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ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - A - THE TIGER (Panthera tigris)

Netherlands peter Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-07-2016, 04:10 AM by peter )

GOVERNMENT, RESEARCH AND WILDLIFE

In the thread 'Big Cats News 2', poster 'Tigerluver' recently contributed to a debate on the meaning of research for wildlife (in general and tigers in Indian reserves in particular). His conclusion was wildlife only has a chance when government is interested. Research in itself, without the support of government, seems to have little impact.

In the last decade, some countries have changed their attitude towards wildlife. India and Russia in particular show a lot more interest than they did in the past. There are different reasons for the shift seen. Tigerluver thought cultural and political pride in particular could be important. It is a fact both India and Russia are blessed with natural beauty. The wildlife they still have can be seen as an assett. India seems to be proud of its tigers, but Russia isn't far behind. Putin in particular shows up quite often in Sichote-Alin and the Russian organisation active in this region has become more inportant in the last decade in particular.

It isn't difficult to be proud of the beauty of Sichote-Alin (and much of Siberia as well). This post, which can also be seen as an illustration of the two posts on the book of Joseph Velter (see above), has a number of photographs of Sichote-Alin, its forests and its animals. A thing of beauty undoubtedly.

Here's Putin with a sedated Amur tigress:


*This image is copyright of its original author



SICHOTE-ALIN  FOREST

Both photos are from a blog of a UK-tourist who visited the region in July 2007. This part of Sichote-Alin, although they didn't see any, has tigers. Amur tiger habitat in summer:


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*This image is copyright of its original author
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( This post was last modified: 10-03-2014, 05:50 PM by chaos )

Certainly a different landscape come winter. I do agree, truth is, without the support of government, wildlife is doomed.
That goes on all continents in every corner of the planet. Eventually, a concerted worldwide effort will be necessary as
the sense of urgency is just not there yet. What a damn shame.
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Very true. The best solution would be urgency and a global approach. We're still far away from that. The problem is people and their representatives treat wildlife as a national issue. At the level of nation, however, economy and employment are more important than conservation. My guess is conservation will never be able to compete when economy is involved. It could, as Tigerluver suggested, be different when national pride is at stake.

One wonders if there's a connection between political system and conservation. I didn't find one, but I noticed conservation seems to be more important in some of the 'new economies' on their way up. Emphasis on 'some'.

I can understand the interest of Russia in conservation to an extent (populationwise half the size of the US, but way larger and wilder and potentially very attractive for tourists), but was a bit surprised about India. They lost most of their forests in the last decades and also have over 1,3 billion to feed. In spite of that, researchers think India is one of the few countries where tigers have a future. Remarkable.  
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01 - THE BOOK

'Tigers, Gold and Witch-Doctors' was published in 1928. It has 341 pages filled with information about a region that was unknown to many in the roaring twenties of the last century. The copy I bought came from the Lincoln Library in Nebraska. It's still in good shape and I read the book in a few days. Bassett Digby was an experienced traveller and a good writer with an eye for details.

02 - WHY THE BOOK WAS BOUGHT

The reason I bought the book is it promised a bit of insight in things that, if combined, represent something we now call 'culture'. If we want to understand the attitude towards wildlife in general and Amur tigers in particular in a region that, less than a century ago, had tigers from (just west of) Lake Baikal all the way to the Sea of Japan, we need to know a bit about the people inhabiting that region. 

Compared to the books written by Baikov, Arseniev and Velter, Digby's book can be seen as complementary in many ways. The writers mentioned also offered a bit of insight in the attitude towards wildlife in Siberia, but Digby is the only one who described the local tribes in detail. Same, but to a lesser extent, for the European Russians in Siberia (Poles, Cossacks and political prisoners included) as well as scientists (Germans and Russians) send to Siberia by the different tsars for exploration. 

The book has many unique photographes. Witch-doctors, caravans (horse-drawn carts going trough the forested mountain ranges and camels to cross the different deserts), individuals of local tribes (Tartar, Tungu, Orotchen, Buriat, Lamut, Udege, Gold, Tchukche and many others), border cities, wanderers (typical for rural Russia and Siberia in those days), the great Trans-Siberian railroad, Lake Baikal, prisoners (doing forced labor) and, last but not least, the many different types of country. The portraits of individuals in particular are very interesting. Every time I see photographes of Indians in eastern Russia, Canada, the US as well as Central and South-America, I'm struck by the similarities. 

03 - FROM ST. PETERSBURG TO IRKUTZK

European Russia is similar to eastern parts of Europe, but more forested. Towards the Urals, the land slowly rises. Western Siberia was and is largely bare prairie. South and north of the immense grassy plains, Siberia has large tracts of empty forests.

Digby wrote eastern Siberia was more striking than other parts. It took six days to reach Irkutzk near Lake Baikal. He wrote the city had recklessness in its blood:

" ... Hard-riding, hard-swearing, hard-drinking Cossacks, looting geographical secrets from nature and furs from intimidated Indians, were the cities founders. Then came the era of the men who got rich quick from gold strikes, and tea caravans from China, left great nuggets of gold about their desks as paperweights, had grand pianos fetched out by ten-horsed sledge from 3000-mile distant Moscow - and slept on the floor, rolled up in fine furs and camel-wool rugs, as they considered bedsteads effete foreign boudoir fittings. To their children came the great excitement of the building of the railway that linked the Baltic to the Pacific, and the poignant years of the war with Japan when their city was the big base behind the lines where men celebrated before passing on to Manchuria to die, or returned as maimed, halt, and blind, while hectic buying and selling, by the million, went on in the crude wall-logged houses and hotels ... " (pp. 19).   

04 - MAP

Digby often left Irkutzk to see the Bargusinsk peninsula, Lake Baikal and, north of the railway, Trans-Baikal. This part of Russia (the area near Irkutzk), for many miles, had prosperous villages.

Here´s a map for orientation. Lake Baikal in in the centre (top) and Irkutzk is located near the south-western tip of the Lake. This region, as you can see, can be considered as a junction of different types of landscapes and cultures. The shaded blackish parts are elevated areas or mountain ranges and green is forest. The map is from the sixties of the last century, when large parts of Manchuria still had large forests.  



*This image is copyright of its original author



05 - BROWN BEARS

Near Irkutzk, Digby saw a brown bear skin on a wall of a cabin near a chapel. It was huge. At first, the owner objected to a photograph, but later he changed his mind and dressed for the occasion. He told Digby the bear had been the exception to the rule, as there are not that many large bears in the Siberian forests. Most of them are small, even for their species. This is in line with what was written in other books (see also the post about Velter's book above). 

Digby wrote there didn't seem to be a lot of animosity towards brown bears in most of Siberia. Although he was warned not to invade the family circle, brown bears were " ... regarded as an amusing sort of person ... " (pp. 28). If you met a bear who didn't run at first sight, the thing to do was " ... to strip off your clothes and dance, stark naked, with verve and vim ... " (pp. 28).

