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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( This post was last modified: 04-26-2020, 05:39 AM by peter )

(12-02-2015, 10:44 PM)Pckts Wrote: 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  

Some years ago, the director of the facility I often visited called me to tell me he had new Amurs. Not quite adult, but big. He also had a new male lion. The biggest he had seen, he said. I went over to see them. The Amurs and the new lion were not full-grown. All new males ranged between 400-440 pounds. About as much as most adults, but not yet quite as strong.  

The Amurs I measured were prime animals. Although not larger than the new Amurs, they were a bit bigger. You can feel the difference between young and old when you touch them. Mature tigers seem to be made of steel, whereas young adults are more flexible. Same in lions. 
     
The tigers in the photograph are the new Amurs. The lion is an old boy with a big mane. When I was there, I didn't see any animosity between them. I don't know if the new arrivals and the young male lion had been sterilized, but over here most are. 

The biggest lion I saw was the male in the Berlin Zoo. Very muscular and close to 550 empty. Apart from one exception (South Africa), i don't think I ever saw a male who compared. 

The biggest captive tigers are always Amurs. Those owned by the Argentinian trainer were the most formidable, but they had been mixed with Sumatrans (...). In robustness, chest included, they compared to the Berlin lion. The difference was they were longer and taller. All males had huge and very heavy skulls. Captive Amurs and captive lions compare in that they, most probably, are a bit bigger than their wild relatives. In all other tiger subspecies, it's the other way round.  

I noticed time and again that circus cats are more developed and healthier than zoo animals. Not larger or bulkier, but stronger and more developed in just about every department. Captive big cats need to be active, that is. They also benefit from interaction.
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United States Pckts Offline
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( This post was last modified: 12-05-2015, 12:50 AM by Pckts )

Thanks @peter, I was curious because I wondered if they were able to stay with that family dynamic as they got older. Just wondering if it would turn into a similar situation compared to coalition male lions where the dominate one would earn his place via fighting then proceed to get the females or would it be different like may be they would alternate mating rights?

I would think that once the female is in estrus all bets are off.

Also, have you or any body you know ever seen a true Bengal Tiger in person (pure bred) I know they are very rare in captivity and india up until recent times didn't keep the specimens they did have in very good shape but still I'd like to see how they compare to their Amur and Lion counter parts.
Thanks again
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Netherlands peter Offline
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(12-05-2015, 12:33 AM)Pckts Wrote: Thanks @peter, I was curious because I wondered if they were able to stay with that family dynamic as they got older. Just wondering if it would turn into a similar situation compared to coalition male lions where the dominate one would earn his place via fighting then proceed to get the females or would it be different like may be they would alternate mating rights?

I would think that once the female is in estrus all bets are off.

Also, have you or any body you know ever seen a true Bengal Tiger in person (pure bred) I know they are very rare in captivity and india up until recent times didn't keep the specimens they did have in very good shape but still I'd like to see how they compare to their Amur and Lion counter parts.
Thanks again

The Argentinian trainer also had Indian tigers. They were bred on the ranch of his family. We talked for two days. He was a thoughtful man of few words. I took him very seriously. The Indian tigers he had were almost the size of his Sumatran Amurs, but not as robust. He estimated the Sumatran Amurs, still in their prime when I saw them, at 550 or a little over (I think they were heavier) and the Indians, ranging between 12-14 years, at 400-420. Quite a difference. They didn't like each other one bit and there had been a few bouts. He said the Indians had more endurance, but his Amurs were more formidable and they knew. The Indians, in spite of that, were often selected by the females he had. I noticed lionesses also prefer older lions.

The Amurs in the facility mentioned in my previous post, as a result of their age, were always together. They got along just fine, but things no doubt later changed. Adult tigers usually prefer to be alone. I don't know what happened to them, but I do know nearly all big cats they had were moved to zoos and safari parks sooner or later. The destination, more often than not, was China.
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United States Pckts Offline
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Wow, I can't believe the Sumatran Amurs were so large.
It seems that Amurs really are the Larger sub species in Captivity, I wonder why this doesn't translate to their wild counterparts. I also wonder why lions, amurs and sumatrans seem to thrive just fine in captivity while bengals seem not to. By "thrive" I simply mean, weigh their normally seen weights or even exceeding their wild counterparts.
I think it comes down to more of the fact that the latter have been used for captive specimens for much longer, their  accessibility to these Zoos, sanctuaries and parks have allowed them to evolve to that life style compared to the Bengal who has very limited captive numbers and most have been kept in one part of the world only.
Either way, very interesting.
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( This post was last modified: 12-05-2015, 01:39 AM by GrizzlyClaws )

