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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: 06-28-2019, 11:13 AM by peter )

MAN-EATING TIGERS IN NEPAL - I

Nepal today has 235 tigers, about twice as much as a decade ago. The effort to protect wild country and wild animals paid, that is. Great news. Most unfortunately, there is a flipside.

Most tiger reserves in northern India and southern Nepal are situated in a densely populated region. This means they, more often than not, are surrounded by villages populated by poor people struggling to make a living. Not a few of them use these reserves to feed their cattle. Very often, they just don't have another option.

The most likely result of more villagers in tiger reserves and more tigers in these reserves is more encounters. Some of these have a tragic outcome. Man-killers often get the benefit of the doubt but when they develop into confirmed man-eaters, authorities have no option but to act. 

The aim is to capture the tiger alive. Not easy by any means, as tigers are elusive animals. Every now and then, an attempt to sedate a man-eating tiger develops into a chaotic affair with a deadly outcome.

LINKS

a - A man-eater in the Kathmandu Zoo  (article and video)

If you click on the first picture in the article, a video (01:57) will start. In the video, 'host' Casey Anderson sits himself in front of the cage with his back to the tiger. His first aim is to provoke the tiger, a confirmed man-eater. His second aim is to 'prove' an attack can be prevented if it's noticed in time, provided the intended victim is able to connect to the tiger by looking into his eyes for a prolonged period of time. 

The attempt to provoke the tiger succeeded in that the tiger approached Anderson after some time. It failed in that the tiger growled before he approached. This means he didn't see him as a snack, but as a challenger or, more likely, as a nuisance. Not the response Anderson anticipated.   

The stare also failed. A result of a poor preparation, so it seems. Any trainer could have told him tigers and lions respond in a different way to a stare. Lions, more often than not, react, but most tigers do not. They're not interested in staredowns, but in something else. Like a meeting without bars. In the end, as the tiger in the video underlined, it is about the teeth. 

All in all, one could conclude the tiger acted in a somewhat surprising, but civilized way, whereas Anderson, especially during the stare, lost a bit of face. Final score: Anderson 0 - tiger 4.  

The article about tigers and humans in India and Nepal isn't too bad. It has a few links to articles published in the New York Times: 
 
https://www.monstersandcritics.com/smallscreen/casey-anderson-faces-a-man-eating-tiger-in-monster-encounters-exclusive-interview-and-preview/

b - The attempt to capture a man-killer in Nepal in 2018

The article in 'The Himalayan Times' (31-08-2018) is a bit short, but informative. It also has a photograph. 

The story is short. After he had killed a man in Royal Chitwan, the tiger was located, cornered, sedated and moved to a zoo. Although things went according to plan, it took a week to get it done (...).

The tiger was an adult male wounded in a fight:    

https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/man-eater-tiger-captured-after-week-long-operation-in-chitwan/
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Netherlands peter Offline
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( This post was last modified: 07-15-2019, 09:37 AM by peter )

JIM CORBETT INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH GROUP

Yes, it's real. The Jim Corbett International Research Group has 170 members and seems to be quite active. The site has a few reviews and an interview. Definitely worth a visit:   

https://jimcorbettdiscussions.weebly.com/newsletter
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( This post was last modified: 06-28-2019, 07:27 PM by peter )

MAN-EATING TIGERS IN NEPAL - II

No debate without a few studies and books. Hemantha Mishra's 'Bones of the tiger - Protecting the man-eaters of Nepal' (2010) was discussed some time ago. Same for 'Hunting in the mountains and Jungles of Nepal' (Peter Byrne, Safari press, 2012).

We could do with a more recent study. Here's one I recommend:   

Title'Are conflict-causing tigers different? Another perspective for understanding human-tiger conflict in Chitwan National Park, Nepal'

In - Global Ecology and Conservation, Vol. 11, July 2017, pp. 177-187

Authors - Lamichhane (BR), Persoon (GA), Leirs (H), Musters (CJM), Subedi (N), Gairhe (KP), Pokheral (CP), Poudel (S), Mishra ®, Dhakal (M), Smith (JLD), de Longh (HH)

Abstract - In Chitwan, less than 5% of the tiger population (most probably including youngsters) was involved in conflicts with humans. Most of those involved in conflicts were either fysically impaired (as a result of a fight or old age) or without a farm (transients). Problems between tigers and humans can be reduced by adopting an early warning system. This will enable rangers to quickly identify homeless or impaired tigers living in locations also visited by villagers. This means tigers (and humans?) need to be monitored.
      
Link - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351989417300604
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Canada Kingtheropod Offline
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Historical record of Amur tiger killed near Ust'-Maiiskii Village on November 21, 1905

"The animal was killed by Tunguses on 21 November 1905, some 80 km from Ust'-Maiskii Village on the lower Aldan. [b]It proved to be an adult male weighing some 245 kg."[/b]


*This image is copyright of its original author

https://books.google.ca/books?id=CcjwAAA...e&q=245+kg
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United Arab Emirates BorneanTiger Offline
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( This post was last modified: 07-10-2019, 09:51 PM by BorneanTiger )

(06-24-2019, 02:32 PM)BorneanTiger Wrote:
(06-24-2019, 10:32 AM)Greatearth Wrote:
(06-24-2019, 05:52 AM)Rishi Wrote: Absolutely! Even if they're considered similar enough to be a single subspecies, Siberian & Caspian tigers lived far enough as well as segregated enough from each other to have significant genetic differences.
Like bengal tigers from different regions of India (for example, something like ranthambore's tigers compared to rest of central India's).

In India the Satkosia relocation was done with tigers from Madhya Pradesh, 500km away. That was because of higher historical genetic similarity between both Bengal tigers populations from the two areas, compared to other adjoining places (maybe because of natural connection by a thick forest tract along Mahanadi river basin).
Similar must be done for Amurs too... Tigers from Korean peninsula, Russian Far East, Manchuria, Central Asia could have had unique genetic differences. 

"Subspecies" are a man-made concept. Even if humans decide the similarities are/not enough for two portions to be classified as same subspecies, the natural variations within would still be there & needs to be preserved as well.
Only few years ago Malayan tigers were decided to be different enough to be declared a seperate subspecies from Indochinese ones, after genomic study. Those differences still continue to exist & you can't just release tigers from Myanmar or Manchuria in those places!!

I absolutely agree with your post.
About Korean tigers, I read in news long time ago in Korean research team saying that 2 or 3 sequences were different from Siberian tigers in Russian Far East due to adapting in the Korean Peninsula. That's why Korean tiger had unique morphology compared to other Siberian tigers. I tried to search that journal, but I can not find it. It is the same for other tiger subspecies. It isn't just the tiger. Each tigers, leopards, snow leopards, cheetah, clouded leopard, and even other large mammals in Asia evolved unique adaptation, lifestyle, and morphology from habitats that they are living in.

I do not want anyone to ruin that natural evolutionary process. We human already know that mother nature of Earth is far greater than us. No matter what, nature wins. It's been proven all the time from geology, physics, and biology as well. Invasive species is the answer of this. Nature has exact order to follow. Human shouldn't ruin it like 2 tiger subspecies. If you look current situation of the Aral sea, we've already learnt a lot of things that interference by humans will always cause disasters.

Firstly, take this into consideration, the reed region of the Panj River on the border of Afghanistan and Tajikistan in Central Asia, where the first tiger was apparently from (http://kavehfarrokh.com/iran-and-central...the-1930s/), is far away from and environmentally different to the hills or mountains of northern Iran in Southwest Asia, where the second tiger was from (http://www.tigers.ca/Foundation%20overview/caspian2.htm), yet nobody questions the idea that they are both Caspian tigers, or members of the same subspecies, right? 

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


Map of distribution of tiger subspecies by Vratislav Mazák, page 3: https://web.archive.org/web/201203091255...1-0001.pdf

*This image is copyright of its original author


Map by Luo et al.: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/articl...ne.0004125

*This image is copyright of its original author


And Luo et al. (https://journals.plos.org/plosone/articl...ne.0004125) used at least one Caspian tiger that was West Asian, a captive tiger in Moscow Zoo that came from Northern Iran in West Asia, and its mtDNA was closer to the mtDNA of Amur tigers than those of some Bengal tigers to others, so just as 'subspecies' is a man-made concept, with one definition being about 2 populations of the same species that are genetically and geographically distinct from each other (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subspecies), which wouldn't have applied when Caspian and Siberian tigers were contiguous, or when both were present in the area of Lake Baikal (https://archive.org/stream/mammalsofsov2...rch/Baikal), the names "Caspian tiger" and "Siberian tiger" are man-made names for a race of tigers that are distinguishable from other tigers in that they inhabited temperate or fairly temperate areas, such as northern Iran, the area of Lake Baikal, and the Russian Far East, whereas other tigers, with the exception of the Himalayan Bengal tiger, inhabit hot or warm tropical areas, in the same way that "Bengal tiger" is a man-made name for a tiger that inhabits India or South Asia, whether or not South Asian tigers are closely related in the same way as Korean, Manchurian, Russian, Central Asian and West Asian tigers are.

If the great distance between the Amur tigers in Northeast Asia (Korea, Manchuria (Northeast China) and the Russian Far East) and the Caspian tigers in eastern Central Asia is enough to treat them as different subspecies, then why should the latter be treated as the same subspecies as the tigers in Southwest Asia (including Georgia and Iran), such as this Georgian or Iranian tiger (http://kavehfarrokh.com/heritage/the-las...n-georgia/)?

*This image is copyright of its original author


Luo et al.: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/articl...ne.0004125

"Tigers as a species historically ranged across Eurasia from the Sunda Islands, west through the Indian subcontinent to the Indus river and north along the Pacific seaboard to 60° NL and a wide swath of central Asia from the Russian Far East to eastern Turkey [1][2]. This wide distribution was primarily influenced by environmental changes associated with Pleistocene glaciation events [3]. Commonly known as the Caspian tiger on the basis of its type locality (N. Persia), the historic range of Panthera tigris virgata also included Trans-Caucasia and Eastern Anatolia, with the greatest population densities in the riverine tugai forest systems of Central Asia [1][2][4]. During the Middle Ages Caspian tigers were resident across the steppes of Ukraine and southern Russia [4]. Between 1920 and 1970, tiger populations throughout Central Asia declined and disappeared for reasons common to tigers elsewhere: hunting, conversion of their limited habitat to cultivation with a concomitant decline in prey, and conflict with livestock [1][4][6]. The Caspian tiger became extinct in February of 1970 when the last survivor was shot in Hakkari province, Turkey [1][7].
In the era before molecular taxonomy tiger subspecies definitions were based on classical criteria: geographical origin, gross size and pelage variation (hair length, color, stripe number and patterning) (Figure 1[3][6][8][9]. Subspecies so described were often spurious as they were sometimes based on a single, possibly aberrant, individual, or from the unknowing sampling of clinal variation [3]. Such methods led to a lack of consensus, repeated taxonomic revision, and debate [10]. Though debate continues, eight tiger subspecies (three of which are extinct) are widely recognized based on these criteria [1][2][6]. However the phylogeny of the five extant recognized tiger taxa (P. t. tigrisP. t. altaicaP. t. amoyensisP. t. sumatraeP. t. corbetti) was revisited recently using mitochondrial molecular genetics by Luo et al. [11] who affirmed the validity of subspecies ranking for these groups. Additionally, these authors identified an equivalent sub-specific taxon unique to the Malay peninsula south of the Isthmus of Kra, formerly classified within P. t. corbetti but now designated as the Malay tiger, P. t. jacksoni.


Panthera tigris virgata (Illiger, 1815) was the second tiger taxon described following the nominate Panthera tigris tigris (Linnaeus, 1758). However, because no holotype specimen of P. t. virgata exists, the relative scarcity of specimens, and the unreliability of morphological subspecies-diagnostic characters, the taxonomic validity of P. t. virgata has been questioned, its phylogenetic placement relative to other tigers is a matter of speculation, and its biogeographic origin unclear [1][3][4][6]. Here, using well provenanced museum samples and ancient DNA techniques, we explore and interpret the phylogeographic natural history of the Caspian tiger, P. t. virgata in the genetic context of the living tiger subspecies, and explore possible routes taken during tiger colonization of Central Asia.

Twenty (of 23) Caspian tiger museum samples (Table S1) were successfully sequenced for at least one segment of five mitochondrial genes – ND5ND6CytBND2, and COI (1257 bp), amplified as eight short amplicons to facilitate PCR of ancient material (see Methods). The amplification targets include 21 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), of which 14 are diagnostic (fixed differences) for subspecies affiliation in tigers [11], and include four of the four sites diagnostic for P. t. altaica, five of the seven for P. t. amoyensis, one of the three for P. t. corbetti, two of the three for P. t. tigris and both sites diagnostic for P. t. sumatrae. There are no diagnostic sites for P. t. jacksoni though we survey three signature alleles found uniquely in P.t. jacksoni.

Seventeen of twenty P. t. virgata individuals carried a single distinctive mitochondrial haplotype, while three P. t. virgata tigers (Ptv-17, 22, 23) carried autoapomorphic variants (Table 1Table S2). The amount of mtDNA variability observed in P. t. virgata (4 haplotypes/20 individuals), like P. t. altaica (1 haplotype/32 individuals), is low relative to other tiger subspecies P.t. tigris, (8 haplotypes/19 individuals); P. t. sumatrae, (10 haplotypes/31 individuals); P. t. jacksoni, (5 haplotypes/28 individuals); P. t. corbetti (5 haplotypes/33 individuals) [11][13] (Figure 2). Except for Ptv-5, housed in the Moscow Zoo but taken in the wild in Northern Iran, all Caspian tiger specimens are from individuals taken directly from the wild. Because these samples were collected between 1877 and 1951 (i.e., covering ca. 15 tiger generations) from wild tigers in China, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan (see Table S1) it is unlikely they represent the sampling of a single extended family. Moreover, since sample collection took place over the broad geographic range of the subspecies when Central Asian tiger populations were still large, albeit declining, the low endemic mtDNA diversity (relative to other subspecies) indicates that low variability was a natural genetic feature of the 19th century Caspian tiger population and not an anthropogenic effect.


To place more accurately the Caspian tiger relative to living tiger subspecies we re-assessed the phylogenetic relationships of tiger subspecies using a previously published dataset [11], but here rooted using clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa[14], leopard (Panthera pardus[15] and snow leopard (Panthera uncia[16], with the inclusion of Ptv-2, the Caspian tiger for which the longest combined sequence was available (1.26 kb) (see Methods).