Some other things worth mentioning. Bears, according to locals, never attacked men sleeping near a fire-place. Humans returned the favour by hunting bears for their gall blathers: " ... A bear's gall, well dried, cost, in barter, only a cent's worth of Chinese Tobacco ... " (pp. 31). About bears and wolves: " ... As a rule, if you see a bear, it is an indication that wolves are not met with in the district ... " (pp. 29). Digby's experiences in the forested wolf country around Salaiyir in the south-west and in the Vitim forest, which teemed with game, confirmed this observation.

About bears and native races: " ... The bear plays an important part in the religious ceremonies of several of the native races, including all the Paleo-Siberians (Aleuts, Eskimos, Yenisei Ostiaks, Koriaks, Tchuktches, Ainus, Tchuvantzes, Kamchatdals, Yukaghirs, and Giliaks) and some of their Neo-Siberian neighbours (... pp. 31).

06 - THE BRODYAG (tramp)

" ... It is astonishing what you can get away with in a blizzard ... Each successive spring thaw brings to light the bodies of hundreds of murdered men, along the trails in Siberia. Women are seldom murdered. The brodyag, or tramp, apparently was heavily involved. Digby wrote " ... he usually kills because he needs a new pair of boots or a nice warm coat ... " (pp. 39). His favourite murder " ... is to split open the head of a sleeping man with his axe. Deftly done, it causes little or no disfigurement of the clothing ... " ( pp. 41).

In spite of all that, Digby wrote the average brodyag compared rather favourably to the American 'bad man' involved in hold-ups and robberies: " ... Far more often than not, he is quite devout, attends church whenever he can, and makes pilgrimages to monasteries and holy shrines ... ". But how about the murders? Well, the brodyag " ... can always obtain gifts of food, but people are so mean about providing one with clothes ... " (pp. 40).

So there you have it. Even devout men denied of clothes and boots are capable of anything. The stories Digby collected are quite staggering. One brodyag was stopped by a passing group of army officers who noticed blood dripping from his sack. When asked what was in it, the brodyag said it only contained his own things. They turned out to be two human legs. The answer to the unavoidable question was it was only his new pair of boots: " ... They were difficult to pull off him, so I reckoned I would take them along just as they were, and get them off later on ... " (pp. 41).

07 - LAKE BAIKAL AND THE BAIKAL SEAL

This great inland sea (Baikal means Abundant Water) was formed " ... by a cataclysmic explosion that ripped open the earth's crust along the line of the river Angara ... " (pp. 49). It is the deepest fresh-water hole in the world. Digby wrote it was impossible to follow the shore on foot on account of the many rushing streams cascading down from the mountains.

" ... The Baikal seal is a special species, practically identical with the seal of the Caspian Sea, and a near relative of the non-migratory ringed seal, a species that lives along the shores of the Arctic ocean ... " (pp. 52). Digby wrote a large part of Siberia, as a result of volcanic disturbances, was flooded hundreds of thousands of years ago. The arctic seals, as well as many other species, went south. When the water receded, the seals found themselves isolated.

In Digby's day, the seals were hunted. The leather was used to make boots, whereas the oil was bought was the Chinese and the Manchurians.

08 - THE SIBERIAN WILD BOAR

Digby wrote the forests around Baikal teemed with life. Baikal also was and is a junction: " ... The insects along the west shore are chiefly east European species, and those along the east shore chiefly Far Eastern ... (pp. 72).

Many hunted near Baikal, especially with bow and arrow. Fur animals were most often targeted. The Siberian wild boar wasn't hunted, because he was consiedered the 'bad hombre' of the wild boar world: " ... He is not yet accustomed to the sight of human beings - and he does not intend to be. John Bell of Antermony discovered that, too, for he declared in his diary, with engaging frankness, 'The hunting of these animals being a dangerous kind of sport, we carefully avoided their haunts. There is even a town called Kubansk or Wild boarville, as we would say. Its founders knew how to run, an Irkutzk doctor assured me, 'otherwise there would have been no Kubansk today' ... " (pp. 73-74).

There apparently were (are?) no rabbits in Siberia (...) and hares, although extensively hunted, are not eaten. The lynx, like the wild boar (but to a lesser extent), wasn't well liked in Siberia. But the worst wild beast by far was the terrible mosquito. Again in first place.

09 - TRAINS ON THE ICE

In winter, Baikal is covered with ice. Very often the ice was so thick that the Russians, and more than once at that, built complete railroads on it (...). Every now and then, things went wrong. There probably are quite a number of trains at the bottom of Baikal.

This habit, according to Digby, was also seen in Manchuria (Kirin Province): " ... the track was laid over the ice of the Sungari river, which was thick enough to support a locomotive and a train of twenty laden freight cars ... " (pp. 92).
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( This post was last modified: 10-09-2014, 09:22 AM by peter )

SICHOTE-ALIN - LANDSCAPE AND ANIMALS

1 - IN THE CEDAR FOREST (source unknown)


*This image is copyright of its original author



2 - BELOBORODOWSKIJ KLJUC IN WINTER (Heptner and Sludskij, 1980 - photograph taken by E.N. Matjuskin in 1964 - tiger habitat)


*This image is copyright of its original author


 
3 - NEAR THE ORIGIN OF THE ULACHE RIVER (Heptner and Sludskij, 1980 - photograph Pankrat'ev - home of a tigress with cubs)


*This image is copyright of its original author



4 - ISJUBR KILLED BY A TIGER (Heptner and Sludskij, 1980 - neck broken - the photograph is very similar to one take by Bengt Berg of a wild buffalo killed by a tiger close to the Bhutan border many years earlier - In India, many years ago, some hunters thought chance was involved regarding broken necks, but Berg and many others concluded experienced animals were able to break the neck of large animals time and again - the largest tiger Berg saw only hunted large male buffalos and all were killed in exactly the same way - Berg didn't want to shoot 'The Killer of Men', as the tiger was known, but he saw him on many occasions and was sure he was more robust and quite a bit heavier than the largest and heaviest he had shot and weighed - that animal was 292,1 cm. in total length and weighed 256,28 kg.)


*This image is copyright of its original author



5 - ORPHANED CUBS (photograph WCS - when their mother didn't return, the cubs were seen on the same road for days by different members of the WCS-team - Miquelle and his collegues decided to catch the cubs - it took some time, but all were caught and now live in a rehabilitation centre - the rescue operation was filmed and broadcasted by the BBC - still the best photograph I saw by far, as it shows the ultimate result of poaching in a very definite way)


*This image is copyright of its original author



6 - AMUR TIGER (no information available)


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7 - SICHOTE-ALIN (photo taken by the well-known Russian biologist and hunter Kretschmar - first posted by Grahh on AVA)


*This image is copyright of its original author



08 - USSURI FOREST


*This image is copyright of its original author



09 - TRACKING AN AMUR TIGER IN THE SNOW (photograph WCS - there's no info on the tiger, but at the time the photograph was taken no tiger over 200 kg. had been collared - today's Amur tigers have longer bodies than all other wild big cats, but adult males seldom exceed the weight mentioned - the heaviest weighed by a Russian team, a young adult male of 183 cm. in head and body, was 212 kg. - one would expect to find some males exceeding that weight every now and then, but only four wild males recently collared, as far as I know, barely exceeded 200 kg. - it has to be mentioned, however, that two large males were able to escape the foot snare when biologists arrived at the scene - Krechmar said he had seen very large prints some years earlier and is sure animals well over 200 kg. are still there - A.G. Yudakov and I.G. Nikolaev, in their great monography recently republished, wrote one of the males they didn't see had a pad width of 13,5 cm. - most adult males range between 10,5-12,5 cm.)