(12-05-2015, 01:08 AM)Pckts Wrote: Wow, I can't believe the Sumatran Amurs were so large.
It seems that Amurs really are the Larger sub species in Captivity, I wonder why this doesn't translate to their wild counterparts. I also wonder why lions, amurs and sumatrans seem to thrive just fine in captivity while bengals seem not to. By "thrive" I simply mean, weigh their normally seen weights or even exceeding their wild counterparts.
I think it comes down to more of the fact that the latter have been used for captive specimens for much longer, their  accessibility to these Zoos, sanctuaries and parks have allowed them to evolve to that life style compared to the Bengal who has very limited captive numbers and most have been kept in one part of the world only.
Either way, very interesting.

The Amur tiger was gargantuan back in 10000 BC, but now they are losing their prey base, so they have to live with smaller size.

The Bengal tiger on the other hand is getting larger than before because no more competition from its major competitor; the Asiatic lion.

Maybe the Bengal tiger can also become supersized after a couple of thousand years if the population and environment remain stable.
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United States Pckts Offline
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( This post was last modified: 12-05-2015, 02:09 AM by Pckts )

I'm not sure I buy into the idea that Bengals are larger today than they were in the past. In fact, I think the opposite. With or without competition, the bengals of yesterday would of had access to massive unmolested amounts of land, huge quantities of prey to feast upon, no pressure from man, etc.
In fact, I think all sub species of cat that is adapted to live off of larger herbivores will see a down size from here on out. We must do everything in our power just to save their dwindling habitat that is  a shell of what it once was, we may see a growth in the sub species in certain areas but that remains to be seen.
Interesting to discuss it though.
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( This post was last modified: 12-05-2015, 02:29 AM by GrizzlyClaws )

The today's Bengal tiger may be genetically more inbred than the yesterday's. However, the size can keep growing when the available food is abundant with no competition, just look at the inbreeding Crater lions.

The Amur tiger was also once mainly a bovid eater from 10000 BC to 1000 BC, but the switch of the diet has also affected their body size.

The current Amur tiger has evolved to become more gracilized to catch the smaller games like the deer and boar, no more high protein bovid meat for them since 3000 years ago.
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United States Pckts Offline
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Agreed, the inbreeding will only get worse as we close off corridors as well.  But remember, with the Crater Lions for example, they live in a place that is the only one of its kind. Its dynamic is that which is not seen through out the world, much like Kaziranga or Corbett or Okovanga. These places I believe are the exception, I believe most of the habitat, especially for Tigers is being decimated. The protected areas mentioned above allow these big cats to thrive on top of the unique wild life they have year round or the marsh wet lands they trek through or dense, rocky forest etc.
While its nice to go off of eye witness accounts, we still don't have measurements of these places to use as comparisons nor do we know if these places had larger cats in the past as to now, so its still tough to say any cat is actually getting "larger"
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( This post was last modified: 12-05-2015, 02:39 AM by GrizzlyClaws )

The human population is more sparsely populated in the Amur domain.

However, the Amur tigers will still be struggling to become big, because no more big games left for them.

Amur has completely lost their prey base by the natural factors, while Bengal still got a decent prey base until now. And if the human's detriment factors can be diminished, then Bengal could have a good chance to keep their current prey base.
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United States Pckts Offline
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I agree,
Unfortunately its not the Human population in Amurs domain that is the problem, its the loggers population. While their habitat is most uninhabitable for significant human population its what the forests produces and the companies who reap the financial gain from it, that are responsible for the dramatic decline, on top of the immense poaching pressure.
I think we're getting a bit off topic but I always enjoy this topic to discuss.
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( This post was last modified: 04-26-2020, 05:46 AM by peter )

LIONS, TIGERS, FIGHTS AND TRAINERS - I


a - Introduction

Some days ago, a new poster allegedly interested in " ... anatomical differences between lions and tigers ... ", but waiting for a chance to start a debate on fights), apparently felt insulted by a post in which I wrote I had seen a mock fight between a captive male lion and a captive male Amur tiger in a big cat facility. As a result of the difference in size, it was over before it started. I didn't add it to state I favour a tiger in a fight with a lion. It was done to inform you about the tremendous energy I saw. I mean, how many of us will have the chance to witness something like that from three feet? 