The rooting imparted evolutionary polarity to the tiger family tree and showed P. t. amoyensis to be basal and P. t. altaica to be a sister group to P. t. corbetti, while the Caspian tiger haplotype was one step away from that of P. t. altaica (Figure 2). The phylogenetic placement and remarkable similarity observed between P. t. altaica and P. t. virgata indicate that the Amur tiger population is the genetically closest living relative of the extinct Caspian tiger, and strongly implies a very recent common ancestry for the two groups. Russian records from the 19th and early 20th centuries indicate that tigers were sporadically present throughout the region between the core distribution of Caspian and Amur tigers (see Figure 1) and were only hunted out in the modern era [4]. Thus, the actions of industrial-age humans may have been the critical factor in the reciprocal isolation of Caspian and Amur tigers from what was likely a single contiguous population.

The origin of the Amur tiger population is estimated at less than 10,000 years ago by molecular genetic analysis: using a rate of mitochondrial evolution calibrated on the tiger-leopard split (estimated at 2 million ya.), Luo et al. [11] inferred that the P. t. altaica population, which showed no mtDNA variation, underwent a genetic reduction less than 20,000 ya, that being the time required for a single mutation to appear. The authors then refined their age estimate of the P. t. altaica subspecies further to around 10,000 ya. using a standard curve of the relationship of microsatellite allele variance in average repeat size to elapsed time [11]. This estimate is supported by biogeographic reconstructions of tiger range covering the last 20,000 years [3]. Furthermore, paleontological evidence suggests that morphologically modern tigers occurred first around two million years ago in eastern China (in the historic range of modern P. t. amoyensis[8], suggesting that tigers in China may have comprised a stem group that gave rise to modern subspecies. Tigers only recently expanded to the Indian sub-continent (6–12 kya), the Russian Far East (late Pleistocene/Holocene) and Central Asia (Holocene) [1][3][4][10], perhaps impelled by climatic and ecological changes associated with the end of the last glacial period [3]. Therefore, if 19th century Caspian and Amur tigers comprised a single population (as supported by these genetic data), then Caspian tiger diversity (or lack thereof) would likewise date to less than 10,000 years."

This book (https://books.google.com/books?id=4HpxDw...es&f=false) has something similar to what was in my mind. Though it follows the idea of 2 subspecies, it nevertheless mentions that Continental tigers were divided into different clades, with Amur and Caspian tigers forming a "northern clade", and others, including Bengal tigers, forming a "southern clade". Considering that the Caspian and Siberian tigers inhabited the northernmost parts of the species' range, from Northeast Asia (Korea, North China and the Russian Far East) in the east, through Lake Baikal (https://archive.org/stream/mammalsofsov2...rch/Baikal) and Central Asia, to Anatolia (Turkey) and the Caucasus (on the border of Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia) in the west, and that these areas are temperate, unlike the tropical areas inhabited by their southern relatives, I would have proposed the name "Northern tiger" (Panthera tigris virgata (Illiger, 1815), synonymous with Panthera tigris altaica (Temminck, 1844)) if the tigers of the Caucasus, Middle East, Afghanistan, Central Asia and Northeast Asia had to be grouped into 1 subspecies:

Haptner and Sludskiy, page 130: https://archive.org/stream/mammalsofsov2...0/mode/2up

*This image is copyright of its original author
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Is Kailash Sankhala a tiger expert?

Introduction:
Since many months ago I was trying to make a proper post about an issue that started like a simple commentary but, for some reason, became very polemic, just like tiger conservation itself. So I took my time to read the entire book of Sankhala “Tiger! The Story of the India Tiger” again and I also saw the documentary “Project C.A.T.” from Animal Planet, which present the public figure of Sankhala and his efforts to save the Indian tiger.
 
I offered to make a post entirely about the tiger conservation in India, but I took the time to read the previous posts, from my person and others, and in fact the issue is not that, but the fact that I said that Sankhala was not a “tiger expert”, and then is when all hell break loose. Or is not? In fact, as far I remember only 7 people (including @“peter” and I) participated of this short debate and that is all, the other posters don’t even care (as far I know).  So, it was so dramatic that this affected the entire forum? Of course not, it feels more like a case of been “polite”, but it is pretty weird that the reaction of some posters here was so harsh but at the same time when other posters have spoken against Dr Karanth and the great Valmik Thapar, the reaction was like “mehhhh” and I was actually the one that defended the experts and I warned many posters that speak against them (when I was a moderator).
 
So, this post is, at some point, a waste of my very precious time, because I have so many things that I would like to share or update in the forum BUT because I promised a post about my reasons, now I am obligated to make it. Also, I feel compelled to defend, in some form, the work of all the scientists like Dr Chundawat and Dr Seindensticker, which were particularly affected by this person or the people that followed his policies, that at 2019, are nothing more than the same old forester techniques (good in its time, but outdated with the modern techniques). In fact, it was the book of Dr Chundawat of 2018 “The Rise and Fall of the Emerald Tigers” which changed my point of view of the Indian authorities regarding the tiger conservation and how some of the old ideas on the tiger behavior made by Sankhala are still affecting the modern tiger conservation. 
 
The main point of this post will be to discuss the specific reasons why I believe why Sankhala was not a tiger “expert”, but also to clarify what is, for me, an “expert” in the stricto sensu of the word.
 
What is an expert?
It is popularly known that an “expert” is a person that know very well what is doing, that have a background of studies and procedures to make his work and in this case, every person can be an “expert” in his field. Now, is Sankhala a tiger expert? Based in the previous description he is, and one of the best. However, there is something that made me doubt about this asseveration and is the methodology that he used, his conclusions and over all, his attitude about any other idea/study/result that contradicted his conclusions.
 
In the past, the classic Zoologists like Pocock, Brander, Hewett and Burton, are regarded among the best tiger experts in the field, with personal observations or taxonomic studies. Among measurements, the Maharaja of Cooch Behar is undeniably the best on this field (an expert in tiger size), and on the observations of tiger behavior, people like Jim Corbett and F. W. Champion are still regarding as very reliable observers. However, not all the people think the same. Modern Biologist, although they still use quotes from some of this people, actually discard others with no particular reason and they claim that some of the information is not reliable, like Dr Yamaguchi and Dr Karanth itself have done. However also Sankhala discarded many of that information, especially that of Corbett, which he criticize in the chapter 7 of his book. It is not out of question for any person to accept or discard information with a valid justification, and although the chapter 7 of Sankhala’s book put a serious doubt about the reputation of “man-eater” of the tigers, there is no form to justify how he express his ideas about the studies of Dr Seindesticker in Nepal and Dr Schaller in Khana in the rest of the book, disproving his results in a severe form. So the question rise, is Kailash Sankhala the right person to discard the studies of these two experts? The answer is obviously no, but for some reasons, it seems that many “tiger conservationists” think otherwise, and like a poster in this forum had showed (do I need to mention his name?), there is an internal “hate” to the westerns in many parts of the Asian continent, and they constantly discard the scientific results and methods to study the flora and fauna.
 
In the documentary “Project C.A.T.” from Animal Planet, Sankhala is described as one of the tiger saviors, if not the main one, but also they say that his character as a person was not a very “friendly” one, something that he did not try to hide in his book. It seems that, in his mind, he is the only and true tiger authority. This is not bad by itself and certainly it was necessary in that time, when it was necessary a man with a strong personality to defy the old authorities and fight to save the tiger. However, what is constantly ignored is that Sankhala was not the only man that “saved” the Indian tiger, in fact many other people from the west did pledged for the tiger salvation and conservation. IF we check the books of Thapar, Sunquist, Karanth and Chundawat, we will see that one person is constantly called like the tiger savior and is no other than Indira Gandhi, which was the real person that started the revolution in India in favor of tiger conservation. Sankhala played a very important part of this like the first direct of the Project Tiger, but also he received help from other Indian pers like H. S. Panwar or Fateh Singh, but also from wester people like Guy Mountfort, a revered British conservationists that pushed from the establishment of the “Operation Tiger” in 1969, and Peter Jackson, a person that don’t need any introduction, also then the IUCN/WWF started and aggressive effort, not only to get money for the new Project Tiger, but also to make the world know that the tiger needed help. So, it was a complete team of people, from many nationalities, leaded by Indira, which actually managed to “save” the tiger from the extinction. While this is well stablished by modern tiger scientists, it was forgotten by the Indian authorities, and called only a “Tiger man” when actually should be a “Tiger team”.
 
Returning to the point, we know that Sankhala was a Biologist that received college education, so he had education and a backup for his forestry studies. However, like I said before, his methods and conclusions were somewhat dubious, especially by the fact that he presented them as the absolute “true” and not like a result of his specific observations, in a specific region in a specific time. Interestingly is not his book with his results that is normally quoted as the main tiger study, but the book of Dr George Schaller “The Deer and the Tiger”. Sankhala can be called a “tiger man” but the book of Schaller is called “the Bible of tiger conservation” and this is quoted by no other than the great Vamik Thapar, and is mentioned as the only truly scientific tiger study in India until the work of Dr Ullas Karanth started in Nagarahole and the 90’s.
 
Check this list of books that I have in physical form and also in digital one:
1. Tiger, the ultimate guide – Valmik Thapar
2. Tiger – Stephen Mills
3. The Way of the tiger – Ullas Karanth
4. Tiger Moon – Fiona and Melvin Sunquist
5. The Face of the tiger – Charles McDougal
6. Tigers – John Seidensticker
7. The Social Organization of Tigers (Panthera tigris) in Royal Chitawan National Park, Nepal – Mel Sunquist
8. Riding the Tiger: Tiger Conservation in Human-Dominated Landscapes – Seidensticker et al, 1999.
9. Tiger – Simon Barnes
10. The Rise and Fall of the Emerald Tigers – Raghu Chundawat.
 
These are the scientific books and documents (among a few others, like the two editions of the book “Tigers of the World”) that form the base of the tiger knowledge, the REAL tiger, excluding personal interpretations based in single sights and old zoologist/hunter reports. The interesting is that all this books recognize that the first scientific study in India was the one of Dr Schaller and the second the one of Dr Karanth, that tiger conservation started with the leadership of Indira Gandhi and none of them quote Sankhala as source of information for wild tigers, none! In fact, I found that his information on captive tigers is used by some of those authors, but that is all. So, was this a revenge for his attitude against westerners? Certainly I don’t think that at all, but we must see something very important here and is that despite the slight differences of the results in some of them studies, all of them follow about the same line of tiger study and is that the tiger is an adaptive animal that follow some ecological rules and many of them conclusions match between them, something that sadly, do not happen with Sankhala.
 
Follow this line, I can say that Sankhala fit among the classic zoologist of the past, in the place of honor of Pocock, Brander, Hewett, Burton, Corbett and Champion, which provided very good information about tiger behavior but that need to be reviewed before to be quoted. These are tiger “experts” in lato sensu, they lived and observed tigers, they placed they conclusions and are still mentioned in tiger literature, but in my point of view are not the “experts” that we need now. Many of they observations were made only a few times, or only once, and that can’t be classified as “fact”, they methods were not validated by pers and although we can use them as reliable, they conclusions are easily challenged, like Sankhala himself done with Corbett (not directly, but definitely he challenge the idea that Corbett was a tiger “conservationist”). In stricto sensu, I am with the group of people that started using scientific methodology and that begin with Schaller, those that made several studies in Biology, that presented they methodologies and studies in full, and that continue growing the tiger “knowledge”. I will dare to include Valmik Thapar here too, as his continuous observations and gather of information leaded him to create a very good “scientific” study of the tigers of Ranthambore. I have said many times that all the modern naturalists and photographers should join all they observations and knowledge and summarize them in books or forums, so they results could be studies and dissected by they pers and will be very useful for the “tiger-science”.
 
In conclusion, that is the reason why I can’t take Sankhala as a tiger “expert”, he was a great observer, that for sure, and his book is beautiful but his conclusions of the tiger behavior are so authoritatively presented that we forget that are incorrectly or incompletely done, leading to errors that may cause damage to tiger conservation. Every person has the right to read and make they own conclusions, after all the books are readily available for any person and anybody can buy it in Amazon/Ebay/etc…, but this is MY personal opinion.
 
If you, the reader, are going to buy a book about the tiger and you want good scientific information, I will recommend you any of the books that I quoted before. But if you want to read the book of Sankhala, it will be a good choice, but you will need to check with all the previous references just to see if the information of the tiger is correct or not. About the tiger cohabitants I can’t make a judgement, as I can only compare it with Dr Schaller’s book, and I can tell you that the information on the deers, gaur and antelopes in the last book is way more extended than in the Sankhala’s book.
 
The Good and the Bad
@“peter” told me that in my answer it will be good if I leave it with a series of open questions, so the reader will be free to get they own conclusions, I was agree, but I feel that will leave open doubts about the real content of the book of Sankhala. So I decided to change the last part and actually disclose the specific points where I see that Sankhala presents incorrect information/conclusions, but also, for the sake of “fairness” I also going to include the good points about Sankhala investigation, and believe me, there are many of them. In this form I will show that I don’t think that Sankhala misinformed the reader on purpose in any form, is only that he tried to present his study like the “last word” on the tiger, which was sadly not the case, and I think that Sankhala was just a victim of his own “pride” and instead of accepting the other two studies about tigers at his time (Chitwan and Kanha) to increase his information, like all the modern scientists have done (especially those from Russia, which perfectly blended the old Russian zoologist information with the modern Russian/USA studies), he just rejected them and by consequence (indirectly), all his conclusions about tigers in the WILD were rejected by modern scientists too.  The following analysis will cover the “Bad” and the “Good” of the information about tigers in his book “Tiger! The Story of the Indian Tiger” of 1977. I can’t scan each page and I apologize for that, but those who have the book can check that what I am going to share is true to the publication of Sankhala and the publications of the other sources that I will use for comparison. If someone needs a scan of a specific page or series of pages, you can ask for it and I will try to do my best to put it here ASAP. Ok, here we go…….
 
* The Bad:
First we going to review the “bad” things about Sankhala’s investigation/conclusions about tigers, some of them are very small, but some of them of great importance in tiger conservation.
 
1. Tiger stripes for identification:
In page 24 Sankhala mention that George Schaller working in Kahna depended on the markings around the eyes to identify tigers, but he says that as this differ on each side and can also look differently depending of the mood of the tiger and the angle from which they are viewed, the application of this method is very limited in general.
 