*This image is copyright of its original author



10 - WILD BOAR SHOT BY THE JANKOWSKI'S IN NORTH KOREA ('The Tiger's Claw' - close to the Russian border - 20 animals mentioned in the book averaged 420 pounds or 190 kg., but it is not known if they are the animals in the photograph )


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10 - SIBERIA'S INDIANS

The American Indians are descendants of the Indians of Siberia. Siberian Indians also spread west (to Russia and eastern Europe). They were the original Russians, Finns and Esthonians. Much later, the Muscuvits began " ... to send their own hordes back towards the rising sun. The east-bound pioneers were not nomad cattle herders ..., but gangs of cut-throat Cossacks. Throughout the 1600's these gangs came and went ... " (pp. 100-101).  

As for the Siberian Indians: " ... The Siberian Indian does not aspire to acquire power by making as many other men as possible work for his aggrandizement. He is on the same terms with his fellows as you are with your own friends when you are camping in the woods ... " (pp. 101).

The last census (1897) " ... showed slightly under a million Siberian Indians, all told, and about five million persons of Russian birth or decent ... " (pp. 106).

One thing that struck Digby everywhere was the love of freedom and life of the prairie, river and forest: " ... They do not mind driving wagons, farming, lumbering, or so forth; but that they do on terms of equality with the whites. And there is an utter absence of the arrogance and contempt to which the North American Indian is treated ... " (pp. 107).  

Siberian IndianS worship manifestations of nature, as expounded by their Shamans or witch-doctors. Worship " ... is the conventional word, but there is little, if any, adoration about religion in the Siberian forests ... " (pp. 107). As a result " ... they feel themselves perpetually surrounded and interfered with by invisible beings all their life. Whatever happens ... is due to direct supernatural intervention ... " (pp. 108).

Most of the races are dying out, " ... largely owing to accidents caused by over-indulgence in wodka, and to not having developed immunity to the contagious diseases brought by the white man. Veneral disease, too, claims a great number of victims;  indeed it is quite rare to see an Indian who is not obviously suffering from some form of skin trouble ... " (pp. 108).

11 - SHAMANISM AND WITCH-DOCTORS

" ... The universe, to these roving children of forest and prairie, consists of a number of layers, or strata, separated by intermediate slices of space or matter. The seven upper layers constitute the kingdom of light and the seven lower layers constitute the kingdom of darkness. The surface of the earth is flat and lies between the two groups. The good spirits dwell above, the evil ones below. In the very highest layer, the seventh heaven, reigns the great Delguen Sagan. He is perfect, morally, and meddles very little in the base affairs of earth. Down in the nethermost pit lives Erlik Khan, the Black One.

The human race, in the philisophy of Shamanism, constitues the plaything of the spirits of dead men. The witch-doctor, being gifted with second sight, is aware of what is going on in the invisible world, and can pretty well always avert ... catastrophe, by appealing the evil spirits and by appealing, in extreme cases, to a benevolent bhurkan, for there are a whole hierarchy of lesser gods ... ":  (pp. 118-119).

" ... The witch-doctors, as you may well understand, have their hands full with their task of acting as intermediaries and this array of invisible interferers with our destinies. They are queer folk, absent-minded in the material routine of life, always preoccupied with visions. They are frequently hypnotists of no little skill, blunting the acuteness of observation of their audience by monotonous chant and noisy reiteration of incovations, until it is very susceptible to mob suggestion, and then transfixing one person after another with glaring eyes that seem ... to jump out of their face. They are experts in performing numerous conjuring tricks that are accepted as supernatural magic. Often they are ventriloquists.

The witch-doctors do not hold regular services, or have churches or temples; nor do they wear a uniform. But on those special occasions they wear costumes that are remarkable as any of those of witch-doctors of New-Guinea or the Congo, and as they sway and dance and woRk themselves up into a frenzy they make 'music' with extraordinary instruments ... " (pp. 121-122).

Although whites were seldom allowed to watch a performance, Digby did. The description of what he saw in chapter 6, although mighty interesting, is, I think, not needed to understand the attitude of Siberian Indians.

It is, however, important to remember witch-doctors used both masks and a kind of drum to perform rituals. It is also important to remember that witch-doctoring, in those days, was not quite unknown in Germany and France (...). Finally, one needs to remember there was a strong connection between witch-doctors and animal sacrifices. Although human sacrifices were uncommon in Digby's day, some tribes, like the Samoyedes in northeast Siberia, still " ... kill off their old people and those incurably ill. The Samoyedes' very name means 'cannibals' ... " (pp. 159).     

12 - DOWN TO MONGOLIA
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(10-09-2014, 08:18 AM)'peter' Wrote: SICHOTE-ALIN - LANDSCAPE AND ANIMALS

1 - IN THE CEDAR FOREST (source unknown)


*This image is copyright of its original author



2 - BELOBORODOWSKIJ KLJUC IN WINTER (Heptner and Sludskij, 1980 - photograph taken by E.N. Matjuskin in 1964 - tiger habitat)


*This image is copyright of its original author


 
3 - NEAR THE ORIGIN OF THE ULACHE RIVER (Heptner and Sludskij, 1980 - photograph Pankrat'ev - home of a tigress with cubs)


*This image is copyright of its original author



4 - ISJUBR KILLED BY A TIGER (Heptner and Sludskij, 1980 - neck broken - the photograph is very similar to one take by Bengt Berg of a wild buffalo killed by a tiger close to the Bhutan border many years earlier - In India, many years ago, some hunters thought chance was involved regarding broken necks, but Berg and many others concluded experienced animals were able to break the neck of large animals time and again - the largest tiger Berg saw only hunted large male buffalos and all were killed in exactly the same way - Berg didn't want to shoot 'The Killer of Men', as the tiger was known, but he saw him on many occasions and was sure he was more robust and quite a bit heavier than the largest and heaviest he had shot and weighed - that animal was 292,1 cm. in total length and weighed 256,28 kg.)