Although I wrote the outcome could have been different when the male lion would have been larger, he decided to start posting about lion victories. One account after the other was posted and all were backed by newspaper articles. As it was a repetition of the old versus debates on other forums, it resulted in animosity. Majingilane immediately told him. He was ignored. This was the reason I stepped in. Most unfortunately, the new poster just continued. In the end, he was banned.

End of story? Not quite.

I decided for one more post on lions, tigers, fights and trainers. The intention is to tell you a bit more about the trainers I interviewed. They will be compared to a very well-known American trainer who wrote a few books about his experiences. This trainer, as a result of his fame, is held in high regard by some, although others have a very different opinion. Although I know some of you will feel insulted by this post, I feel a comment on Beatty is needed.

Before I start on him and those he inspired (trainers included), I want to underline two things. One is this post is not intended to inform you on the superiority of one of the two in a one-on-one. Two is I want you to know that I respect Beatty. He was a very experienced trainer who had something to offer, no matter what you think of him. The reason I feel strongly about him will be explained in this post.


b - A photograph to remember

This post will appear in parts. The reason is I yesterday lost a long post as a result of problems with the internet. Don't respond to what you see until I finished, I mean. It will be a long post. Sorry about that.

The introduction is concluded with a photograph I found today. What you see is a police officer lying on the street next to his horse. The horse was hit by a truck and badly wounded (the driver apparently was not to blame). My guess is the police-officer most probably knew her time was up. He never left her until she was euthanized by a vet.

The photograph moved many. The main reason is the officer really cared. They were connected for sure. 

Same for trainers and big cats. Those I interviewed cared about their animals. If you, when reading the post, feel the urge to respond to something you may not like, my advice is to go back to the picture. Have a good look. When you work with animals, the bond often is strong. Animals trust you, meaning you are responsable. If you lose an animal, you will get hurt. If you conclude it could have been prevented, you will act.

This (to act when you lose an animal) is the thing to remember. If you don't and lose another, it means you are not fit to work with animals. If you lose 3, you are accountable for the consequences. If you lose 10 in 10 seperate incidents, I can only get to criminal intent. Not animal abuse.            
  


*This image is copyright of its original author
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Netherlands peter Offline
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( This post was last modified: 04-26-2020, 05:53 AM by peter )

LIONS, TIGERS, FIGHTS AND TRAINERS - II

c - The essence of lions and tigers

c1 - Lions

Lions are the only social big cats. In Africa, they live in groups or 'prides', consisting of related females, 1-4 (up to 7) adult males and cubs. Most prides live on more or less open plains. Every pride has a territory that is defended. The size of it depends on the size of the pride. The larger the pride, the larger the territory. Competition for territory, depending on the productivity of an estate, can be intense.

Young males leave the pride when they are about 2-3 years old. As they do not stand a chance on their own, they often team up with other young males. Although these bachelor groups sometimes include an old male, most consist of immature animals without a territory. As long as these groups lack a territory, bachelors hunt for themselves. When the members reach adulthood, the bachelor coalition invades a territory. The outcome of the struggle with the owners, more often than not, is determined by combined weight. When they win the battle, the new rulers often kill the cubs of the old rulers.

Pride males seldom rule for more than 4-5 years. In regions with a lot of pressure, it's less. In the period they rule, hunting does not come first. Most energy is invested in defence and protecting the cubs they sired. In prides, conflicts between males over food and females are common. Apart from that, they face periods of starvation on a regular basis. As a result of the pressure, males quickly lose condition (and weight) after 7-8. Only few wild male lions die of old age. 

The way of life of lions has significant consequences. Males unable to compete won't breed and often perish before their time. Those who made it to adulthood and a pride usually are more aggressive than those who didn't. They also often have more ability in conflicts. Last but not least, they learned how to count. The reason is most battles are decided at the level of coalitions.      

These treats are deep-rooted in all male lions, wild and captive. As captive male lions also live in prides and do not need to hunt, most energy is invested in competition. This is the reason that working with male lions is energy absorbing and dangerous.  

c2 - Tigers

Adult tigers are solitary big cats. Although males contribute to the upbringing of the cubs at times (a century and a half ago, Col. Fraser, hunting in the Hyderabad Dominions, was convinced adult males took care of cubs who had lost their mother), the tigress is on her own in most cases. About half of all cubs perish before they disperse. In Russia, males disperse when they reach 18-22 months. In India, where many tigers live in protected reserves with intense competition for space, young males disperse when they are a bit older. Before they disperse, males learned how to hunt.