However, while his claim makes sense at some points, it makes me think why he discarded this method of identification and promoted the method of using foot markings. He accept that is very hard to do it and we need experts, but at the end, it is useless for long term monitoring or even worst, is silly to use it for tiger census. Also, Dr Schaller and Dr McDougal use this method (face marks) very well, and the last one even present a series of draws of those markings that we can see in page 51 of his book “The Face of the Tiger”. In fact the use of face and even body markings is now the base of the new tiger census and Dr Karanth reach it to the next level, using even equations to estimate the tiger numbers trough the method of capture and recapture. However, again, it seems that the many naturalists of the Indian government and park rangers still ignore these methods and like Dr Karanth says: “We both continue to strongly believe that the scientific process of peer review and publication in high-quality journals should guide the choice of appropriate methods for monitoring tigers and their prey. Therefore, we are somewhat dismayed that, in spite of availability of superior methods, tiger conservation practitioners are sometimes slow to adopt them or even use demonstrably flawed or obsolete methodologies. We believe this is largely because of intellectual inertia, rather than resource constraints, given the current levels of investment. Unfortunately, we can offer no methodological cure for this problem” (Karanth & Nichols, 2017).
 
2. Tiger smell marks:
It seems obvious, even for “beginners” that tiger communicate they presence and demark territory using marks of urine and feces. However that is not the case for Sankhala. In page 27 to 29 he describe how poor is the smell of the tiger, so much that he describe an experiment when he use a dead pig hidden in the tiger place and says that the tigers failed to found it. It is accepted by many scientist that the main senses used to hunt are eyes and earing, but Dr Siedensticker describes an event in page 37 of his book “Tigers” of 1996, when the tigers 101 (the first one to be radiocollared in the world) found a boar using both sound and scent. But at the end, tigers do not normally relay in smell to found prey, but what happen with the demarcation? Well, according with Sankhala the tiger’s feces and urine do not have any smell, the smell came from the tiger itself! In page 28 and 29 he described how he searched a tigress in this form and he concludes that is a defense mechanism and in page 28 he says that the grimace face that the tiger made is not related with the courtship or mating or territorialism and that the same expression can be obtained spraying the tiger whit its own urine. He also says that he personally smelled the urine of the tigers in the zoo and did not found any smell!!!
 
But what the other tiger experts says? Well Valmik Thapar from page 102 to 106 of his book “Tiger the Ultimage Guide” of 2004 perfectly explain how the tiger use the urine with other fluids to mark the territory and contrary to Sankhala claim, he clearly describe a smell that is musky and strong. Thapar says: “The smell can last for up to forty days and is an excellent indication of how recently a tiger has passed by and whether or not the area is occupied” (Thappar, 2004; page 103). He also describes how the flehmen is used to identify the sex, age, health status and disposition of the tiger. So, how is that Sankhala did not identify any smell?
 
Other testimony is from Steven Mills in his book “Tiger” from 2004, which in page 79 to 81 describe the same information shared by Thappar. He quotes Schaller’s opinion that the smell was “very musky” and that “it was discernible even to the human nose at a distance”. Mills says: “The “marking fluids” has since been studied by two scientists, R. L. Brahmachary and J. Dutta (in Tigers of the World), who have found that, though its base is uric acid, the more existing scents are probably carried in some of the other components of the fluid, including chemicals like phenylethylamine, cadaverine and putrescine. Somewhere in there are pheromones, the chemicals that stimulate animals in their sexual activities” (Mills, 2004). He also describes a mark found by Dr Dave Smith that he personally smelled and described it like “damp and musky”.
 
Finally, but not the last, Dr Sunquist in his monograph of 1981 of the tigers in Chitwan, explain how tigers use the pages 60 and 61 describe the method used by tigers and also describe how the tigers try to renew the marks at least every 3 to 4 days, depending of they travels through the territory (I don’t remember the specific page of this, but is in the monograph).
 
In conclusion, in this point, we can clearly see that the conclusion of Sankhala is incorrect, again, and that thanks to the testimonies of other experts we can see why the tiger use this type of chemical communication.
 
3. The tiger is a wanderer
Following his idea that tigers are not territorial, in page 30 he says that the tiger is a “wanderer” that “wanders with no definite plan in mind”. However he says that “within his “home range” he has a mental note of such features as day shelters, waterholes and places where food may be expected”. This sound contradictory, and again is corrected by other experts.
 
Dr Seidensticker (1996) in page 38 to 42 of his book “Tigers” describe how the tigress 101 used known trails and made use of them are highways, and adapted his activities according the prey changes. Also Dr Karanth in his book “The Way of the Tiger” in page 56 exemplify that “resident” tigers have known trails and travel less than the “transients” which for obvious reasons need to wander for large tracks. In this case, we can see that Sankhala is partially correct, but with resident tigers this is not the case, as they travel to known places to hunt and if they fail, they change to other known place. They not just wander randomly, but try to search known patterns of prey, but at the same time always looking for any potential prey that the can found.
 
4. Tigers are not territorial
This is the main point of many discussions and at some point is a very polemic topic. Sankhala took his time to explain why he think that all tigers are not territorial and from page 39 to 43 he describes why he think that tigers are not territorial and that more. In page 39 and 40, he mentions that case of the radiocollared tiger “Sundar” that was translocated in the Sundarband region and at the end was found dead. Sankhala says that he believe that the tiger died from the drugs and was scavenged by wild boars, while Dr Seidensticker said that the tigers was killed by other tiger in a territory fight. Whatever happened we can see it in the document of Dr Seindensticker, but the point is that then Sankhala says that tigers are not territorial and that they do not defend any home range (this case was mentioned by the poster @“Paul Cooper”). He quotes an experiment when he put baits for tigers and they were within range or earing and the tigers do not care of each other. He also quotes testimonies of several tigers sharing the same area of kills. But, is this enough evidence to say that?
 
I made a little summary in this link: https://wildfact.com/forum/topic-tigers-...al-animals
 
I am going to copy the same here, with just some minor added information.
 
Tigers, like all the members of the Felidae family (except for the lion and cheetah), are solitary and territorial. However, there is some plasticity in the behavior of this animal, depending of many factors like prey density, habitat type and even "personal" behavior. Here I am going to share a little summary of the results of scientific studies regarding the social behavior of tigers in the Indian Subcontinent and Russia.
 
Kanha:
George Schaller was the first one that made a scientific study about tigers and its prey in the Indian subcontinent. His pioneer work is still the guide for many modern studies on tigers. He was only about one year in Kanha and he found that male tigers were territorials but that females were not, so male had "territories" while females only had "home ranges". Females shared its territory with other females except for the core areas of the home ranges. He also found that tigers were tolerant with its cubs and even shared a kill with his family (female and his cubs), but for some reason this observations were ignored for long time. So, tigers in Kanha had this social structure until the 80's, as Sunquist (1981) quote Panwar (1979) saying that after the recovery of Kanha and the new higher prey level, the tigresses began to be territorial, avoiding any contact with other females. This is the behavior found in the Nepal tigresses, which suggested that a good prey base allow tigers to be more independent and became more territorial.
 
Chitwan:
The Nepal Tiger project found that tigers in Nepal are highly territorial but the females do share they home ranges with her daughters, although sometimes there are conflicts. However, it took time to found this information. At the beginning Dr Charles McDougal (1977) believed that there was some degree of overlap between the females and that they were not territorial, however at the light of the new evidence of the radio-collared tigers he wrote an Postscript in page 165 of his book where he accepted that the home ranges of the tigresses were in fact “Territories” that are defended from other females. Dr Mel Sunquist, in his document of 1981, using radio-collared tigers, found that males are territorial and that females also have delimited territories but his sample was small. Latter Dr Dave Smith and others (1987 - 1993) found that the conclusions of Dr Sunquist were correct: male tigers are highly territorial and only allow the presence of they own sons for a short time, but nor from other males which they will expel from they territories; female tigers are also territorial but may share here territory with her daughters, although sometimes the daughters may displace they own mothers from the territory, like the case of female T-01. Females form "family clusters" like lionesses prides but each female in her own territory, even Sunquist believed that if the habitat where the same, tigers have the entire capacity to live like in groups like lions. They also found evidence of conflicts between tigers, but while this were minimum at the beginning (Sunquist, 1981) they became more serious, especially after the death of the "king" tiger M-105 (Sauraha male), and that showed that the presence of a strong male is very important for the stability of the area, especially for the females in order to produce cubs (Seindensticker, 1996). Also the larger population of Nepal tigers and the short space increased the conflicts and by the 90’s started the cases of Man-eater tigers, something that in the time of Dr Sunquist was almost unthinkable. Overall, Nepal is the best example of the "normal" tiger ecology and behavior, with a good prey base and some of the smallest territories on record. 
 
Ranthambore:
In Ranthambore, the habitat situation was different, it is more open, and is possible to follow the tigers at eye sight, something that is not possible with tigers in Nepal as the habitat is too close (Sunquist, pers. comm.). Valmik Thapar together with many other observers provide us the only long terms visual study that may compete with the Nepal Tiger Project, not only for its time frame, but also for the information obtained. In the series of books from Mr Thapar he was able to describe the ecology of the tigers and is very interesting. Thapar was the first one to describe the role of the "father" in the tiger society in his book "The Secret Life of Tigers" and he found that males DO protect they cubs and take care of them if the female is not present, he hypothesize that males protect its territory not only to preserve its females but also to protect its cubs, and the time showed how correct he is. He also saw males sharing its kills with them families, even allowing the females and cubs to eat before them, something that is not recorded even in the social male lion! In the book "Tiger: portrait of a predator" he described a reunion of nine tigers over a prey (a large nilgai) and all the tigers ate from the kill in order, with no conflict and all the feeding was regulated by the older female, the one that made the kill. He found that all the animals were related except for one, and this case was also presented in the book "Tiger: the ultimate guide". However, I found that in the book "The secret life of Tigers" Thapar do shows that that "unknown" tiger was in fact, a relative of the group, so what he saw in that moment was a "pride" behavior at a kill of related tigers, but the tigers showed a more "advance" for of sharing the kill, with no fights or conflicts (evidence of the use of they larger brains?). At the end, he got to the same conclusions that the tigers of Nepal: Male and female tigers are territorials, but males may share its territory with them sons and females do divide her territory with her daughters, however there are conflicts and severe fights may happen. New observations from modern naturalists showed male tigers sharing kills and also taking care of the cubs when the female is dead, but is sad that all this observations are scattered and not compiled in books like Mr Thapar done.
 
Panna:
The Panna studies are the first one done in the dry forests of central India. There Dr Ragu Chundawat found that the tigers were also territorial like in Nepal, but the females were not entirely and there was a great overlap between them except for a core area, just like the case of Kanha in the time of Schaller. This may be because of the prey base, which is lower than in Chitwan and Ranthambore, but also is important to show that the radio-collared tigresses were a mother and her daughters, so that may explain why the females shared some areas. Males are territorial and do not allowed any other male, but as the territory is too large (about 250 square Km) some areas can't be watched all the time and he found some transient males in the areas, that avoided the large territorial males. However conflict raised when there are females in heat and the males following them fight each other. The large male M-125 (Madla male) lost an eye in one of those conflicts. His studies were incomplete because all the tigers of Panna started to disappear and when Dr Chundawat requested for assistance to investigate the case, the park rangers ignored him and even "kick out" him from the park, the result was that Panna, like Sariska, lost all its tigers. However, with the reintroduction of tiger in Panna, Sarkar et al. (2016) found that the "new" tigers "behaved almost exactly the same way as that of native populations, offering support for reintroduction strategies."
 
New information: Dr Chundawat’s new book of 2018 compile all the information about his study in Panna and after reading it I could see that his conclusions are incredible as he found that the tigress of Panna are the territorial ones and do not allow any other tigress in they area, however the mother can amicably share some boundaries with her older daughters for short periods. Also two sisters formed a coalition for several months and not only managed to expel an older female from her territory but also hunted and lived together. Finally, although the male tigers are territorial, there are less aggressive than females, are more shy to humans and travel great distances, in fact Chundawat conclude that based in the evidence, male tigers are by no means lazy and in fact, they are great travelers to check they territory. However, there are some other members of the tiger group, the floaters, which are probably the now adult cubs of the resident females that, at not found any new territory they are forced to return to the park and they live not like “residents” but also not as “transients”. The have defined home range areas but they do not mark, they do not roar and are practically like “ghosts” for the resident adults, Chundawat called them the “leopard tigers” and he regretted that he could never radiocollarred one of them to understand his dynamics. In fact, he saw many instances when the territorial male ended the mating sessions with the local tigresses and latter one of the “leopard tigers”, a young male mated with the same tigresses and the territorial male never know of the “cheating”.  Mills (2004) mention an instance in Chitwan with the male 105 (The Sauraha male) that “tolerated” a young male in his territory until he tried to mate with a resident female and he expelled him from his territory. However with the new evidence of Panna, is possible that it was another “leopard tiger” that lived in the Sauraha male territory and made the error or follow his passions for a tigress in heat and was finally found by the territorial male an paid the price. This relation of territorial animals living with “ghosts” tigers that do not show they presence is another example of how tigers need to adapt themselves to the changing situations.   
 
Nagarahole:
In Nagarahole, Dr Ullas Karanth made a study with radio-collared tigers but his results were incredible. While the female was territorial, the males were not. In fact, in his book "The Way of the Tiger" Dr Karanth presented this conclusion, together with some form other studies, but please take in count that his data about Panna and the Russian Far East needs to be updated:
 

*This image is copyright of its original author
 

*This image is copyright of its original author
 
 
It seems that the tigers in Nagarahole do not show exactly the same behavior than the Chitwan tigers, but we must note that he don't knew if the males T-03 and T-04 were relatives of not, which may be posible based in the relations between male tigers in Chitwan and Ranthambore. Dr Karanth continues his studies so more information may be available in the future.
 