*This image is copyright of its original author



5 - ORPHANED CUBS (photograph WCS - when their mother didn't return, the cubs were seen on the same road for days by different members of the WCS-team - Miquelle and his collegues decided to catch the cubs - it took some time, but all were caught and now live in a rehabilitation centre - the rescue operation was filmed and broadcasted by the BBC - still the best photograph I saw by far, as it shows the ultimate result of poaching in a very definite way)


*This image is copyright of its original author



6 - AMUR TIGER (no information available)


*This image is copyright of its original author



7 - SICHOTE-ALIN (photo taken by the well-known Russian biologist and hunter Kretschmar - first posted by Grahh on AVA)


*This image is copyright of its original author



08 - USSURI FOREST


*This image is copyright of its original author



09 - TRACKING AN AMUR TIGER IN THE SNOW (photograph WCS - there's no info on the tiger, but at the time the photograph was taken no tiger over 200 kg. had been collared - today's Amur tigers have longer bodies than all other wild big cats, but adult males seldom exceed the weight mentioned - the heaviest weighed by a Russian team, a young adult male of 183 cm. in head and body, was 212 kg. - one would expect to find some males exceeding that weight every now and then, but only four wild males recently collared, as far as I know, barely exceeded 200 kg. - it has to be mentioned, however, that two large males were able to escape the foot snare when biologists arrived at the scene - Krechmar said he had seen very large prints some years earlier and is sure animals well over 200 kg. are still there - A.G. Yudakov and I.G. Nikolaev, in their great monography recently republished, wrote one of the males they didn't see had a pad width of 13,5 cm. - most adult males range between 10,5-12,5 cm.)


*This image is copyright of its original author



10 - WILD BOAR SHOT BY THE JANKOWSKI'S IN NORTH KOREA ('The Tiger's Claw' - close to the Russian border - 20 animals mentioned in the book averaged 420 pounds or 190 kg., but it is not known if they are the animals in the photograph )


*This image is copyright of its original author


 


Still one of my favorite accounts to this day. The power it takes for a animal to break the necks of these large bovines is quite impressive. The most impressive thing about the Buffalo killer was that he broke the necks with soo much force, its horns would be burried into the ground.

I would imagine the footprints and the fact that the snare were broke by some large males would mean that there are still some wild Amur males out there that are over 210kg, at least I hope so.
 
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( This post was last modified: 10-11-2014, 11:20 AM by peter )

1 - THE KILLER OF MEN

Yes, many well-known hunters thought the necks of large animals were broken in a more or less accidental way, but Bengt Berg was one who concluded it most certainly wasn't accidental. In my opinion, he was as qualified as, for instance, Dunbar-Brander. Furthermore, he had first-hand experience in the north-east of India, close to the Bhutan border.

Here are the great photographs again. Watch the similarities between the isjubr and the Indian wild buffalo:



*This image is copyright of its original author




*This image is copyright of its original author



The wild buffalo above, I think, wasn't one of the buffalo's killed by the 'Killer of Men' (the Bhutan tiger Bengt Berg was referring to in his book). Berg clearly stated this particular tiger only hunted the largest wild male buffalo's. Animals like this male buffalo (from his book 'Meine Jagd nach dem Einhorn', Frankfurt am Main, 1933):



*This image is copyright of its original author



The 'Killer of Men', who got his nickname for obvious reasons, was the largest tiger Bengt Berg ever saw. The largest he actually measured (292,1 cm. straight and 256,28 kg.) was much less robust. Here's the tiger again:



*This image is copyright of its original author




*This image is copyright of its original author



2 - QUOTES FROM BERG'S BOOK

The best way to describe in what way the Bhutan tiger operated is to quote from his book (the quotes were translated from German to English).

1 - While searching for "the Killer of Men', Berg found a dead male buffalo near the Bhutan border:

" ... It was a very large wild male buffalo, and he was lying on his side, the head underneath his body and the horns sticking in the ground (...). It looked like the tiger had broken his neck with a single grip. The grip was such, that the heavy body also was thrown over. A tiger able to kill a buffalo of about a thousand kg. (about 2200 lbs.) in such an easy way, had to have unimaginable power ... " (pp. 169).

2 - At first, because he was a killer of men, Berg wanted to shoot the tiger. He waited near the buffalo and shot the tiger in the evening. Next morning, he discovered he had shot a tigress. And a very large one at that:

" ... There he was, lying just after he had been hit by the bullit. It turned out to be a mighty, extremely beautifully coloured, tigress ... " (pp. 175).  

3 - After the tigress was shot, a man came running to Berg telling him his largest bull (a captive buffalo this time) had been killed by a giant tiger. Berg went to the place where the bull was lying:

" ... The prints showed the tiger was a very large animal and the bull was in exactly the same position as the wild male buffalo, the broken neck and the head beneath the heavy body (...). It was undoubtedly the work of the same master ... " (pp. 176).

4 - Berg again waited near the dead bull. This time, he actually saw the tiger:

" ... I knew directly that this was the largest tiger I had seen. Every time I saw parts of him, it seemed as if his back had no end. When he finally showed himself completely, it wasn't the length that baffled me, but the width, the robustness and the circumference of his bull-like neck, the huge shoulders, the robust body and the enormous head ... " (pp. 179).

5 - Berg wanted the tiger to reproduce. His decision wasn't appreciated. The local farmers and cart-drivers continued to inform him on his whereabouts. Berg, therefore, went from one wild buffalo to the other. Occasionally, there was a captive bull. The largest only, of course. Berg time and again concluded the animals had been killed in exactly the same way:

" ... He killed a buffalo some nights later. The buffalo was lying in the usual way with the neck broken ... " (pp. 182).
" ... And the bull was lying in the usual way, with his neck broken and the head turned underneath the heavy body ... " (pp. 184).


3 - THE SIZE OF THE KILLER OF MEN

Those more or less familiar with today's Indian tigers, when they see the photograph of the 'Killer of Men', think the tiger, although large, doesn't really compare to some of the large and well-known large male tigers in Central and North-India. 

They could be right, but it is important to remember the 'Killer of Men' was longer and much more robust than the largest tiger Berg actually weighed. That animal, at 256,28 kg., was dwarfed by the 'Killer of Men'. Based on what I read on the difference between both tigers, I concluded it is very likely he exceeded 600 lbs. (272,16 kg.). For now, I propose to assume he could have compared to the largest (heaviest) Indian tigers today.


4 - PREY SIZE AND TIGER SIZE

Everything I read suggests there could be a strong relation between tiger size and prey size. W. Bazé ('Tiger, Tiger', London, 1957), regarding Vietnam tigers, wrote the largest he shot was 260 kg. and 338 cm. in total length (this tiger had a long tail and was probably measured 'over curves'). That tiger wasn't interested in animals most other tigers hunt. He only hunted large wild herbivores. The larger, the better, Bazé wrote. 

Guate, a year ago or so, contacted John Goodrich with a question on the alleged size of a large male Amur tiger ('Sheriff') mentioned in an article on a Canadian assistent-professor in Russia. Goodrich wrote the tiger was 200 kg. and not " ... almost 500 pounds ... ". He added " ... this is the way rumours are born on the giant size of Siberian tigers ... ".

He is right, of course, but it is a fact today's Amur tigers are the longest wild big cats. They also have long and robust legs and large skulls. In good conditions, large wild males, like in the recent past, should be able to get to the weight of large Indian tigers (550-600 pounds) at times.