Like immature male lions, immature male tigers face many dangers. When they reach 3-4 years of age, male tigers are able to challenge older animals with a territory. Like in lions, size is decisive in fights. In lions, size is expressed in the combined weight of the coalition. In tigers, it is expressed in the weight of individuals.   

Male tigers can't rely on others and know there are no opportunities outside of the reserves. This means a fight can have serious consequences. More often than male lions, male tigers perish in fights for territory.

When they established themselves, male tigers continue to grow in size. Quite many reach 10-15. Although they too invest a lot of time in defence, male tigers differ from male lions in that they have to hunt for themselves for as long as they live. As they provide for cubs they sired when their mother perished, they have more knowledge about their territory than many assume. Male tigers, like male lions, usually share their territory with more than one female (up to 6 in Nepal).

For young male tigers, boldness and aggression often are the quickest way to a premature end. Patience and caution pay. The extra time earned in this way will result in more size and experience. In most parts of India, a 400-pound 3-4 year old male would face a heavier and more experienced contender. A 450-pound 4-5 year old male, however, should stand a decent chance. If the opponent is too big, he can always move to a place with better prospects.  

c3 - Conclusions

Young males lions forced to leave their pride often team up with others young males. These bachelor coalitions usually stay together until a territory has been conquered. It doesn't stop there. Pride males continue competing for females and food with other members of the brotherhood. One could say male lions never stop competing for hot spots, females and food. This way of life resulted in a now-or-never and over-my-dead-body attitude. These treats are so deeply engrained, that they are also typical for nearly all captive male lions. If anything, they are even more competitive than their wild relatives.         

Most Indian tigers are born in protected reserves. These compare to islands in an ocean of humans. As a general rule, they have even less room than lions. When male tigers leave their mother, they face a long road to adulthood. As this road is paved with large territorial males, dangerous prey animals and humans, they need a long time to learn the trade. For a young male tiger, development is crucial. As boldness can result in a premature end, most male tigers are cautious and elusive animals. When the time to move has arrived, they need to be as fit as possible. Male tigers don't conquer territories by teaming up. They have to do it on their own. As size counts in a one-on-one, male tigers, even in captivity, are obsessed with it. When they conquer a territory, they, like male lions, need to invest heavily in defence. The difference between male lions and male tigers is male tigers continue to hunt on a regular basis. Male tigers face a permanent struggle between getting bulky enough to win fights and staying lean enough to hunt.
    
If I would be forced to go for one major difference between male lions and male tigers, it would be time. Tigers need time to develop. This is engrained in all tigers. Male lions, on the other hand, are always pressed for time. Furthermore, they developed in a coalition. These differences resulted in a very different make-up. Male tigers often are elusive and cautious animals, whereas male lions need to be bold and aggressive.
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Switzerland Spalea Offline
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@ Peter: Great your explanations about the differences of behavior between male lions and male tigers ! That is the first time where I can read it with so much clarity.

Thus, if these differences remain in captivity, we can understand why the male lion is more aggressive  than the male tiger, and why the male lion can be often detected, perceived, as being more "extrovert". In a other thread about the Mapogo pride, you demonstrated that it could be very dangerous for a male lion to stay a long time alone within his territory. Because a pride of lions realize that could be able to eliminate him very quickly. In other words, the lions being social animals, it would be suicidal for a male lion to live like a male tiger, i.e. solitary. Except perhaps if he learns to be very cautious, elusive (like the man eaters in Tanzania). I don't know...

The male lion is the big cat who life in wild is the shortest one. Thus, as concerns the duration of their life in "top form" is very short (2-3 years). A male tiger learning to have an elusive and cautious behavior during his whole life can live (in wild) more time. Recently some photos of the big male tiger Wagdoh were showed inside a thread about the big tigers. He still seems very vigorous, robust. How old is he ? I don't believe that a male lion in wild can be as old as him, especially with his vigour (vigor).
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Switzerland Spalea Offline
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#29: "Because a pride of lions realizING that could be able to eliminate him very quickly"

and of course not "Because a pride of lions realize that "...

Sorry !
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( This post was last modified: 04-26-2020, 06:13 AM by peter )

LIONS, TIGERS, FIGHTS AND TRAINERS - III

d - Trainers

Most trainers got involved in animals when they were quite young. Some were related to trainers, but most, as far as I know, were not. Some of these 'outsiders' started as visitors in zoos, whereas others became interested after visiting a show. After watching the animals they had selected for years and reading all books they were able to find, some of them concluded they still had the motivation needed.  