Sikhote Alin:
In the Russian Far East, the tigers should show a different behavior, especially because of the difference of habitat and prey density. The first Russian studies from Baikov do not focused too much in tiger territoriality and Heptner & Sludskii (1992) which compile all the available information in Russian literature, shows that tiger home range did overlap extensively. However, the new studies made by The Siberian Tiger Project show something different. It seems that despite the habitat difference and low prey density, male tigers are still territorial and although the overlap exists, this is still minimum. The same case happen with females, with some overlap but this is also minimum and tigers do not migrate to follow prey. Dr Dave Miquelle and Dr John Goodrich made an excellent work in the Russian Far East and shows that tigers in the area, despite the huge differences in habitat, do behave about the same than those in the Indian Subcontinent (Goodrich et al., 2010). Check the conclusions in Sunquist (2010):
 

*This image is copyright of its original author
 
Now check this table, which corroborate Dr Sunqusit conclusion, this is from (Goodrich et al., 2010):
 

*This image is copyright of its original author
 
We can see that all tigers are territorial in the Indian Subcontinent and the Russian Far East. The case of Kanha was already explained and now the females are territorial too. The case of Sumatra must be taken with caution as is very important to know if the tigers in the camera traps are related or not.
 
Also check this famous picture:
 

*This image is copyright of its original author
 
It seems that male Amur tigers shows the same protective/sharing behavior of the tigers in the Indian subcontinent. Trough time, more information will clarify the situation.
 
Mills (2004) dedicate a complete chapter 71 to 89 to explain the social section of the tigers. He made a good, but at some point, estrange explanation about what means to be a territorial animal, good because is perfect to understand the term but estrange because he use herbivores, birds and hyenas, but no cat species. At the end, in page 83 to 85 he concluded that tigresses live in clusters of related females and that will explain why the fights are very rare, but also quote the example about the tigress Maachli and how territorial she was. It seems contradictory that in this chapter he concluded that tigers are territorial or not depending of the region, habitat and even “personalities”, but latter he says that tigers only use home range. He concluded the same with male tigers in page 86 to 86, with the only difference that his example of the young tiger “Mahala Bahle” that lived “amicably” with the “Saraha male” is probably incorrect, as at the light of new evidence of Panna, we can see that even when tigers lived in the same area, this “leopard tigers”, which are resident but do not make territorial marks and no sound at all, they can live in the nose of the territorial one and they will not even note them, until they make a mistake or they gain enough strength to fight for the territory.
 
In conclusion, with this information, we can see that tigers are solitary but not antisocial. They are territorial animals that protect its habitat but that can be flexible if the habitat requires it. Tigers are able to congregate in groups in exceptional situations, but normally prefer to be solitary as is more economic to take care of yourself in an habitat that is too close to coordinate an attack and where large preys live at low densities. Females priority is a good habitat with enough prey density to feed her and her cubs, they will share the habitat with her daughters like a big scattered "pride" and may be together in exceptional cases. Males priority are large territories with enough females to mate, they may tolerate its male offspring as long as they don't attempt to mate with its females and certainly both, males and females, will not tolerate estrange tigers, because they may kill the cubs and take over the territory if they can. Fights between tigers are not the norm but do happen and are lethal, but they prefer to use they specialized method of socializing at distance. Even the lack of aggression when they are together and feeding in family may be evidence of the high degree of cephalization of this species, in comparison with the other Panthera members (Yamaguchi et al., 2009).
 
We can see that the experiment of Sankhala was taken out of context, he did not know the social status of these tigers, he don’t mention the sex, he don’t describe the age, did he knew if they were relatives? Did he observed if where territorial, transient of “leopard tigers”? Yes, some of this information was found recently, but even then, we can see how a simple and incomplete methodology derived to him that got erroneous conclusions.
 
5. Tigers do not urinate in the water
In page 72 he made an interesting observation, he says that tigers do not urinate in the water as tigers are extremely clean animals.
 
However, if you speak with the personal of Big Cat Rescue, for example, you will see that cleaning the pool of the tigers is a mayor situation, as tigers constantly defecate and urinate in the water. In fact, in the documentary of the BBC “Tiger – Spy in the jungle” we can clearly see how the tiger cubs urinate in the water and David Attenborough says that they do this to avoid other predators, they keep themselves hidden in any form.
 
6. Sundarbans tiger population
In page 88 Sankhala says that the highest concentration of tigers in India was in Sundarbans. However, he based his estimation in the pug mark method. Latter in Dr Monirul H. Khan (in Thapar, 2004) in page 94 to 95 describe how scientific methods estimate a very low density of tigers in the area, and by no means is the best tiger habitat.
 
Also Dr Karanth in his document “Tiger Ecology and Conservation in the Indian Subcontinent”, at the JBNHS Vol. 100 (page 170), states that among the current myths about tigers is the idea that “the largest wild tiger population in the world exists in Sundarbans”. There are some documents that states that the population in that area can be very large, but based in evidence like photographic capture and recapture, habitat quality and prey base, the habitat is not quite good to sustain a very large tiger population, even they morphology changed according with.
 
7. Schaller and leopards
Although this is not an error, it shows how harsh was Sankhala when he speak of other’s studies. In page 114 and 115 he mention that, in relation with tiger and leopard relationship, he says that the evidence of coexistence of leopards with lions in Gir, which should be the same case with tigers, “amply disproves George Schaller’s conclusion that leopards tend to be scarce when tigers abound and vice versa”.
 
Again, he goes after the conclusions of the only scientific study done in India at that point (until 1990 with Dr Karanth). He seems to be quite sure that this “coexistence” happens exactly in the same form in the entire Indian subcontinent. But in fact, the relation between tigers and leopards change depending of the area. In Nepal the tigers suppress, at some point, the leopard population so they live in the periphery areas, while in Nagarahole they coexist just with differences in prey base. Dr Karanth in his book “The Way of the Tiger” in page 64, make a good summarization of this relationship, but all the comparative studies conclude that whatever is the case, tigers dominate leopards.
 
Well, these are the specific points where I found that Sankhala made incorrect interpretation of the information and were we need backup of the new scientist to correct his information. It is interesting to mention that in page 101 of his book he says that the swamp deer or Barasingha is a stupid animal that do not know how to manage predators. I don’t know of any report of such a behavior in old literature and I don’t remember Dr Schaller mentioning anything about this. So, it will be interesting to see if the information is correct or not.
 
* The Good:
Now let’s see the good points on Sankhala book, this just for the sake of “fairness” in the discussion.
 
1. Tiger camouflage:
In page 25 he made a good analysis about why a predator that hunt mostly in the night will need such a camouflage and he concluded that is a form to avoid been found by the prey and disturb them in the day. It is a conclusion that makes sense, but also we must remember that tigers mostly hunted in the night not only for thermoregulation or to surprise the prey, but also because of the humans.
 
2. Tiger eating:
In page 34 to 36 Sankhala made a good description about how a tiger eats and the time that it takes to eat. Also he describe that tigers eat in intervals and not gorge itself in one session. He concludes that the amount of meat can be up to 20-30 kg but is just a calculation. By the way there is an interesting report of Dr Chundawat about the tiger food intake, I will post that information when will be relevant.
 
3. Mother eats at the end:
I don’t remember this point in other books, so I think is good to include it like a positive point. In page 36 to 37 and 73, Sankhala describes that the tigress always let the cubs eat first and that he found this observations in the wild and in captivity. In fact, he says that tigresses sometimes submit to her sons at a prey to give them courage to defend they prey. He also describe the act of regurgitate food from the tigress to her cubs in page 72-73.
 
4. Tigers eat dead cubs:
Is interesting that Sankhala says that he don’t know of any case, in the wild or in captivity, of tigresses eating they young, even been dead. He says that happen in lions, but not in tigers. I think that is fair to say that he never observed this case, but sadly it happens and Dr Karanth ad Valmik Thappar described these rare events very well.
 
5. Water is adaptive:
In page 77 and 78 I found a very interesting suggestion. Sankhala says that the likeness of water by the tigers is more an adaptive behavior than something innate to the species. He described the events of tigresses teaching they cubs to get to the water. Again, I don’t remember of a book mentioning this case.
 
6. Balance of nature:
We know that Sankhala believed that to save the tiger, the only thing that we needed to do is to leave the tiger and the nature alone and they will take care. At some point is correct, but sadly in such an anthropogenic country like India, this sounds more like a future dream than a present reality. He quote two events in page 97 and 127 about how the high populations of wild boars and gaurs are controlled by diseases and how they can recover after these vents.
 
7. Man-eaters, critics and the distorted image of the tiger:
If there is something that actually changed my mind about the man-eater cases in the chapter 7 of his book. Contrary to all the modern books, Sankhala dare to challenge the idea created by Jim Corbett about him man-eaters born, or even if they exited at all. He says that the number may be not entirely real as many of those deaths could be from many other reasons and they just blamed the tigers with no evidence. I can say that Sankhala made a good defense and that chapter is a very good reason to buy the book (maybe I can scan the entire chapter and put it here, it’s worth the reading).  Also in page 197 he defends the Project Tiger when it was labeled as “not scientifically perfect”. I think that those comments from westerners settle the path to his intolerance to foreign comments on the project and the tiger itself. Finally in page 210 he express a good idea, he says: “For one thing, I would like to see the shikar books which have distorted the tiger’s image removed from the bookshelves – though I admit that at present I do not know how to do it!” I must admit that I have the same idea, but regarding all the forums in the web full of lies and misinformation about the tiger, created by people that hate tigers and are fans of lions-bears-crocodiles, etc. etc. etc. So I share the same idea of Sankhala, to clean the tiger’s image ones for all.
 
Final conclusion:
Kailash Sankhala was an especial man, it was a very important person in the fight to save the tiger and based on his efforts with Project Tiger and for fighting about the entire system to save the great cat, he erns the title of the “Tiger man of India”.
 
His book is great and I can say that the graphics, especially those in pages 46-47, 84-85, 94-95 and 202, are among the best that I have ever saw and help to understand the tiger ecology much more. I can say that Sankhala is the last of the classic tiger experts, and although his information is important, we must take in count that there are things that are incorrect, and personally that put doubt in my mind.
 
Previously @“peter” says that our distrust of Sankhala book came from the fact that he support the lion in a fight with the tiger (page 118 and 119), or the fact that he quoted him like a source of evidence in the topic of “tiger vs dhole”, but as we can see, that is not the case at all. There are several points that show that despite his passion and love for the tiger, his conclusions were not perfect and that is why I am biased to the new studies, that started with Dr Schaller and that still continue in some areas of tiger territory.
 
As you know, I always try to focus my conclusions on the modern tiger literature, other like @“peter” often use the old literature, like those histories of tigers in the JBNHS. In fact, the last book of Valmik Thapar called “Tiger Fire: 500 Years of the Tiger in India” of 2017 is a perfect blend between the very first reports of tigers by the Emperor Babur until the last tiger studies of modern scientists like Dr Chundawat. I will definitely buy this book and will be interesting to see what we can get and learn from it.
 
Now, is this going to be my last post? I think not, but how the moderators are going to take it is a different story. Am I going to touch this topic again? Certainly not, like I say at the begging of this post, doing all this was a waste of valuable time that I could use to other things like to finish the new tables on tiger sizes, to update topics that I created like the Ngandong tiger or the share new information like that on tiger ecology in the book of Dr Chundawat in 2018. Let’s see what happen in the future, and from my part, I always whish the best to all.
 
Greetings and cheers, and until next Monday, with the help of God. Happy
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(07-09-2019, 11:39 AM)GuateGojira Wrote: Is Kailash Sankhala a tiger expert?

Introduction:
Since many months ago I was trying to make a proper post about an issue that started like a simple commentary but, for some reason, became very polemic, just like tiger conservation itself. So I took my time to read the entire book of Sankhala “Tiger! The Story of the India Tiger” again and I also saw the documentary “Project C.A.T.” from Animal Planet, which present the public figure of Sankhala and his efforts to save the Indian tiger.
 
I offered to make a post entirely about the tiger conservation in India, but I took the time to read the previous posts, from my person and others, and in fact the issue is not that, but the fact that I said that Sankhala was not a “tiger expert”, and then is when all hell break loose. Or is not? In fact, as far I remember only 7 people (including @“peter” and I) participated of this short debate and that is all, the other posters don’t even care (as far I know).  So, it was so dramatic that this affected the entire forum? Of course not, it feels more like a case of been “polite”, but it is pretty weird that the reaction of some posters here was so harsh but at the same time when other posters have spoken against Dr Karanth and the great Valmik Thapar, the reaction was like “mehhhh” and I was actually the one that defended the experts and I warned many posters that speak against them (when I was a moderator).
 
So, this post is, at some point, a waste of my very precious time, because I have so many things that I would like to share or update in the forum BUT because I promised a post about my reasons, now I am obligated to make it. Also, I feel compelled to defend, in some form, the work of all the scientists like Dr Chundawat and Dr Seindensticker, which were particularly affected by this person or the people that followed his policies, that at 2019, are nothing more than the same old forester techniques (good in its time, but outdated with the modern techniques). In fact, it was the book of Dr Chundawat of 2018 “The Rise and Fall of the Emerald Tigers” which changed my point of view of the Indian authorities regarding the tiger conservation and how some of the old ideas on the tiger behavior made by Sankhala are still affecting the modern tiger conservation. 
 
The main point of this post will be to discuss the specific reasons why I believe why Sankhala was not a tiger “expert”, but also to clarify what is, for me, an “expert” in the stricto sensu of the word.
 
What is an expert?
It is popularly known that an “expert” is a person that know very well what is doing, that have a background of studies and procedures to make his work and in this case, every person can be an “expert” in his field. Now, is Sankhala a tiger expert? Based in the previous description he is, and one of the best. However, there is something that made me doubt about this asseveration and is the methodology that he used, his conclusions and over all, his attitude about any other idea/study/result that contradicted his conclusions.
 
In the past, the classic Zoologists like Pocock, Brander, Hewett and Burton, are regarded among the best tiger experts in the field, with personal observations or taxonomic studies. Among measurements, the Maharaja of Cooch Behar is undeniably the best on this field (an expert in tiger size), and on the observations of tiger behavior, people like Jim Corbett and F. W. Champion are still regarding as very reliable observers. However, not all the people think the same. Modern Biologist, although they still use quotes from some of this people, actually discard others with no particular reason and they claim that some of the information is not reliable, like Dr Yamaguchi and Dr Karanth itself have done. However also Sankhala discarded many of that information, especially that of Corbett, which he criticize in the chapter 7 of his book. It is not out of question for any person to accept or discard information with a valid justification, and although the chapter 7 of Sankhala’s book put a serious doubt about the reputation of “man-eater” of the tigers, there is no form to justify how he express his ideas about the studies of Dr Seindesticker in Nepal and Dr Schaller in Khana in the rest of the book, disproving his results in a severe form. So the question rise, is Kailash Sankhala the right person to discard the studies of these two experts? The answer is obviously no, but for some reasons, it seems that many “tiger conservationists” think otherwise, and like a poster in this forum had showed (do I need to mention his name?), there is an internal “hate” to the westerns in many parts of the Asian continent, and they constantly discard the scientific results and methods to study the flora and fauna.
 