It is about the conditions, of course. And they are not that good in Russia in that large prey animals have disappeared. Is this important regarding size? My answer would be yes. We know large tigers hunt large animals when they can. One could, probably, also turn it round: if there are no large animals, tigers probably are not able to get to their potential.


5 - IN WHAT WAY IS ROBUSTNESS EXPRESSED IN TIGERS?

Based on all measurements I have, I'd say neck, chest and, perhaps, skull width and skull circumference. Not total skull length, legs, shoulders and total length. The reason? Large and robust tigers hunt large prey animals. What do you need to subdue, kill and move large animals? A strong and dense skull and a large neck. Would make sense, as tigers use their skull to connect, hold, subdue, kill, move and eat. The large neck, I think, isn't a result of the large skull, but of the movement of large animals.

Amur tigers have slightly longer skulls, but the captive skulls I saw are not as wide and massive as those of captive Indian tigers. Could be different in wild tigers, but I think the differences would be limited. Wild Amur tigers also do not kill and move large animals, because they just are not there anymore.

And legs? I noticed that even captive Amur tigers have longer and more robust legs than all other big cats. Why is that? Russia has no really large prey animals, does it? True, but brown bears and wild boar are there and they are sometimes hunted. Both animals are massive and difficult to subdue. Big legs allow a tiger to wrestle and to twist.

But why is it Indian tigers hunting much larger animals have smaller legs? Well, the giants they hunt do not have to be wrestled down. They need to be jumped, held and killed quickly. Some tigers, like the 'Killer of Men', use their legs to twist and turn, but Indian tigers could use their jaws and skull more often. Hence the robust and dense skull. Amur tigers need a long skull as a platform for very large canines and large jaw muscles in order to bite and penetrate, but not for pressure matches. Indian tigers do, because they have to suffocate large animals (the only way to kill a large animal). This takes many minutes and it needs a lot of force to succeed, which results in a lot of stress. Hence the wide skull and the dense bones.

Amur tigers need large paws, large legs, agility and, to an extent, endurance. The jaws are more used for stabbing and penetrating. Hence the very large canines. They bite again and again in order to penetrate and hit an artery or the spine. I'm not sure, but I don't think they go for suffocating when their opponent is a large boar or bear. The reason is these animals have large necks. Goodrich, indirectly, confirmed in that he concluded all bears killed by tigers were killed with a single bite at the base of the neck. This is effective with smaller animals (most tigers had about a hundred pounds on the bears killed).

I doubt if it would work with animals of similar or larger weight, because of the reason mentioned (a larger neck, which results in more time needed and more risks). When they fight animals of similar or larger weight, therefore, Amur tigers need a different strategy. I wouldn't be surprised to find that experienced tigers use their forelegs to twist or turn the neck of their opponent in order to create a position which enables them to penetrate the neck with their canines. But in order to have a chance, you need surprise as well as experience (in order to know where to bite). And you need very muscular arms in order to get to a good position more than once (as once won't be enough). This is also what V. Mazak suggested regarding Amur tigers and bears of similar or larger size. But that is another story.
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@peter
In regards to Paw size of Bengal compared to Siberian

I just came across a interesting conversation on Kahna Tigers Pad size Compared to Bandhavargh's tiger Pad size. The tigers being quoted for Bandhavargh where Jobhi and Bamera, two of the larger tigers there but apparently much smaller in pad size compared to Kahna.


"Yes Leminh, you have another good point there. Based on the type of terrain they are staying in, evolutionary changes could have occurred to help them adapt better. The example you gave about the possibility of animals in marshy regions having bigger paws/hooves makes sense. ":)Kshitij | 11 months ago
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This is another 20x20cm pugmark,in comparison to the jeep's track width, also from Kanha, on hard ground, so it's pretty good: "http://www.jonastonboe.com/Travel/India/i-55cS59h/3/XL/IMG_0724-XL.jpg " Possessor could be Kankata or Pattewala male, the latter slightly bigger. Re Saddam Hussein was a large male indeed. I also find Saddam a shorter-fuller, meaning his body was short, just like Kankata. Satyendra also confirmed that was the case. Saddam was more or less of equal comparison with Kankata. Banda was definitely a larger male than Saddam, and longer in length.leminh | 11 months ago
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I agree with Kshitij, just like humans, similar-size tigers may have slight variations in pugmark size. Only when differences are noticeable, for instance a 14x14cm vs 17x17 cm, can we say for certain that the later tiger is the visibly larger one. Also, pugmark comparison has to be contextualized. I mean, they're useful to compare tigers residing in similar habitats, say the hilly central india. But tigers in muddy and snowy terrains, say Kaziranga or Siberia, will normally have larger pugmark than similar-size fellows from central india to help them move around in those terrains. That's why the smaller water buffalo also has larger footprint than the larger gaur who doesn't take to muddy environment. And yes, it's ideal to compare pugmark impressed into the same surface type, since its size can vary slightly with different kinds of forest ground. Re size comparison among tigers, I find it not terribly difficult to do if we have enough photos from different angles of a certain individuals plus some input from people who have seen them first hand :).leminh | 11 months ago
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Interesting discussion here. I feel it should be quite difficult to gauge a tiger's size based on the pugmarks alone. The ratio of dimensions of different body parts might vary. Though a bigger pugmark would mean a bigger tiger, if we analyze at a deeper level, there could be cases where pugmark sizes might not follow the absolute rule of bigger pug implies bigger tiger just the way in humans some have bigger feet/shoe sizes. I am just guessing, but I believe there is a probability that in closely matched individuals, there could be a chances that sometimes, the relatively smaller one might have a bigger pugmark too. Also, with pugmarks, there are different factors which can come into play like the type of soil, the season, etc. If the soil is wet after rain, or if it is the dry grainy soil of summer, the pug might appear bigger. But on hard ground, the same tiger's pugmark might appear smaller. The link which Leminh has shared about 20x20 pugmarks is interesting. But again, it says it was on soft mud. So there is a chance that the weight of the tiger pushes it deeper into the soil and hence results into an enlarged pugmark... @Kay mam Do you have any photos of Bokha after his death? If yes, can you please share some?Kshitij | 11 months ago
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Body length certainly differs between Jobhi and Bamera and yes Bamera often is seen looking rather rotund! I would say Bameras pugs are a bit larger than Jobhi's but that might be to do with muscle age perhaps.When Bamera was limping badly last year and declined to come back to Chakradhara he was pretty poor looking I thought though still capable. But poor Bokha when he died had lost all his muscle and looked terrible.Actually B2 looked fairly good when he died. I never saw Saddam just Satyendras photos, he said he was huge. But I remember always commenting in the early days here when visiting Kanha how much bigger the male pugs looked there than in Bandhavgarh. I think as a young tiger Jobhi has a ways to go in size, I doubt he will be by frame much bigger than Bamera, longer yes and therefore perhaps heavier? Only the Forest Dept has all this information on the deaths of the tigers and I dont think it indicates their actual presence if they get old or lie blotted. I have to say that I doint visit zoos much and dont really get that close totigers in many instances so talking size is kind of strange unless you take photos at the same distances from the animals and had software to work out height and length, god knows. I was actually quite surprized how big B2 was when he died as I remember him as small really as was Charger. Interesting topic but we dont have the access to work all this out I think unless we work out some scientific photography again like with the stripe recognition?KayTiwari | 11 months ago
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Hi Kay, it's indeed very interesting, I agree 100%! In 1997, the monster siberian tiger wreaked havoc and killed many people. The tiger experts gathered and tried to hunt him down. They resorted to pugmark measurement to gauge the tiger's size in his absence, and the paw-pad width turned out to be 13cm, so the pugmark would be around 17x17cm. From that Siberian tiger experts derived that this monster was of Alpha male class and the biggest in the region. Later on when he was shot, they confirmed that he's indeed a huge male. Re Saddam Hussein, his pugmark was considered exceptionally large too " https://www.dropbox.com/s/cj6ol4d6n3enzl...=110462150 ". I've seen a photo of bamera's pugmark, and to be honest it looks more or less the same size with Jobhi's here. The size of the pugmark, especially the paw-pad width, indicates the size and weight of a tiger. Also, I find it interesting you say Jobhi looks smaller than bamera. I find them similarly tall from photos, so what's your impression on their respective heights Kay? To be honest, I find that since Jobhi is a longer male, he would no doubt appear shorter than Bamera at similar shoulder heights due to longer body. Also, Bamera may appear bigger in some sightings due to full belly, so could it be another reason he appears more massive, though definitely shorter in length, than Jobhi? I actually take notice that in most of his photos, bamera has a full belly and it gives him larger than life images. Also, I find B2 looking small when he died too "http://www.indiamike.com/india/indian-wildlife-and-national-parks-f74/ambushing-a-tiger-story-of-a-teamwork-with-2-gypsies-and-what-ails-bandhavgad-today-t138677/2/#post1301652". This is definitely an interesting topic :))leminh | 11 months ago