Most animals trainers didn't go the college and then they did in that they worked for years to get to the knowledge needed. When they thought the time for action had arrived, they approached established trainers. Not seldom, they met with rejection. The most motivated tried again later and some were hired. They started as cage hands, slowly working their way up. Not a few worked with dogs and horses before they got a chance to work with big cats.

After many years of hard work, some got the chance to work with big cats. Some were noticed and had a great career, whereas others were hardly noticed. Some wrote about their experiences, but the great majority did not. Many trainers tend to keep to themselves. There are many reasons, but public opinion could be one of the most important. In the last decades, it slowly but surely turned against the circus. Many regarded the circus in general and animal trainers in particular as obsolete monuments of the past. 

Pressure groups became ever more active. Journalists and politicians were approached. Those unwilling to cooperate were intimidated. In the end, to keep a long story short, it had an effect. In quite many countries in the west, laws were passed. Over here, a circus is not allowed to have 'exotic' animals anymore. As a result, one circus went bankrupt. Those who suffered in particular were the 'exotic' animals (many were euthanized) and the ones who worked with them.   

e - Books and interviews

Some trainers, as said before, wrote books. The best one I read was 'Die hohe Schule der Raubtierdressur' (Hans-Jürgen and Rosemarie Tiede, Germany, 1997, 448 pages). Although only 59 trainers (...) feature in the book, about 4000 (...) trainers were interviewed. To say that the book has a wealth of information would be an understatement. Many of the famous trainers discussed by posters feature in the book. Hans-Jürgen Tiede, by the way, was an assistent-trainer himself in both Germany and the US (bears, lions and tigers).  

The other books I read (including Beatty's 'Facing the big cats') were interesting as well, but I consider them as 'case-studies'. I posted some of the anecdotes some years ago (at AVA), but do not consider them as typical. When you want to know about 'typical', you have to read as many books as you can. There is, of course, another way to get to information.
     
Many moons ago, when playing somewhere, I met someone who knew I was interested in big cats. He had invested heavily in a large circus, knew much more than I did and adviced me to contact a few trainers. I did, as he had the keys to open the doors. In the years that followed, I interviewed a number of well-known trainers and one director of a training facility for big cats. He was the one really doing the training and had handled hundreds of bears and big cats. If there was one who knew about interactions between captive big cats and bears, it was Klant Hagenbeck.

Later, I visited a big cat facility. I got along well with the director and often visited his expensive paradise. He was the one who offered me the opportunity to measure and weigh a number of big cats. We often talked for days. I also interviewed him, as he had seen much more than others. One day, he contacted a well-known trainer to develop an activity-project for the big cats. He also was interested in an interview. Some time before we got together, however, he was killed by a tigress in a circus somewhere in Italy.   
Apart from that, I interviewed trainers hired by a circus that visited my hometown most summers. All trainers I interviewed had had mixed acts, but only a few had seen serious fights. The reason is they had a lot of experience with male lions. In order to prevent problems, they had decided to take measures. The result was zero fights. 

Fightwise, the one with most experience was from the UK. I met him quite by accident when I visited a circus intending to interview the trainer. She wasn't interested, but someone else was. I asked him to explain the situation, as I didn't understand what was going on. He said she was a performer (a good-looking woman, she was), whereas he was the assistent. He was hired to prevent problems, because she was working with male lions. And his trade was lions. His name was Tony Hughes. 

f - Tony Hughes

The interview with Tony Hughes lasted for two days. When we met, he was in his forties. Thick-set, powerful and fit, Tony was. He needed to be, as male lions want a tough guy at the top. Friendship, experience and ability are not enough when you work with male lions. You need something else and Tony had plenty of it. He had a lot of experience with male lions, as he was educated by Marcel Peters (a well-known lion trainer). 

He had quite a reputation as he had assisted many trainers over the years. One of them in particular, Graham Thomas Chipperfield, had a lot of respect for Tony, as he saved his life. 

When he was attacked by a male lion and dragged through the arena like a doll, Tony stepped in with a whip and a steel pole in his hands. The lion wasn't impressed and neither were the others, who had come over to investigate the prey of male lion 'Sheeba'. Tony used the fork to push the male to the edge and Graham Chipperfield, by then unconscious, was released. When he realized his prey had been taken, the lion came for Tony. Standing over Graham Chipperfield, Tony refused to retreat and kept him at bay. Graham, to keep the story short, was saved and there's no question that it was Tony's courage that made the difference for Graham ('Die hohe Schule der Raubtierdressur', pp. 59-60).