In the documentary “Project C.A.T.” from Animal Planet, Sankhala is described as one of the tiger saviors, if not the main one, but also they say that his character as a person was not a very “friendly” one, something that he did not try to hide in his book. It seems that, in his mind, he is the only and true tiger authority. This is not bad by itself and certainly it was necessary in that time, when it was necessary a man with a strong personality to defy the old authorities and fight to save the tiger. However, what is constantly ignored is that Sankhala was not the only man that “saved” the Indian tiger, in fact many other people from the west did pledged for the tiger salvation and conservation. IF we check the books of Thapar, Sunquist, Karanth and Chundawat, we will see that one person is constantly called like the tiger savior and is no other than Indira Gandhi, which was the real person that started the revolution in India in favor of tiger conservation. Sankhala played a very important part of this like the first direct of the Project Tiger, but also he received help from other Indian pers like H. S. Panwar or Fateh Singh, but also from wester people like Guy Mountfort, a revered British conservationists that pushed from the establishment of the “Operation Tiger” in 1969, and Peter Jackson, a person that don’t need any introduction, also then the IUCN/WWF started and aggressive effort, not only to get money for the new Project Tiger, but also to make the world know that the tiger needed help. So, it was a complete team of people, from many nationalities, leaded by Indira, which actually managed to “save” the tiger from the extinction. While this is well stablished by modern tiger scientists, it was forgotten by the Indian authorities, and called only a “Tiger man” when actually should be a “Tiger team”.
 
Returning to the point, we know that Sankhala was a Biologist that received college education, so he had education and a backup for his forestry studies. However, like I said before, his methods and conclusions were somewhat dubious, especially by the fact that he presented them as the absolute “true” and not like a result of his specific observations, in a specific region in a specific time. Interestingly is not his book with his results that is normally quoted as the main tiger study, but the book of Dr George Schaller “The Deer and the Tiger”. Sankhala can be called a “tiger man” but the book of Schaller is called “the Bible of tiger conservation” and this is quoted by no other than the great Vamik Thapar, and is mentioned as the only truly scientific tiger study in India until the work of Dr Ullas Karanth started in Nagarahole and the 90’s.
 
Check this list of books that I have in physical form and also in digital one:
1. Tiger, the ultimate guide – Valmik Thapar
2. Tiger – Stephen Mills
3. The Way of the tiger – Ullas Karanth
4. Tiger Moon – Fiona and Melvin Sunquist
5. The Face of the tiger – Charles McDougal
6. Tigers – John Seidensticker
7. The Social Organization of Tigers (Panthera tigris) in Royal Chitawan National Park, Nepal – Mel Sunquist
8. Riding the Tiger: Tiger Conservation in Human-Dominated Landscapes – Seidensticker et al, 1999.
9. Tiger – Simon Barnes
10. The Rise and Fall of the Emerald Tigers – Raghu Chundawat.
 
These are the scientific books and documents (among a few others, like the two editions of the book “Tigers of the World”) that form the base of the tiger knowledge, the REAL tiger, excluding personal interpretations based in single sights and old zoologist/hunter reports. The interesting is that all this books recognize that the first scientific study in India was the one of Dr Schaller and the second the one of Dr Karanth, that tiger conservation started with the leadership of Indira Gandhi and none of them quote Sankhala as source of information for wild tigers, none! In fact, I found that his information on captive tigers is used by some of those authors, but that is all. So, was this a revenge for his attitude against westerners? Certainly I don’t think that at all, but we must see something very important here and is that despite the slight differences of the results in some of them studies, all of them follow about the same line of tiger study and is that the tiger is an adaptive animal that follow some ecological rules and many of them conclusions match between them, something that sadly, do not happen with Sankhala.
 
Follow this line, I can say that Sankhala fit among the classic zoologist of the past, in the place of honor of Pocock, Brander, Hewett, Burton, Corbett and Champion, which provided very good information about tiger behavior but that need to be reviewed before to be quoted. These are tiger “experts” in lato sensu, they lived and observed tigers, they placed they conclusions and are still mentioned in tiger literature, but in my point of view are not the “experts” that we need now. Many of they observations were made only a few times, or only once, and that can’t be classified as “fact”, they methods were not validated by pers and although we can use them as reliable, they conclusions are easily challenged, like Sankhala himself done with Corbett (not directly, but definitely he challenge the idea that Corbett was a tiger “conservationist”). In stricto sensu, I am with the group of people that started using scientific methodology and that begin with Schaller, those that made several studies in Biology, that presented they methodologies and studies in full, and that continue growing the tiger “knowledge”. I will dare to include Valmik Thapar here too, as his continuous observations and gather of information leaded him to create a very good “scientific” study of the tigers of Ranthambore. I have said many times that all the modern naturalists and photographers should join all they observations and knowledge and summarize them in books or forums, so they results could be studies and dissected by they pers and will be very useful for the “tiger-science”.
 
In conclusion, that is the reason why I can’t take Sankhala as a tiger “expert”, he was a great observer, that for sure, and his book is beautiful but his conclusions of the tiger behavior are so authoritatively presented that we forget that are incorrectly or incompletely done, leading to errors that may cause damage to tiger conservation. Every person has the right to read and make they own conclusions, after all the books are readily available for any person and anybody can buy it in Amazon/Ebay/etc…, but this is MY personal opinion.
 
If you, the reader, are going to buy a book about the tiger and you want good scientific information, I will recommend you any of the books that I quoted before. But if you want to read the book of Sankhala, it will be a good choice, but you will need to check with all the previous references just to see if the information of the tiger is correct or not. About the tiger cohabitants I can’t make a judgement, as I can only compare it with Dr Schaller’s book, and I can tell you that the information on the deers, gaur and antelopes in the last book is way more extended than in the Sankhala’s book.
 
The Good and the Bad
@“peter” told me that in my answer it will be good if I leave it with a series of open questions, so the reader will be free to get they own conclusions, I was agree, but I feel that will leave open doubts about the real content of the book of Sankhala. So I decided to change the last part and actually disclose the specific points where I see that Sankhala presents incorrect information/conclusions, but also, for the sake of “fairness” I also going to include the good points about Sankhala investigation, and believe me, there are many of them. In this form I will show that I don’t think that Sankhala misinformed the reader on purpose in any form, is only that he tried to present his study like the “last word” on the tiger, which was sadly not the case, and I think that Sankhala was just a victim of his own “pride” and instead of accepting the other two studies about tigers at his time (Chitwan and Kanha) to increase his information, like all the modern scientists have done (especially those from Russia, which perfectly blended the old Russian zoologist information with the modern Russian/USA studies), he just rejected them and by consequence (indirectly), all his conclusions about tigers in the WILD were rejected by modern scientists too.  The following analysis will cover the “Bad” and the “Good” of the information about tigers in his book “Tiger! The Story of the Indian Tiger” of 1977. I can’t scan each page and I apologize for that, but those who have the book can check that what I am going to share is true to the publication of Sankhala and the publications of the other sources that I will use for comparison. If someone needs a scan of a specific page or series of pages, you can ask for it and I will try to do my best to put it here ASAP. Ok, here we go…….
 
* The Bad:
First we going to review the “bad” things about Sankhala’s investigation/conclusions about tigers, some of them are very small, but some of them of great importance in tiger conservation.
 
1. Tiger stripes for identification:
In page 24 Sankhala mention that George Schaller working in Kahna depended on the markings around the eyes to identify tigers, but he says that as this differ on each side and can also look differently depending of the mood of the tiger and the angle from which they are viewed, the application of this method is very limited in general.
 
However, while his claim makes sense at some points, it makes me think why he discarded this method of identification and promoted the method of using foot markings. He accept that is very hard to do it and we need experts, but at the end, it is useless for long term monitoring or even worst, is silly to use it for tiger census. Also, Dr Schaller and Dr McDougal use this method (face marks) very well, and the last one even present a series of draws of those markings that we can see in page 51 of his book “The Face of the Tiger”. In fact the use of face and even body markings is now the base of the new tiger census and Dr Karanth reach it to the next level, using even equations to estimate the tiger numbers trough the method of capture and recapture. However, again, it seems that the many naturalists of the Indian government and park rangers still ignore these methods and like Dr Karanth says: “We both continue to strongly believe that the scientific process of peer review and publication in high-quality journals should guide the choice of appropriate methods for monitoring tigers and their prey. Therefore, we are somewhat dismayed that, in spite of availability of superior methods, tiger conservation practitioners are sometimes slow to adopt them or even use demonstrably flawed or obsolete methodologies. We believe this is largely because of intellectual inertia, rather than resource constraints, given the current levels of investment. Unfortunately, we can offer no methodological cure for this problem” (Karanth & Nichols, 2017).
 
2. Tiger smell marks:
It seems obvious, even for “beginners” that tiger communicate they presence and demark territory using marks of urine and feces. However that is not the case for Sankhala. In page 27 to 29 he describe how poor is the smell of the tiger, so much that he describe an experiment when he use a dead pig hidden in the tiger place and says that the tigers failed to found it. It is accepted by many scientist that the main senses used to hunt are eyes and earing, but Dr Siedensticker describes an event in page 37 of his book “Tigers” of 1996, when the tigers 101 (the first one to be radiocollared in the world) found a boar using both sound and scent. But at the end, tigers do not normally relay in smell to found prey, but what happen with the demarcation? Well, according with Sankhala the tiger’s feces and urine do not have any smell, the smell came from the tiger itself! In page 28 and 29 he described how he searched a tigress in this form and he concludes that is a defense mechanism and in page 28 he says that the grimace face that the tiger made is not related with the courtship or mating or territorialism and that the same expression can be obtained spraying the tiger whit its own urine. He also says that he personally smelled the urine of the tigers in the zoo and did not found any smell!!!
 
But what the other tiger experts says? Well Valmik Thapar from page 102 to 106 of his book “Tiger the Ultimage Guide” of 2004 perfectly explain how the tiger use the urine with other fluids to mark the territory and contrary to Sankhala claim, he clearly describe a smell that is musky and strong. Thapar says: “The smell can last for up to forty days and is an excellent indication of how recently a tiger has passed by and whether or not the area is occupied” (Thappar, 2004; page 103). He also describes how the flehmen is used to identify the sex, age, health status and disposition of the tiger. So, how is that Sankhala did not identify any smell?
 
Other testimony is from Steven Mills in his book “Tiger” from 2004, which in page 79 to 81 describe the same information shared by Thappar. He quotes Schaller’s opinion that the smell was “very musky” and that “it was discernible even to the human nose at a distance”. Mills says: “The “marking fluids” has since been studied by two scientists, R. L. Brahmachary and J. Dutta (in Tigers of the World), who have found that, though its base is uric acid, the more existing scents are probably carried in some of the other components of the fluid, including chemicals like phenylethylamine, cadaverine and putrescine. Somewhere in there are pheromones, the chemicals that stimulate animals in their sexual activities” (Mills, 2004). He also describes a mark found by Dr Dave Smith that he personally smelled and described it like “damp and musky”.
 
Finally, but not the last, Dr Sunquist in his monograph of 1981 of the tigers in Chitwan, explain how tigers use the pages 60 and 61 describe the method used by tigers and also describe how the tigers try to renew the marks at least every 3 to 4 days, depending of they travels through the territory (I don’t remember the specific page of this, but is in the monograph).
 
In conclusion, in this point, we can clearly see that the conclusion of Sankhala is incorrect, again, and that thanks to the testimonies of other experts we can see why the tiger use this type of chemical communication.
 
3. The tiger is a wanderer
Following his idea that tigers are not territorial, in page 30 he says that the tiger is a “wanderer” that “wanders with no definite plan in mind”. However he says that “within his “home range” he has a mental note of such features as day shelters, waterholes and places where food may be expected”. This sound contradictory, and again is corrected by other experts.
 
Dr Seidensticker (1996) in page 38 to 42 of his book “Tigers” describe how the tigress 101 used known trails and made use of them are highways, and adapted his activities according the prey changes. Also Dr Karanth in his book “The Way of the Tiger” in page 56 exemplify that “resident” tigers have known trails and travel less than the “transients” which for obvious reasons need to wander for large tracks. In this case, we can see that Sankhala is partially correct, but with resident tigers this is not the case, as they travel to known places to hunt and if they fail, they change to other known place. They not just wander randomly, but try to search known patterns of prey, but at the same time always looking for any potential prey that the can found.
 
4. Tigers are not territorial
This is the main point of many discussions and at some point is a very polemic topic. Sankhala took his time to explain why he think that all tigers are not territorial and from page 39 to 43 he describes why he think that tigers are not territorial and that more. In page 39 and 40, he mentions that case of the radiocollared tiger “Sundar” that was translocated in the Sundarband region and at the end was found dead. Sankhala says that he believe that the tiger died from the drugs and was scavenged by wild boars, while Dr Seidensticker said that the tigers was killed by other tiger in a territory fight. Whatever happened we can see it in the document of Dr Seindensticker, but the point is that then Sankhala says that tigers are not territorial and that they do not defend any home range (this case was mentioned by the poster @“Paul Cooper”). He quotes an experiment when he put baits for tigers and they were within range or earing and the tigers do not care of each other. He also quotes testimonies of several tigers sharing the same area of kills. But, is this enough evidence to say that?
 
I made a little summary in this link: https://wildfact.com/forum/topic-tigers-...al-animals
 
I am going to copy the same here, with just some minor added information.
 
Tigers, like all the members of the Felidae family (except for the lion and cheetah), are solitary and territorial. However, there is some plasticity in the behavior of this animal, depending of many factors like prey density, habitat type and even "personal" behavior. Here I am going to share a little summary of the results of scientific studies regarding the social behavior of tigers in the Indian Subcontinent and Russia.
 
Kanha:
George Schaller was the first one that made a scientific study about tigers and its prey in the Indian subcontinent. His pioneer work is still the guide for many modern studies on tigers. He was only about one year in Kanha and he found that male tigers were territorials but that females were not, so male had "territories" while females only had "home ranges". Females shared its territory with other females except for the core areas of the home ranges. He also found that tigers were tolerant with its cubs and even shared a kill with his family (female and his cubs), but for some reason this observations were ignored for long time. So, tigers in Kanha had this social structure until the 80's, as Sunquist (1981) quote Panwar (1979) saying that after the recovery of Kanha and the new higher prey level, the tigresses began to be territorial, avoiding any contact with other females. This is the behavior found in the Nepal tigresses, which suggested that a good prey base allow tigers to be more independent and became more territorial.
 