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Leminh, I have never seen a tiger pug impression anywhere near as big as you are stating. 20cm would be a monster tiger! I do know I have seen bigger ones in Kanha than here. I would say Jobhi's is fairly average for here but I have not actually had the chance to measure it accurately as one is not allowed to get down from the vehicle as you know. At this point in time I would say Shashi's is bigger but he is a compact bodied tiger like B2 was. I always thought Bohka/Shaki bigger than B2 but he looked so small when he died. I am not sure pug size tells all about the size and more important the strength and dominance of a tiger. Its all really interesting don't you think.




Very interesting to read the difference in paw size from place to place and it does tie in to the idea of terrain being the number 1 factor.
I wonder if Kaziranga Tigers would have the largest paw size to date since they live in such a marshy swamp land and must get great traction to hunt.
Sorry if this doesn't belong here, just thought it tied into Peters description of why Siberians have larger paws and canines.

 
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5 - IN WHAT WAY IS ROBUSTNESS EXPRESSED IN TIGERS?

Based on all measurements I have, I'd say neck, chest and, perhaps, skull width and skull circumference. Not total skull length, legs, shoulders and total length. The reason? Large and robust tigers hunt large prey animals. What do you need to subdue, kill and move large animals? A strong and dense skull and a large neck. Would make sense, as tigers use their skull to connect, hold, subdue, kill, move and eat. The large neck, I think, isn't a result of the large skull, but of the movement of large animals.

Amur tigers have slightly longer skulls, but the captive skulls I saw are not as wide and massive as those of captive Indian tigers. Could be different in wild tigers, but I think the differences would be limited. Wild Amur tigers also do not kill and move large animals, because they just are not there anymore.

And legs? I noticed that even captive Amur tigers have longer and more robust legs than all other big cats. Why is that? Russia has no really large prey animals, does it? True, but brown bears and wild boar are there and they are sometimes hunted. Both animals are massive and difficult to subdue. Big legs allow a tiger to wrestle and to twist.

But why is it Indian tigers hunting much larger animals have smaller legs? Well, the giants they hunt do not have to be wrestled down. They need to be jumped, held and killed quickly. Some tigers, like the 'Killer of Men', use their legs to twist and turn, but Indian tigers could use their jaws and skull more often. Hence the robust and dense skull. Amur tigers need a long skull as a platform for very large canines and large jaw muscles in order to bite and penetrate, but not for pressure matches. Indian tigers do, because they have to suffocate large animals (the only way to kill a large animal). This takes many minutes and it needs a lot of force to succeed, which results in a lot of stress. Hence the wide skull and the dense bones.

Amur tigers need large paws, large legs, agility and, to an extent, endurance. The jaws are more used for stabbing and penetrating. Hence the very large canines. They bite again and again in order to penetrate and hit an artery or the spine. I'm not sure, but I don't think they go for suffocating when their opponent is a large boar or bear. The reason is these animals have large necks. Goodrich, indirectly, confirmed in that he concluded all bears killed by tigers were killed with a single bite at the base of the neck. This is effective with smaller animals (most tigers had about a hundred pounds on the bears killed).

I doubt if it would work with animals of similar or larger weight, because of the reason mentioned (a larger neck, which results in more time needed and more risks). When they fight animals of similar or larger weight, therefore, Amur tigers need a different strategy. I wouldn't be surprised to find that experienced tigers use their forelegs to twist or turn the neck of their opponent in order to create a position which enables them to penetrate the neck with their canines. But in order to have a chance, you need surprise as well as experience (in order to know where to bite). And you need very muscular arms in order to get to a good position more than once (as once won't be enough). This is also what V. Mazak suggested regarding Amur tigers and bears of similar or larger size. But that is another story.
 
I know that myself and Tigerluver both agree that Body length seemed to show the best correalation to body weight from the measurements I have seen. Exceptions always exist, but from most of the measurements I have seen, that  usually the largest weight's belonged to the longer tigers, same with most of the larger chest girth's.

I am curious about limb length and girth, I know both bengal and amur are very close in sholder height and I think that most bengals I have seen seem to have the larger limb girth while slightly shorter at the shoulder. But I have not seen many Amur measurements to know for sure.



 
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I believe that it is important that people understand that saving the tiger means saving huge amounts of wild natural land from "developement" and that this results not only in saving the tiger but saving a multitude of birds and mammals and other wildlife. We all benefit.
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( This post was last modified: 10-19-2014, 05:12 PM by peter )

PUGMARKS

INDIA

Those loaded with experience regarding Indian tigers agreed tigers inhabiting low-lying regions, as a rule, leave larger prints than tigers living in more elevated regions. They usually also grow to a larger size, but there is reliable information on hill-tigers of ten feet and even over. One ten-footer shot a century ago, in spite of its immense weight, left prints not much larger than those of an average male leopard. This tiger had lived in hill country all his life. 

