slight advantage tiger. 

Male lions are not interested in athletics and scoring points. Their trade is infighting and their bodies evolved for just that. Same for the skull. Meaby more so than tigers, they are able to take damage (to the rump and skull in particular) while mauling their opponent. Not saying that tigers don't get involved in deadly fights with animals of different species (they do) or that they can't take damage, but a hunter at heart would want to avoid a crippling injury. Genes. In this department, I get to slight advantage lion. But both conclusions are mere opinions, of course.  


c - Conclusions

All in all, we have one able to take damage and specializing on mauling, whereas the other, more catlike perhaps, is a more athletic in order to get to the core of things as fast as possible (a killing bite). I don't think there's a lot to choose between them for strength and endurance (all stories on tigers and no endurance are crap), but one could say the one initiating the fight may have a slightly better defence (a more compact body), whereas the one defending is a bit faster and has a slightly more developed mode of attack. And then there is the mane and individuality. Very close, I think.

As to bears and big cats. I agree with the post of Brotherbear (this thread). When bears are about similar in weight as big cats, I favour the cats in a fair scrap. Up to 400-450 pounds or so, that is. When the bear is over that mark, the situation changes in his favour. A tiger in particular might be able to take him out when he has an advantage (like a surprise attack from behind), but when the bear is able to prevent that and forces the tiger to engage him head-on, I slightly favour the bear.  

One more remark to finish this paragraph. Everything discussed relates to captive lions and tigers. Wild lions and tigers (and Indian tigers in particular) are very different from their captive relatives for the reasons discussed in -2-. This means the conclusions do not extend to them.       


4 - Organized fights

Although there's no reliable information on the outcome, there's no question that fights between lions and tigers have been organized. The Romans could have been the first, but I'm not sure. According to Marco Polo, Chinese emperors also had trained 'lions' (tigers) they used for hunts. I do know that the habit continued until well into the 20th century (my father, who was a sailor, saw two fights in Tandjungpriok and Bombay). India no doubt was heavily involved (Maharajahs in particular had motive, means and opportunity), but it is known that fights were organized anywhere. My guess is there was a lot of betting. I also think it still happens today every now and then. 

Now for the point. Although kept under the radar for good reasons, fights between lions and tigers have been organized for a very long time. If you have any questions on lions, tigers and the outcome of fights, this should answer all: unpredictable.

Those spreading mantras about a consistent winner (yes, I was referring to you, Strike) are misinforming the public. This on a forum co-owned by someone who really invested a lot of time in finding a few answers. Someone who (in person and in writing) was informed about very real tragedies by those who saw it happen right in front of their eyes. You could have sensed that I know more than I show, but decided for misinformation anyhow. Disappointing.

You are encouraged to open up. Outspoken opinions do not agree with reality and also prevent a debate and an exchange of information. A pity, as a debate often is the best tool to get to knowledge.                


5 - To conclude

This thread is about captive animals and trainers and it will remain a thread about captive animals and trainers. Trainers are on their way out. Knowledge will be lost. Anyone able to post good info is invited to do so.

I don't mind reading a bit on brawls between captive animals when trainers are discussed, but the focus should be on something else. If someone posts in order to get to tiger versus lion debates, he or she will be warned and the post will be deleted. A repeat is game over. This doesn't mean that a trainer like Beatty is out. All trainers have knowledge and we are interested in all. How to debate Beatty and avoid a debate on lion versus tiger? Up to you. I propose to give it a try. Jinen returned and succeeded and so can you (your second post was informing).

Although it may seem different, we really want lion, tiger and bear posters. Good posters, posting good information. Anything goes, but rules always comes first. Remember that Majingilane is the lion mod. He represents all mods and both owners. If he talks, you listen.
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