Chitwan:
The Nepal Tiger project found that tigers in Nepal are highly territorial but the females do share they home ranges with her daughters, although sometimes there are conflicts. However, it took time to found this information. At the beginning Dr Charles McDougal (1977) believed that there was some degree of overlap between the females and that they were not territorial, however at the light of the new evidence of the radio-collared tigers he wrote an Postscript in page 165 of his book where he accepted that the home ranges of the tigresses were in fact “Territories” that are defended from other females. Dr Mel Sunquist, in his document of 1981, using radio-collared tigers, found that males are territorial and that females also have delimited territories but his sample was small. Latter Dr Dave Smith and others (1987 - 1993) found that the conclusions of Dr Sunquist were correct: male tigers are highly territorial and only allow the presence of they own sons for a short time, but nor from other males which they will expel from they territories; female tigers are also territorial but may share here territory with her daughters, although sometimes the daughters may displace they own mothers from the territory, like the case of female T-01. Females form "family clusters" like lionesses prides but each female in her own territory, even Sunquist believed that if the habitat where the same, tigers have the entire capacity to live like in groups like lions. They also found evidence of conflicts between tigers, but while this were minimum at the beginning (Sunquist, 1981) they became more serious, especially after the death of the "king" tiger M-105 (Sauraha male), and that showed that the presence of a strong male is very important for the stability of the area, especially for the females in order to produce cubs (Seindensticker, 1996). Also the larger population of Nepal tigers and the short space increased the conflicts and by the 90’s started the cases of Man-eater tigers, something that in the time of Dr Sunquist was almost unthinkable. Overall, Nepal is the best example of the "normal" tiger ecology and behavior, with a good prey base and some of the smallest territories on record. 
 
Ranthambore:
In Ranthambore, the habitat situation was different, it is more open, and is possible to follow the tigers at eye sight, something that is not possible with tigers in Nepal as the habitat is too close (Sunquist, pers. comm.). Valmik Thapar together with many other observers provide us the only long terms visual study that may compete with the Nepal Tiger Project, not only for its time frame, but also for the information obtained. In the series of books from Mr Thapar he was able to describe the ecology of the tigers and is very interesting. Thapar was the first one to describe the role of the "father" in the tiger society in his book "The Secret Life of Tigers" and he found that males DO protect they cubs and take care of them if the female is not present, he hypothesize that males protect its territory not only to preserve its females but also to protect its cubs, and the time showed how correct he is. He also saw males sharing its kills with them families, even allowing the females and cubs to eat before them, something that is not recorded even in the social male lion! In the book "Tiger: portrait of a predator" he described a reunion of nine tigers over a prey (a large nilgai) and all the tigers ate from the kill in order, with no conflict and all the feeding was regulated by the older female, the one that made the kill. He found that all the animals were related except for one, and this case was also presented in the book "Tiger: the ultimate guide". However, I found that in the book "The secret life of Tigers" Thapar do shows that that "unknown" tiger was in fact, a relative of the group, so what he saw in that moment was a "pride" behavior at a kill of related tigers, but the tigers showed a more "advance" for of sharing the kill, with no fights or conflicts (evidence of the use of they larger brains?). At the end, he got to the same conclusions that the tigers of Nepal: Male and female tigers are territorials, but males may share its territory with them sons and females do divide her territory with her daughters, however there are conflicts and severe fights may happen. New observations from modern naturalists showed male tigers sharing kills and also taking care of the cubs when the female is dead, but is sad that all this observations are scattered and not compiled in books like Mr Thapar done.
 
Panna:
The Panna studies are the first one done in the dry forests of central India. There Dr Ragu Chundawat found that the tigers were also territorial like in Nepal, but the females were not entirely and there was a great overlap between them except for a core area, just like the case of Kanha in the time of Schaller. This may be because of the prey base, which is lower than in Chitwan and Ranthambore, but also is important to show that the radio-collared tigresses were a mother and her daughters, so that may explain why the females shared some areas. Males are territorial and do not allowed any other male, but as the territory is too large (about 250 square Km) some areas can't be watched all the time and he found some transient males in the areas, that avoided the large territorial males. However conflict raised when there are females in heat and the males following them fight each other. The large male M-125 (Madla male) lost an eye in one of those conflicts. His studies were incomplete because all the tigers of Panna started to disappear and when Dr Chundawat requested for assistance to investigate the case, the park rangers ignored him and even "kick out" him from the park, the result was that Panna, like Sariska, lost all its tigers. However, with the reintroduction of tiger in Panna, Sarkar et al. (2016) found that the "new" tigers "behaved almost exactly the same way as that of native populations, offering support for reintroduction strategies."
 
New information: Dr Chundawat’s new book of 2018 compile all the information about his study in Panna and after reading it I could see that his conclusions are incredible as he found that the tigress of Panna are the territorial ones and do not allow any other tigress in they area, however the mother can amicably share some boundaries with her older daughters for short periods. Also two sisters formed a coalition for several months and not only managed to expel an older female from her territory but also hunted and lived together. Finally, although the male tigers are territorial, there are less aggressive than females, are more shy to humans and travel great distances, in fact Chundawat conclude that based in the evidence, male tigers are by no means lazy and in fact, they are great travelers to check they territory. However, there are some other members of the tiger group, the floaters, which are probably the now adult cubs of the resident females that, at not found any new territory they are forced to return to the park and they live not like “residents” but also not as “transients”. The have defined home range areas but they do not mark, they do not roar and are practically like “ghosts” for the resident adults, Chundawat called them the “leopard tigers” and he regretted that he could never radiocollarred one of them to understand his dynamics. In fact, he saw many instances when the territorial male ended the mating sessions with the local tigresses and latter one of the “leopard tigers”, a young male mated with the same tigresses and the territorial male never know of the “cheating”.  Mills (2004) mention an instance in Chitwan with the male 105 (The Sauraha male) that “tolerated” a young male in his territory until he tried to mate with a resident female and he expelled him from his territory. However with the new evidence of Panna, is possible that it was another “leopard tiger” that lived in the Sauraha male territory and made the error or follow his passions for a tigress in heat and was finally found by the territorial male an paid the price. This relation of territorial animals living with “ghosts” tigers that do not show they presence is another example of how tigers need to adapt themselves to the changing situations.   
 
Nagarahole:
In Nagarahole, Dr Ullas Karanth made a study with radio-collared tigers but his results were incredible. While the female was territorial, the males were not. In fact, in his book "The Way of the Tiger" Dr Karanth presented this conclusion, together with some form other studies, but please take in count that his data about Panna and the Russian Far East needs to be updated:
 

*This image is copyright of its original author
 

*This image is copyright of its original author
 
 
It seems that the tigers in Nagarahole do not show exactly the same behavior than the Chitwan tigers, but we must note that he don't knew if the males T-03 and T-04 were relatives of not, which may be posible based in the relations between male tigers in Chitwan and Ranthambore. Dr Karanth continues his studies so more information may be available in the future.
 
Sikhote Alin:
In the Russian Far East, the tigers should show a different behavior, especially because of the difference of habitat and prey density. The first Russian studies from Baikov do not focused too much in tiger territoriality and Heptner & Sludskii (1992) which compile all the available information in Russian literature, shows that tiger home range did overlap extensively. However, the new studies made by The Siberian Tiger Project show something different. It seems that despite the habitat difference and low prey density, male tigers are still territorial and although the overlap exists, this is still minimum. The same case happen with females, with some overlap but this is also minimum and tigers do not migrate to follow prey. Dr Dave Miquelle and Dr John Goodrich made an excellent work in the Russian Far East and shows that tigers in the area, despite the huge differences in habitat, do behave about the same than those in the Indian Subcontinent (Goodrich et al., 2010). Check the conclusions in Sunquist (2010):
 

*This image is copyright of its original author
 
Now check this table, which corroborate Dr Sunqusit conclusion, this is from (Goodrich et al., 2010):
 

*This image is copyright of its original author
 
We can see that all tigers are territorial in the Indian Subcontinent and the Russian Far East. The case of Kanha was already explained and now the females are territorial too. The case of Sumatra must be taken with caution as is very important to know if the tigers in the camera traps are related or not.
 
Also check this famous picture:
 

*This image is copyright of its original author
 
It seems that male Amur tigers shows the same protective/sharing behavior of the tigers in the Indian subcontinent. Trough time, more information will clarify the situation.
 
Mills (2004) dedicate a complete chapter 71 to 89 to explain the social section of the tigers. He made a good, but at some point, estrange explanation about what means to be a territorial animal, good because is perfect to understand the term but estrange because he use herbivores, birds and hyenas, but no cat species. At the end, in page 83 to 85 he concluded that tigresses live in clusters of related females and that will explain why the fights are very rare, but also quote the example about the tigress Maachli and how territorial she was. It seems contradictory that in this chapter he concluded that tigers are territorial or not depending of the region, habitat and even “personalities”, but latter he says that tigers only use home range. He concluded the same with male tigers in page 86 to 86, with the only difference that his example of the young tiger “Mahala Bahle” that lived “amicably” with the “Saraha male” is probably incorrect, as at the light of new evidence of Panna, we can see that even when tigers lived in the same area, this “leopard tigers”, which are resident but do not make territorial marks and no sound at all, they can live in the nose of the territorial one and they will not even note them, until they make a mistake or they gain enough strength to fight for the territory.
 
In conclusion, with this information, we can see that tigers are solitary but not antisocial. They are territorial animals that protect its habitat but that can be flexible if the habitat requires it. Tigers are able to congregate in groups in exceptional situations, but normally prefer to be solitary as is more economic to take care of yourself in an habitat that is too close to coordinate an attack and where large preys live at low densities. Females priority is a good habitat with enough prey density to feed her and her cubs, they will share the habitat with her daughters like a big scattered "pride" and may be together in exceptional cases. Males priority are large territories with enough females to mate, they may tolerate its male offspring as long as they don't attempt to mate with its females and certainly both, males and females, will not tolerate estrange tigers, because they may kill the cubs and take over the territory if they can. Fights between tigers are not the norm but do happen and are lethal, but they prefer to use they specialized method of socializing at distance. Even the lack of aggression when they are together and feeding in family may be evidence of the high degree of cephalization of this species, in comparison with the other Panthera members (Yamaguchi et al., 2009).
 
We can see that the experiment of Sankhala was taken out of context, he did not know the social status of these tigers, he don’t mention the sex, he don’t describe the age, did he knew if they were relatives? Did he observed if where territorial, transient of “leopard tigers”? Yes, some of this information was found recently, but even then, we can see how a simple and incomplete methodology derived to him that got erroneous conclusions.
 
5. Tigers do not urinate in the water
In page 72 he made an interesting observation, he says that tigers do not urinate in the water as tigers are extremely clean animals.
 
However, if you speak with the personal of Big Cat Rescue, for example, you will see that cleaning the pool of the tigers is a mayor situation, as tigers constantly defecate and urinate in the water. In fact, in the documentary of the BBC “Tiger – Spy in the jungle” we can clearly see how the tiger cubs urinate in the water and David Attenborough says that they do this to avoid other predators, they keep themselves hidden in any form.
 
6. Sundarbans tiger population
In page 88 Sankhala says that the highest concentration of tigers in India was in Sundarbans. However, he based his estimation in the pug mark method. Latter in Dr Monirul H. Khan (in Thapar, 2004) in page 94 to 95 describe how scientific methods estimate a very low density of tigers in the area, and by no means is the best tiger habitat.
 
Also Dr Karanth in his document “Tiger Ecology and Conservation in the Indian Subcontinent”, at the JBNHS Vol. 100 (page 170), states that among the current myths about tigers is the idea that “the largest wild tiger population in the world exists in Sundarbans”. There are some documents that states that the population in that area can be very large, but based in evidence like photographic capture and recapture, habitat quality and prey base, the habitat is not quite good to sustain a very large tiger population, even they morphology changed according with.
 
7. Schaller and leopards
Although this is not an error, it shows how harsh was Sankhala when he speak of other’s studies. In page 114 and 115 he mention that, in relation with tiger and leopard relationship, he says that the evidence of coexistence of leopards with lions in Gir, which should be the same case with tigers, “amply disproves George Schaller’s conclusion that leopards tend to be scarce when tigers abound and vice versa”.
 
Again, he goes after the conclusions of the only scientific study done in India at that point (until 1990 with Dr Karanth). He seems to be quite sure that this “coexistence” happens exactly in the same form in the entire Indian subcontinent. But in fact, the relation between tigers and leopards change depending of the area. In Nepal the tigers suppress, at some point, the leopard population so they live in the periphery areas, while in Nagarahole they coexist just with differences in prey base. Dr Karanth in his book “The Way of the Tiger” in page 64, make a good summarization of this relationship, but all the comparative studies conclude that whatever is the case, tigers dominate leopards.
 
Well, these are the specific points where I found that Sankhala made incorrect interpretation of the information and were we need backup of the new scientist to correct his information. It is interesting to mention that in page 101 of his book he says that the swamp deer or Barasingha is a stupid animal that do not know how to manage predators. I don’t know of any report of such a behavior in old literature and I don’t remember Dr Schaller mentioning anything about this. So, it will be interesting to see if the information is correct or not.
 
* The Good:
Now let’s see the good points on Sankhala book, this just for the sake of “fairness” in the discussion.
 
1. Tiger camouflage:
In page 25 he made a good analysis about why a predator that hunt mostly in the night will need such a camouflage and he concluded that is a form to avoid been found by the prey and disturb them in the day. It is a conclusion that makes sense, but also we must remember that tigers mostly hunted in the night not only for thermoregulation or to surprise the prey, but also because of the humans.
 
2. Tiger eating:
In page 34 to 36 Sankhala made a good description about how a tiger eats and the time that it takes to eat. Also he describe that tigers eat in intervals and not gorge itself in one session. He concludes that the amount of meat can be up to 20-30 kg but is just a calculation. By the way there is an interesting report of Dr Chundawat about the tiger food intake, I will post that information when will be relevant.
 