RUSSIA

Amur tigers, for about six months of the year, have to deal with snow. In one region in central Sichote-Alin, the average snow depth in the seventies of the last century was no less than 38 cm. In some parts of the region mentioned above, the snow depth was much more.

Large paws act like snow shoes in that they allow the tiger to move in difficult conditions. It is in winter many Amur tigers seem to flourish and it could be paws, to an extent, are involved.  

DECIDING FACTORS

Amur tigers, like Indian tigers, inhabit low hills. This, judging from India, would have to result in smaller paws. Not so. This means snow, in Amur country, outweighs hills regarding paw size. 

Although Sichote-Alin is more elevated than most of India and also has large tracts of forest, the vegetation is different. Not as dense and not as dry. The need to contract the foot muscles wouldn't be there, that is. It could be this is a factor to consider regarding Sichote-Alin, but my guess is snow depth would be the most important factor.

BERGMANN

Bergmann's rule seem to have lost a lot of weight in biology, but it explains many differences between regional types in mammals. The long body enables Amur tigers to keep warm in serious cold and the long feet allow them to hunt in deep snow. Furthermore, it explains why island tigers are smaller than mainland tigers. We would need a few extra rules to understand specific phenomena (dwarfism in Bali and outsized specimens in some parts of India), but Bergmann isn't as bad as many suggest.
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I have been a big nay sayer towards the bergmans rule simply becuase their are many examples that can debunk it, but there are also examples that can back it. So I'm still unsure, but for me to consider something a rule, I guess it would have to always correct. With animals, there are just far too many factors for there to be any "rule" IMO.

But that being said, kanwaar told me something interesting during our discussion, he of course said Kaziranga and Corbett had the big cats that he has ever seen with his own eyes, but he did say that tigers near the himalayas where the largest. But we never went into depth on why he said that and I don't think he has ever seen them in person. That being said, is their any weights on tigers from Bhutan area? Or eye witness accounts that would back that, that any of you have seen?
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( This post was last modified: 10-21-2014, 10:39 PM by peter )


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12 - DOWN TO MONGOLIA

In the spring, Digby left Irkutzk for Mongolia. He took the ferry over the Selenga River, went across the Khamar Daban Range and came out on the bare steppe. From there, he went from post house to post house. Most of these had a room for travellers, but he had to be wary of small pox, typhus and typhoid everywhere. In those days, there were outbreaks of cholera and plague as well. They often occurred, " ... without ever being heard of. From such causes whole roving groups of nomadic natives , ...,  are wiped out (pp. 202). 

He bought a horse and travelled from Mukhina to Klewchevskaya, a small village " ... at the mouth of a gorge running up into pine-forested mountains ... " (pp. 159). Near that city, he " ... passed carts driven by bears ... " (pp 158.). Digby was adviced to stay away from dogs, as " ... there is a lot of wolf strain in most of the big dogs ... " (pp. 161). And wolves, at times, carry canine distemper.

Ubukanskaya was next. The village shop, like most in the southern trans-Baikal, was kept by Chinese. From Ubukanskaya, he went to Arbuzovskaya. It was there he was introduced to lamaserais, Buddhist monks from Lhasa. They, in the course of time, " ... became blended with with many of the Shamanistic beliefs of the forests and steppes of Siberia, making religion very difficult for even a skilled theologian to understand in all its aspects ... " (pp. 178). The Bhuddist monks were the only ones not to be banned from Siberia. One reason could be they didn't baptize local tribes. 

After a forested range, Digby reached Selenginsk. Two hundred years ago, this was the first town behind the frontier trading entrepot between Moscow and China. From there, he went to Povorotnaya. Here, the taiga began. Wolf country.


13 - THE WAYS OF NORTHERN TIGERS

" ... One of the most curious of the many strange sensations you can experience in Siberia is to sprawl on the turfy bank of a woodland stream just like any place that you know so well in New Jersey of the south of England, and to realize, ..., that instead of a perky little moor-hen coming out of yonder path of reeds up-wind, it may reveal part of an enormous tiger ... " (pp. 193).



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After World War One (1914-1918), tigers were not hunted as they were before. Most were poisoned and the skins were smuggled through Manchuria into China:

" ... His chief hunters used to be the officers of the naval and military garrison at Vladivostok, before the World War (One), but now, as in the case with the small tiger found in southwestern Siberia (I think he referred to Panthera tigris virgata in the west of Mongolia), very few men attempt to shoot him. Poisoned bait, generally his favourite food, wild boar, is laid in his haunts, during the winter when his skin is in fine condition and fetches a big price, even from the Chinese middlemen who smuggle furs out through Manchuria. You find splendid skins in Shanghai ... " (pp. 194).



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According to Digby, tigers, in contrast to bears and wolves (who ranged all over Siberia), " ... have definite regions outside which they are seldom met with ... " (pp. 194). Just after the turn of the century, the Irkutzk region still had two distinct regional types: Panthera tigris virgata south-west of Irkutzk and Panthera tigris altaica in the south-east.

Panthera tigris virgata was the smaller of the two. It was " ... short-haired and rather smudgily striped ... " (pp. 195). This tiger had its headquarters " ... in the swampy flats around Lake Balchasj, in the south-west, though he ranges eastward, just south of the Altai Mountains, in fairsh numbers, all the way to China ... " (pp. 195). 

The Altai Mountains:


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Tiger skin from Lob-Nor:


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This tiger, according to poster 'Kaspi Tiger' who contacted the Harvard Museum some years ago, although labeled 'Mongolia', was actually bought in Manchuria sometime before 1905:


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Mongolian tiger:


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Panthera tigris altaica, on the other hand, was a " ... big, thick-coated, vividly striped fellow ... " (pp. 195). This subspecies lived " ... between the mouth of the Amur River and Korea, ranging westward as far as the Yablonoi Mountains, north and south of Chita ... " (pp. 195).

Is it true Amur tigers featured during the construction of the Trans-Siberian railway? Yes. Digby wrote that in one part of the Trans-Baikal, tigers raided the camps of Chinese coolies so often that " ... they struck, and troops had to be fetched to clear the area ... " (pp. 195). Apart from raiding camps, Amur tigers indulged in swimming: " ... On several occasions, he has been seen swimming the two- or three-mile-wide Amur, in the region of Blagovestchensk ... " (pp. 195).



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In 'Mammals of the Sowjet-Union', Heptner, in a map, referred to a number of reports about Amur tigers seen north, west and southwest of Lake Baikal and the region well north of the Amur. It is not known if the tigers seen west and southwest of Lake Baikal were Caspian or Amur tigers:



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Digby had something to say on the matter as well: " ... I was shown an interesting old Russian record describing a mass trek northward of Ussuri tigers, which took them, in a few weeks, hundreds of miles from their usual haunts. The hero of this rout was - the mosquito. There was a particularly bad mosquito year, when the Ussuri woods were so full of dense swarms that the settlers kept mistaking them for clouds of smoke from forest fires. They drove the tigers frantic, and off the poor beasts moved to the dry uplands of Manchuria, where they stayed until the cold weather came ... " (pp. 196).