Tony could have had his own act, but he was in high demand as an assistent and was fully booked when we met. 

g - Fights 

I asked Tony about his experience with fights. He told me he had seen many. As I did not want to have an effect on the answers, I gave him a questionnaire I had prepared. We agreed to meet the next day. When I returned, I didn't read the answers. We continued where we had left and talked all day. Before moving to the scans, I will summarize the most important answers first. All answers, to be sure, were roughly confirmed by other trainers who had witnessed serious fights. They were also confirmed by the two directors I mentioned:
 
g1 - What will happen in an arena when 5 male tigers and 5 male lions of similar size meet?

Male lions will team up and attack the tigers one by one. Sometimes, two male tigers will be attacked separately by 2-3 male lions. As the other tigers will not interfere (they do not cooperate, because tigers are solitary animals), each tiger attacked faces multiple opponents. Only the most able and most powerful will survive the unslaught, but not without injuries. When the fight is not stopped, the lions will continue until all tigers have been routed, wounded or killed.

g2 - And what about 5 lions and 5 bears of similar size?

See the previous answer.

g3 - What will happen in a one-on-one between animals of similar age and weight?

Depends. There's no consistent winner.

g4 - Is aggression and skill in a fight a result of species or individuality?

Individuality all the way.

g5 - What about Beatty's experiences?

Beatty created conditions that favoured male lions.

g6 - Was he wrong all the way?

Beatty had to be preferenced for reasons of his own.                      
 
I could continue on Beatty for some time, but Tony, raised with lions, had a strong opinion on him. Beatty had been attacked by a tiger and was saved by a lion. He also told me that some of Beatty's male lions had been killed by male tigers. I will continue on Beatty after the scans.

h - Scans of the questionnaire

The handwriting is Tony's. The fat parts were added during the interview by a friend:


*This image is copyright of its original author

On the page above, Tony clearly states there's no such thing as species-related ability in a fight. Skill is related to individuality. As he continued on individual skills and species-related treats for some time, a remark was added to underline that species really had nothing to do with it.

The page below has another question on species and individuality. Same answer as above. Fights were decided by many factors. Different species fight in different ways. If you look more closely, bears could have topped Tony's list for skill and toughness.  
  
*This image is copyright of its original author


The page below has minimum, average and maximum weights of captive lions and tigers. Tony thought that there was not much to choose between an average male Indian tiger, an average male Amur tiger and an average male African lion.

Large tigers, however, exceed large lions by at least 100 pounds. The largest tigers Tony saw (he estimated some of them at 800 pounds) were pure Indian tigers in an American facility. He was sure they were pure. These tigers were not mixed with other subspecies and were not used for shows, movies, exhibitions and zoos:


*This image is copyright of its original author


i - Hagenbeck

Another reliable source on interactions and size is Carl Hagenbeck. This is a scan of his book 'About animals and man'. I have no idea when the book was published, as it is a Dutch translation. Anyway. On this page (in Dutch, not German), he writes about a fight between a large male Bengal tiger and a male lion of similar size. Standing on their hindlegs and exchanging blows, the fight was stopped by a keeper.

Read again. A serious fight between two adult males stopped by one keeper. Remember it.  



*This image is copyright of its original author
 

This is the last scan of this post. Same book, page 167. Hagenbeck wrote that his father bought the first wild animals in 1858. The Bengal tiger, the leopard and the dog shared the cage and got along just fine. At the bottom of the page, Hagenbeck wrote that the largest and heaviest tiger he ever saw was bought in 1891. This animal was so wild and aggressive he could not be approached. It took him about four months to settle down and accept Hagenbeck, who later sold him to the Dresden Zoo.

I was thinking about the remark of Tony Hughes on the Bengal tigers he saw. Their size was exceptional. I take Tony Hughes very serious. Hagenbeck confirmed that some wild male Indian tigers reached a great size a century ago. Maybe the stories about very large tigers shipped to Europe or the US a long time ago were not overdone and maybe they, just like the Amurs, decreased in size over time.

But what will happen when you import a large wild female and keep these tigers seperated from others? I'm sure that inbreeding can be prevented when you add new females every now and then. Everything is for sale: 

  

*This image is copyright of its original author


To be continued (Beatty will feature in that post).
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