3. Mother eats at the end:
I don’t remember this point in other books, so I think is good to include it like a positive point. In page 36 to 37 and 73, Sankhala describes that the tigress always let the cubs eat first and that he found this observations in the wild and in captivity. In fact, he says that tigresses sometimes submit to her sons at a prey to give them courage to defend they prey. He also describe the act of regurgitate food from the tigress to her cubs in page 72-73.
 
4. Tigers eat dead cubs:
Is interesting that Sankhala says that he don’t know of any case, in the wild or in captivity, of tigresses eating they young, even been dead. He says that happen in lions, but not in tigers. I think that is fair to say that he never observed this case, but sadly it happens and Dr Karanth ad Valmik Thappar described these rare events very well.
 
5. Water is adaptive:
In page 77 and 78 I found a very interesting suggestion. Sankhala says that the likeness of water by the tigers is more an adaptive behavior than something innate to the species. He described the events of tigresses teaching they cubs to get to the water. Again, I don’t remember of a book mentioning this case.
 
6. Balance of nature:
We know that Sankhala believed that to save the tiger, the only thing that we needed to do is to leave the tiger and the nature alone and they will take care. At some point is correct, but sadly in such an anthropogenic country like India, this sounds more like a future dream than a present reality. He quote two events in page 97 and 127 about how the high populations of wild boars and gaurs are controlled by diseases and how they can recover after these vents.
 
7. Man-eaters, critics and the distorted image of the tiger:
If there is something that actually changed my mind about the man-eater cases in the chapter 7 of his book. Contrary to all the modern books, Sankhala dare to challenge the idea created by Jim Corbett about him man-eaters born, or even if they exited at all. He says that the number may be not entirely real as many of those deaths could be from many other reasons and they just blamed the tigers with no evidence. I can say that Sankhala made a good defense and that chapter is a very good reason to buy the book (maybe I can scan the entire chapter and put it here, it’s worth the reading).  Also in page 197 he defends the Project Tiger when it was labeled as “not scientifically perfect”. I think that those comments from westerners settle the path to his intolerance to foreign comments on the project and the tiger itself. Finally in page 210 he express a good idea, he says: “For one thing, I would like to see the shikar books which have distorted the tiger’s image removed from the bookshelves – though I admit that at present I do not know how to do it!” I must admit that I have the same idea, but regarding all the forums in the web full of lies and misinformation about the tiger, created by people that hate tigers and are fans of lions-bears-crocodiles, etc. etc. etc. So I share the same idea of Sankhala, to clean the tiger’s image ones for all.
 
Final conclusion:
Kailash Sankhala was an especial man, it was a very important person in the fight to save the tiger and based on his efforts with Project Tiger and for fighting about the entire system to save the great cat, he erns the title of the “Tiger man of India”.
 
His book is great and I can say that the graphics, especially those in pages 46-47, 84-85, 94-95 and 202, are among the best that I have ever saw and help to understand the tiger ecology much more. I can say that Sankhala is the last of the classic tiger experts, and although his information is important, we must take in count that there are things that are incorrect, and personally that put doubt in my mind.
 
Previously @“peter” says that our distrust of Sankhala book came from the fact that he support the lion in a fight with the tiger (page 118 and 119), or the fact that he quoted him like a source of evidence in the topic of “tiger vs dhole”, but as we can see, that is not the case at all. There are several points that show that despite his passion and love for the tiger, his conclusions were not perfect and that is why I am biased to the new studies, that started with Dr Schaller and that still continue in some areas of tiger territory.
 
As you know, I always try to focus my conclusions on the modern tiger literature, other like @“peter” often use the old literature, like those histories of tigers in the JBNHS. In fact, the last book of Valmik Thapar called “Tiger Fire: 500 Years of the Tiger in India” of 2017 is a perfect blend between the very first reports of tigers by the Emperor Babur until the last tiger studies of modern scientists like Dr Chundawat. I will definitely buy this book and will be interesting to see what we can get and learn from it.
 
Now, is this going to be my last post? I think not, but how the moderators are going to take it is a different story. Am I going to touch this topic again? Certainly not, like I say at the begging of this post, doing all this was a waste of valuable time that I could use to other things like to finish the new tables on tiger sizes, to update topics that I created like the Ngandong tiger or the share new information like that on tiger ecology in the book of Dr Chundawat in 2018. Let’s see what happen in the future, and from my part, I always whish the best to all.
 
Greetings and cheers, and until next Monday, with the help of God. Happy

I have to say, that I am not sure what you try to prove with this, but at least that is clear, that you seemed to take this matter very personally. All people make mistakes. You have done those too. This posting now.... :) I don´t know what your goal was, but I think, that you missed it really. When you let some issue go "under your skin" and take it too personally, result is something like this.
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Netherlands peter Offline
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( This post was last modified: 07-10-2019, 09:53 AM by peter )

SHADOW

Some years ago, Guate graduated in business administration. I think he got a job as an assistent-professor at the university where he graduated. Guate, a devouted Catholic, and his wife have a son. As far as I know, they're doing well.

Nothing out of the ordinary then? Not quite.

Guate lives in Guatemala, a country known for issues often overlooked in the western hemisphere. However. Every country has issues. Let's assume I know a bit more about growing up in a place where things directly connected to poverty can be seen at just about every streetcorner. Young people living in a rough neighbourhood able to avoid serious problems are few and far between. Those able to realize a dream can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Guate could be one of them. In my opinion, he should be very proud of himself.         

When he was a student, he joined the former AVA. His posts quickly earned him a reputation in the department of big cats. When AVA was hacked, he joined Wildfact. The tables he posted, all originals, are all over the internet. 

A few months ago, a problem erupted in the tiger thread. Most unfortunately, Guate was right there when it happened. I saw it and had no option but to intervene. He said he would do an explanation.

Explanations take a lot of time, especially when things are complicated. In my opinion, his post was a, somewhat lengthy, attempt to explain a few things, but others might consider it as a kind of apology. Maybe it, to a degree, was. Anyhow. I now consider it a thing of the past.  

GUATE

The attempt to explain the Sankhala-issue, although a bit shady at places, was much appreciated. Took a while, but you delivered and I'm fine with what you offered. In order to prevent new problems, a few remarks do not seem quite out of place. Remember it's not an attempt to restart the debate.  

a - When you debate an issue at a public forum, try to avoid absolutes. The reason is they, apart from the things we experienced (animosity, bans and things like that), often kill the debate. The intention of debates is to explore, not the opposite.

b - Over the years, your posts earned you a well-deserved reputation. The disadvantage of status is people watch you. They will also use you. If you cross a line, chances are others will use it to light the fire. For this reason, members of forums, and those with some kind of status in particular, need to remember they need to act in a responsible way at all times. Posts can be edited, I mean.  

c - Our policy is to post good information. It is about quality in the end, that is. About 11 million views in just over 5 years say this policy is appreciated. The pm's I got suggest some threads attract professionals as well. I'm not saying all of them post, but I'm sure some, at times, do. My guess is they could be interested in issues overlooked or ignored by professionals. Although interesting debates will be appreciated by many, it is about good information. This forum offers those able to find it the opportunity to show it. Originality is appreciated, I mean. In order to enable posters to communicate freely, anything preventing an open and honest exchange has to be avoided at all costs.

d - As to good information, time, development, mammals, knowledge, experts and things like that. The tiger experts you mentioned are the ones who made sure we still have wild tigers in some countries today. The methods they developed produced both knowledge and tools to conserve wild country and wild animals. Compared to those who studied tigers in the fifties and sixties of the last century, they really are experts. But so were those who started from scratch half a century ago. What I'm saying is all of them contributed in some way.

Knowledge produced by scientists is different from knowledge produced by others. Scientific information can be checked. This is not true for information collected by others. Most of what hunters, forest-officers and explorers saw in the 18th, 19th and 20th century suggest mammals like tigers adapt their behaviour over time. If posters want to debate information collected by locals, forest officers, hunters, naturalists, explorers, rangers and biologists in the last 200 years or so, the best strategy to get to insight is to refrain from firm opinions and dismissals.   

e - As to Sankhala. After Independence, India struggled with many problems. Millions perished as a result of conflicts. The situation could have resulted in a collapse and total destruction (referring to the extinction of tigers in a number of countries in southeast Asia), but it didn't. Within two decades, tiger hunting was banned. Not much later, Project Tiger was started. 

I agree it was a team effort, but Sankhala was instrumental. His book, published in 1977, also stood out in many ways. It was one of the first attempts to get to a bit of knowledge on wild tigers. My copy is loaded with notes. Most of these indicate I had doubts on quite a few statements, but in the end it wasn't about that. It was about a man from India who dedicated his life to tigers. He told me about the things he saw and I never forgot it.

Did his character result in a somewhat tense relation with American researchers in the early seventies? Meaby. A result of national pride perhaps? Could be. But most would regard a bit of national pride as normal in a country trying to find its way in a complicated world. The effort to keep it an internal affair also resulted in new generation of researchers who made sure we still have a few wild tigers today. Quite an achievement. Many Indians are proud of their wildlife.

For comparison. If we talk wolf in the Netherlands, many people, local politicians included, cry murder. I'm talking about 2019, not 1819. A few wolves settled, but I wonder about their future. 

Another one.

In the Second World War, 102 000 people perished in concentration camps. Today, 74 years after the event, a monument to remember them will, finally, be build in Amsterdam. Local people living close to the new monument did everything they could to prevent it. Too big, too many visitors, too much traffic, too dangerous, they say. They found a much better location to remember those murdered. But not in their street. Just like back then. The judges disagreed, but many fear we haven't seen the last of it. Compassion? National pride? Ehh, well.   

Tigers, leopards, elephants, snakes, muggers and many other animals living in Wild India today pose a very real threat to humans. It's telling the Indians, in spite of the danger, decided to offer them a home. A result of religion? No doubt. But people like Sankhala assisted. What I'm saying is it isn't about the details. This time, it's about the general picture.            
                
f - As to the stories of Kenneth Anderson on wild dogs and tigers in southern India almost a century ago.

Most of what he wrote was based on what he saw. He witnessed a confrontation between a tigress and a number of wild dogs. He didn't see the second confrontation, but the men who followed the tracks found what was left of the tigress and the dogs she killed in her last fight next day. Anderson himself saw wild dogs cornering and attacking hyenas, sloth bears and leopards more than once. These were not mock attacks to keep their opponents at bay. Furthermore, he heard stories about wild dogs cornering and killing tigers in southern India more than once. Would a man who knew about India, stories and facts decide for stories he might have doubted himself? 

I read everything he published and concluded he compared to Jim Corbett in many ways. Anderson, like Corbett, often visited wild districts. He saw a lot. In the 19th century, forest officers, hunters and explorers also visited wild districts for a considerable period of time. In some of the books written by explorers and hunters, wild dogs were described as fearless hunters. Although they never attacked humans, locals feared them. Not seldom, they called them mad dogs.

In the first decades of the 19th century, a German naturalist and hunter lived in a remote part of Sichote-Alin for a considerable period of time. He wrote the locals distinguished between grey and red wolves. Red wolves were considered more wild at heart. Although they, in contrast to grey wolves, lived close to tigers, he never heard of conficts between Amur tigers and red wolves.         

A few years ago, I visited the second zoo in Berlin. It had many animals not seen in other zoos. The red dogs were different from grey wolves. Although smaller, they seemed much more aware and, in a strange way, present. At first, they made no impression. After a few minutes, in which they completely disappeared and re-appeared out of nowhere, visitors became uneasy. I wouldn't say they saw 'm as a threat, but then they did. Next day, I went there on my own. I talked to a man who knew them. He told me visitors avoided them. Same for the keepers. He was the only one willing to feed them. Elusive comes to mind when I think of them. Out of a different world.  

I'm not saying wild dogs pose a threat to a healthy adult tiger in India. Far from it. Everything we know points in another direction. But today is today and today is very different from a century ago. Humans are all over the place, forests are largely gone, the climate has changed and natural disasters have become normal just about everywhere. Two centuries ago, the situation was very different. In many regions, animals ruled. Who are we to doubt observations and ideas of those who lived in wild regions for years?
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Finland Shadow Offline
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( This post was last modified: 07-11-2019, 07:27 PM by Shadow )

(07-10-2019, 09:39 AM)peter Wrote: SHADOW

Some years ago, Guate graduated in business administration. I think he got a job as an assistent-professor at the university where he graduated. Guate, a devouted Catholic, and his wife have a son. As far as I know, they're doing well.

Nothing out of the ordinary then? Not quite.

Guate lives in Guatemala, a country known for issues often overlooked in the western hemisphere. However. Every country has issues. Let's assume I know a bit more about growing up in a place where things directly connected to poverty can be seen at just about every streetcorner. Young people living in a rough neighbourhood able to avoid serious problems are few and far between. Those able to realize a dream can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Guate could be one of them. In my opinion, he should be very proud of himself.         

When he was a student, he joined the former AVA. His posts quickly earned him a reputation in the department of big cats. When AVA was hacked, he joined Wildfact. The tables he posted, all originals, are all over the internet. 

A few months ago, a problem erupted in the tiger thread. Most unfortunately, Guate was right there when it happened. I saw it and had no option but to intervene. He said he would do an explanation.

Explanations take a lot of time, especially when things are complicated. In my opinion, his post was a, somewhat lengthy, attempt to explain a few things, but others might consider it as a kind of apology. Maybe it, to a degree, was. Anyhow. I now consider it a thing of the past.  

GUATE

The attempt to explain the Sankhala-issue, although a bit shady at places, was much appreciated. Took a while, but you delivered and I'm fine with what you offered. In order to prevent new problems, a few remarks do not seem quite out of place. Remember it's not an attempt to restart the debate.  

a - When you debate an issue at a public forum, try to avoid absolutes. The reason is they, apart from the things we experienced (animosity, bans and things like that), often kill the debate. The intention of debates is to explore, not the opposite.

b - Over the years, your posts earned you a well-deserved reputation. The disadvantage of status is people watch you. They will also use you. If you cross a line, chances are others will use it to light the fire. For this reason, members of forums, and those with some kind of status in particular, need to remember they need to act in a responsible way at all times. Posts can be edited, I mean.  

c - Our policy is to post good information. It is about quality in the end, that is. About 11 million views in just over 5 years say this policy is appreciated. The pm's I got suggest some threads attract professionals as well. I'm not saying all of them post, but I'm sure some, at times, do. My guess is they could be interested in issues overlooked or ignored by professionals. Although interesting debates will be appreciated by many, it is about good information. This forum offers those able to find it the opportunity to show it. Originality is appreciated, I mean. In order to enable posters to communicate freely, anything preventing an open and honest exchange has to be avoided at all costs.

d - As to good information, time, development, mammals, knowledge, experts and things like that. The tiger experts you mentioned are the ones who made sure we still have wild tigers in some countries today. The methods they developed produced both knowledge and tools to conserve wild country and wild animals. Compared to those who studied tigers in the fifties and sixties of the last century, they really are experts. But so were those who started from scratch half a century ago. What I'm saying is all of them contributed in some way.