Could be true, but it seems more likely the animals they hunted, perhaps as a result of the mosquitos and perhaps as a result of a crop failure, moved north, leaving the tigers no option but to follow.


14 - KIATHKA

" ... Before the western world knew anything of China but the entries in Marco Polo's diary, before the British, the Dutch, and the Portuguese merchants began to send ships up into the China seas, cumbrous caravan embassies were crawling to and fro through the steppes, and forests, and mountains of Siberia and the Mongolian Desert of Gobi, between the tsars of Moscow and the emperors at Pekin. Then venturesome Russian merchants began to follow in their train. After a while it was found more advantageous for Muscovite and Chinese to meet north of the Gobi. Finally, in 1727, imperial commissioners from Moscow and Pekin met at Kiathka, and signed a treaty that formally recognized this spot as the frontier of the two empires  and the clearing-house for the produce of northern Occident and Orient ... ".

" ... A strip of neutral territory ... was marked out, to divide China from Siberia, and at each side a sloboda, or stockaded cantonment was erected. Between the two forts rose a pair of wooden columns, nine feet high - the frontier posts. To Kiathka the merchants from Moscow brought bales of cloth and mirrors, tinware and ironware, a sprinkling of most of the manufactured goods of Europe, and, surreptitiously, quantities of fur, the exporet of which was forbidden. The Chinese brought silks and damasks, satins and dressed leather, gauzes and crepes, gold thread and velvet, tobacco and porcelain, tea and ginger, crystallized orange-peel and aniseed, pipes and artificial flowers, dolls and wooden combs, books and trinklets, pearls and brandy, flour and pepper, fans and silken girdles ... ".

" ... Soon the trade in tea became by far the most important. Eighty years ago practically all the tea consumed in Europe and America came from Kiathka ... "  (pp. 209-211).



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15 - NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN TRADING

" ... Sauntering about Siberia, ..., you hear many an amusing tale of the full-blooded old days when the pioneer bands of Cossacks from Muscovy reached the far sidee of the Trans-Baikal and began to encounter opposition from the Chinese, who regarded the region as a sort of protectorate. Neither Muscovite nor Chinese had any established right to claim territory or to levy tribute on the natives, but that did not worry them. There was no formal state of war, nor did either side desire one. They were armed parties of fur-traders - and fur grabbers ... " (pp. 244).

Notice that this, ehhh, new development in trading, described in many books (see some of the posts above) existed until the 20th century. So in what way did those targeted by these parties react? Well, 

" ... The natives presently understood the idea and introduced measures of their own, including the excellent plan of pretending, when encountered in small groups in the forest, that they had not so much as a rat-skin and did not know any friend who had, but intimidating that they had heard that some good furs were going to arrive in the spring at the junction of the two rivers yonder ... " (pp. 245).

In the end, the new way of trading resulted in something well-known in Canada as well:

" ... But the (trading) camps held tempting booty for rival parties, in greater strength, so it soon became the custom to fortify them with high stockades ... " (pp. 246). And the native Siberians? Well, they tolerated "  ... big 'yaller dawgs' with a streak of wolf in them - quite a big streak, ..., to give warning of the approach of strangers ... " (pp. 248).


16 - EXILE AND SCIENCE

" ... A good many high-born enemies of the emperors of Russia were exiled in the old days, both before and after the reign of Peter the Great. It was Peter who was the first tsar to see in the back of the beyond of his empire anything but a field for loot and a convenient wilderness in which to lose persons one did not like without having their blood on one's conscience.

His extensive travels had given him a keen interest in geographical matters, and he absorbed as high degree of culture from the savants of Western Europe. In 1717, he visited the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris, and in the following year he became a member. He was the only monarch who ever kept up a regular correspondence with this body. He sent it a meticulously prepared chart of the Caspian Sea, from observations and soundings he had ordered to be taken. He equipped and dispatched several cultured men (many of them German) to various parts of the empire ... " (pp. 290-292).

Tsar Peter the Great's example was followed by Katharine II when she came to the throne in 1760:

" ...  She instructed ... the Academy to choose a number of able and learned men who might be enthrusted with this work (exploring Siberia). That Russia had, in those days, a good deal better fate in mind for Siberia than that of a region of exile is indicated by the sailing orders given to these nominees ... "  (pp. 294).

Professor Ivan George Gmelin of the Academy of Sciences was amongst those dispatched. He was mentioned more than once in J.F.Brandt's book 'Untersuchungen über die Verbreitung des Tigers (Felis tigris) und seine Beziehungen zur Menschheit', published in 1856 in St. Petersburg. Gmelin, in 1768, made an expedition along the southeastern frontier of Russia. In Persia, he had trouble with the lawless and domineering Khans. He was seized by Usmei Khan, ninety wersts from Derbent, and died a prisoner in this brigand's hands (pp. 197).

Gmelin wasn't the only educated man whose life was cut short while exploring. Professor Lovitz was captured at Dobrinka in 1774 and hanged after he had been impaled alive on a sharpened stake (...).

After the explorations of scientists, Siberia was chosen by many explorers. One of these was Captain J.D. Cochrane of the British Navy. In Kolyma country, he encountered a witch-doctor who gave an exhibition of the hara-kiri trick (...).

Digby wrote that Siberia as a place of exile for political suspects, in his day, was not nearly as bad as during the days of tsarism. Siberia was cold, its villages remote and the winters long and sombre, but nearly all exiles " ... were given a considerable degree of freedom after a much shorter term of actual imprisonment ... " than many assumed. They " ...  were merely told to live for a few years in certain tracts of the country no worse, climatically, than Maine, Ohio, or the northern grain belt of the United States, and infinitely preferable, in their scenic and ethnological interest, to the abdominations of desolation of Wisconsin, Dakota and Iowa. They drew government pay; they could marry or have their families join them from home. There were plenty of fish to catch and furs to wear, and there was plenty of fuel to burn and timber to build with ... " (pp. 306-308).

The rumours about terrible experiences in Siberia were, as always, a result of the newspapers. When they began to take the matter (of exile) up, " ... a heavy slump in martyrs ensued ... " (pp. 309). So there you have it, friends and neighbours. It was the newspapers.
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Canada Roflcopters Offline
Modern Tiger Expert
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Quote:The 'Killer of Men', who got his nickname for obvious reasons, was the largest tiger Bengt Berg ever saw. The largest he actually measured (292,1 cm. straight and 256,28 kg.) was much less robust. Here's the tiger again:

So peter, according to this statement. the heaviest male Bength Berg measured came out with the following measurements (292.1cm straight and 256.28kg) but the Killer of Men was the largest male he's seen ? now let's assume he was a 256kg + potential Tiger. that's very interesting because i never thought of Killer of Men as an exceptionally large male. Now this gives us a real size perspective of males residing in all parts of India. [img]images/smilies/tongue.gif[/img] which in my opinion weigh far larger than their ancestors. 
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