Knowledge produced by scientists is different from knowledge produced by others. Scientific information can be checked. This is not true for information collected by others. Most of what hunters, forest-officers and explorers saw in the 18th, 19th and 20th century suggest mammals like tigers adapt their behaviour over time. If posters want to debate information collected by locals, forest officers, hunters, naturalists, explorers, rangers and biologists in the last 200 years or so, the best strategy to get to insight is to refrain from firm opinions and dismissals.   

e - As to Sankhala. After Independence, India struggled with many problems. Millions perished as a result of conflicts. The situation could have resulted in a collapse and total destruction (referring to the extinction of tigers in a number of countries in southeast Asia), but it didn't. Within two decades, tiger hunting was banned. Not much later, Project Tiger was started. 

I agree it was a team effort, but Sankhala was instrumental. His book, published in 1977, also stood out in many ways. It was one of the first attempts to get to a bit of knowledge on wild tigers. My copy is loaded with notes. Most of these indicate I had doubts on quite a few statements, but in the end it wasn't about that. It was about a man from India who dedicated his life to tigers. He told me about the things he saw and I never forgot it.

Did his character result in a somewhat tense relation with American researchers in the early seventies? Meaby. A result of national pride perhaps? Could be. But most would regard a bit of national pride as normal in a country trying to find its way in a complicated world. The effort to keep it an internal affair also resulted in new generation of researchers who made sure we still have a few wild tigers today. Quite an achievement. Many Indians are proud of their wildlife.

For comparison. If we talk wolf in the Netherlands, many people, local politicians included, cry murder. I'm talking about 2019, not 1819. A few wolves settled, but I wonder about their future. 

Another one.

In the Second World War, 102 000 people perished in concentration camps. Today, 74 years after the event, a monument to remember them will, finally, be build in Amsterdam. Local people living close to the new monument did everything they could to prevent it. Too big, too many visitors, too much traffic, too dangerous, they say. They found a much better location to remember those murdered. But not in their street. Just like back then. The judges disagreed, but many fear we haven't seen the last of it. Compassion? National pride? Ehh, well.   

Tigers, leopards, elephants, snakes, muggers and many other animals living in Wild India today pose a very real threat to humans. It's telling the Indians, in spite of the danger, decided to offer them a home. A result of religion? No doubt. But people like Sankhala assisted. What I'm saying is it isn't about the details. This time, it's about the general picture.            
                
f - As to the stories of Kenneth Anderson on wild dogs and tigers in southern India almost a century ago.

Most of what he wrote was based on what he saw. He witnessed a confrontation between a tigress and a number of wild dogs. He didn't see the second confrontation, but the men who followed the tracks found what was left of the tigress and the dogs she killed in her last fight next day. Anderson himself saw wild dogs cornering and attacking hyenas, sloth bears and leopards more than once. These were not mock attacks to keep their opponents at bay. Furthermore, he heard stories about wild dogs cornering and killing tigers in southern India more than once. Would a man who knew about India, stories and facts decide for stories he might have doubted himself? 

I read everything he published and concluded he compared to Jim Corbett in many ways. Anderson, like Corbett, often visited wild districts. He saw a lot. In the 19th century, forest officers, hunters and explorers also visited wild districts for a considerable period of time. In some of the books written by explorers and hunters, wild dogs were described as fearless hunters. Although they never attacked humans, locals feared them. Not seldom, they called them mad dogs.

In the first decades of the 19th century, a German naturalist and hunter lived in a remote part of Sichote-Alin for a considerable period of time. He wrote the locals distinguished between grey and red wolves. Red wolves were considered more wild at heart. Although they, in contrast to grey wolves, lived close to tigers, he never heard of conficts between Amur tigers and red wolves.         

A few years ago, I visited the second zoo in Berlin. It had many animals not seen in other zoos. The red dogs were different from grey wolves. Although smaller, they seemed much more aware and, in a strange way, present. At first, they made no impression. After a few minutes, in which they completely disappeared and re-appeared out of nowhere, visitors became uneasy. I wouldn't say they saw 'm as a threat, but then they did. Next day, I went there on my own. I talked to a man who knew them. He told me visitors avoided them. Same for the keepers. He was the only one willing to feed them. Elusive comes to mind when I think of them. Out of a different world.  

I'm not saying wild dogs pose a threat to a healthy adult tiger in India. Far from it. Everything we know points in another direction. But today is today and today is very different from a century ago. Humans are all over the place, forests are largely gone, the climate has changed and natural disasters have become normal just about everywhere. Two centuries ago, the situation was very different. In many regions, animals ruled. Who are we to doubt observations and ideas of those who lived in wild regions for years?

I am in that lucky position, imo, that I haven´t participated to any of those forums you mention :) So I don´t know what kind of reputations people here have in different places and truly speaking I´m not too interested. I am interested about wildlife and good information and good discussions. When I see something interesting or odd, I make a comment. I think, that I have agreed and disagreed already with most of people here time to time. Some like, some don´t, but nevertheless when in a public forum, we all have to accept it, that it can happen both ways. Especially in matters, which can´t be measured in weight or length etc.

Passion is a good thing to have. Same time it has to be remembered, that there is thin line between passion and obsession. When that line is crossed, debates change often very heated up, even ugly time to time. When it happens, all have to look in the mirror and think a moment. Many debates heat up from reasons, which are in reality irrelevant/indifferent/minor issues.

Sometimes when it isn´t possible to get consensus, it´s better to leave some subjects at some point and move on while accepting that others can think in different way. This "case Sankhala" is clearly one such thing, where different people have different perspectives, no matter what.

But overall I have said, what I think about Sankhala etc. already months ago, so I leave this issue here from my part :)
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Netherlands peter Offline
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(07-10-2019, 12:19 PM)Shadow Wrote:
(07-10-2019, 09:39 AM)peter Wrote: SHADOW

Some years ago, Guate graduated in business administration. I think he got a job as an assistent-professor at the university where he graduated. Guate, a devouted Catholic, and his wife have a son. As far as I know, they're doing well.

Nothing out of the ordinary then? Not quite.

Guate lives in Guatemala, a country known for issues often overlooked in the western hemisphere. However. Every country has issues. Let's assume I know a bit more about growing up in a place where things directly connected to poverty can be seen at just about every streetcorner. Young people living in a rough neighbourhood able to avoid serious problems are few and far between. Those able to realize a dream can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Guate could be one of them. In my opinion, he should be very proud of himself.         

When he was a student, he joined the former AVA. His posts quickly earned him a reputation in the department of big cats. When AVA was hacked, he joined Wildfact. The tables he posted, all originals, are all over the internet. 

A few months ago, a problem erupted in the tiger thread. Most unfortunately, Guate was right there when it happened. I saw it and had no option but to intervene. He said he would do an explanation.

Explanations take a lot of time, especially when things are complicated. In my opinion, his post was a, somewhat lengthy, attempt to explain a few things, but others might consider it as a kind of apology. Maybe it, to a degree, was. Anyhow. I now consider it a thing of the past.  

GUATE

The attempt to explain the Sankhala-issue, although a bit shady at places, was much appreciated. Took a while, but you delivered and I'm fine with what you offered. In order to prevent new problems, a few remarks do not seem quite out of place. Remember it's not an attempt to restart the debate.  

a - When you debate an issue at a public forum, try to avoid absolutes. The reason is they, apart from the things we experienced (animosity, bans and things like that), often kill the debate. The intention of debates is to explore, not the opposite.

b - Over the years, your posts earned you a well-deserved reputation. The disadvantage of status is people watch you. They will also use you. If you cross a line, chances are others will use it to light the fire. For this reason, members of forums, and those with some kind of status in particular, need to remember they need to act in a responsible way at all times. Posts can be edited, I mean.  

c - Our policy is to post good information. It is about quality in the end, that is. About 11 million views in just over 5 years say this policy is appreciated. The pm's I got suggest some threads attract professionals as well. I'm not saying all of them post, but I'm sure some, at times, do. My guess is they could be interested in issues overlooked or ignored by professionals. Although interesting debates will be appreciated by many, it is about good information. This forum offers those able to find it the opportunity to show it. Originality is appreciated, I mean. In order to enable posters to communicate freely, anything preventing an open and honest exchange has to be avoided at all costs.

d - As to good information, time, development, mammals, knowledge, experts and things like that. The tiger experts you mentioned are the ones who made sure we still have wild tigers in some countries today. The methods they developed produced both knowledge and tools to conserve wild country and wild animals. Compared to those who studied tigers in the fifties and sixties of the last century, they really are experts. But so were those who started from scratch half a century ago. What I'm saying is all of them contributed in some way.

Knowledge produced by scientists is different from knowledge produced by others. Scientific information can be checked. This is not true for information collected by others. Most of what hunters, forest-officers and explorers saw in the 18th, 19th and 20th century suggest mammals like tigers adapt their behaviour over time. If posters want to debate information collected by locals, forest officers, hunters, naturalists, explorers, rangers and biologists in the last 200 years or so, the best strategy to get to insight is to refrain from firm opinions and dismissals.   

e - As to Sankhala. After Independence, India struggled with many problems. Millions perished as a result of conflicts. The situation could have resulted in a collapse and total destruction (referring to the extinction of tigers in a number of countries in southeast Asia), but it didn't. Within two decades, tiger hunting was banned. Not much later, Project Tiger was started. 

I agree it was a team effort, but Sankhala was instrumental. His book, published in 1977, also stood out in many ways. It was one of the first attempts to get to a bit of knowledge on wild tigers. My copy is loaded with notes. Most of these indicate I had doubts on quite a few statements, but in the end it wasn't about that. It was about a man from India who dedicated his life to tigers. He told me about the things he saw and I never forgot it.

Did his character result in a somewhat tense relation with American researchers in the early seventies? Meaby. A result of national pride perhaps? Could be. But most would regard a bit of national pride as normal in a country trying to find its way in a complicated world. The effort to keep it an internal affair also resulted in new generation of researchers who made sure we still have a few wild tigers today. Quite an achievement. Many Indians are proud of their wildlife.

For comparison. If we talk wolf in the Netherlands, many people, local politicians included, cry murder. I'm talking about 2019, not 1819. A few wolves settled, but I wonder about their future. 

Another one.

In the Second World War, 102 000 people perished in concentration camps. Today, 74 years after the event, a monument to remember them will, finally, be build in Amsterdam. Local people living close to the new monument did everything they could to prevent it. Too big, too many visitors, too much traffic, too dangerous, they say. They found a much better location to remember those murdered. But not in their street. Just like back then. The judges disagreed, but many fear we haven't seen the last of it. Compassion? National pride? Ehh, well.   

Tigers, leopards, elephants, snakes, muggers and many other animals living in Wild India today pose a very real threat to humans. It's telling the Indians, in spite of the danger, decided to offer them a home. A result of religion? No doubt. But people like Sankhala assisted. What I'm saying is it isn't about the details. This time, it's about the general picture.            
                
f - As to the stories of Kenneth Anderson on wild dogs and tigers in southern India almost a century ago.

Most of what he wrote was based on what he saw. He witnessed a confrontation between a tigress and a number of wild dogs. He didn't see the second confrontation, but the men who followed the tracks found what was left of the tigress and the dogs she killed in her last fight next day. Anderson himself saw wild dogs cornering and attacking hyenas, sloth bears and leopards more than once. These were not mock attacks to keep their opponents at bay. Furthermore, he heard stories about wild dogs cornering and killing tigers in southern India more than once. Would a man who knew about India, stories and facts decide for stories he might have doubted himself? 

I read everything he published and concluded he compared to Jim Corbett in many ways. Anderson, like Corbett, often visited wild districts. He saw a lot. In the 19th century, forest officers, hunters and explorers also visited wild districts for a considerable period of time. In some of the books written by explorers and hunters, wild dogs were described as fearless hunters. Although they never attacked humans, locals feared them. Not seldom, they called them mad dogs.

In the first decades of the 19th century, a German naturalist and hunter lived in a remote part of Sichote-Alin for a considerable period of time. He wrote the locals distinguished between grey and red wolves. Red wolves were considered more wild at heart. Although they, in contrast to grey wolves, lived close to tigers, he never heard of conficts between Amur tigers and red wolves.         

A few years ago, I visited the second zoo in Berlin. It had many animals not seen in other zoos. The red dogs were different from grey wolves. Although smaller, they seemed much more aware and, in a strange way, present. At first, they made no impression. After a few minutes, in which they completely disappeared and re-appeared out of nowhere, visitors became uneasy. I wouldn't say they saw 'm as a threat, but then they did. Next day, I went there on my own. I talked to a man who knew them. He told me visitors avoided them. Same for the keepers. He was the only one willing to feed them. Elusive comes to mind when I think of them. Out of a different world.  

I'm not saying wild dogs pose a threat to a healthy adult tiger in India. Far from it. Everything we know points in another direction. But today is today and today is very different from a century ago. Humans are all over the place, forests are largely gone, the climate has changed and natural disasters have become normal just about everywhere. Two centuries ago, the situation was very different. In many regions, animals ruled. Who are we to doubt observations and ideas of those who lived in wild regions for years?

I am in that lucky position, imo, that I haven´t participated to any of those forums you mention :) So I don´t know what kind of reputations people here have in different places and truly speaking I´m not too interested. I am interested about wildlife and good information and good discussions. When I see something interesting or odd, I make a comment. I think, that I have agreed and disagreed already with most of people here time to time. Some like, some don´t, but nevertheless when in public forum we all have to accept it, that it can happen both ways. Especially in matters, which can´t be measured in weight or length.

Passion is good thing to have. Same time it has to be remembered, that there is thin line between passion and obsession. When that line is crossed, debates change often very heated up, even ugly time to time. When it happens, all have to go to look at the mirror and take some time. Many debates heat up from reasons, which are in reality irrelevant/indifferent/minor issues.

Sometimes when there isn´t possible to get consensus, it´s better to leave some subjects at some point and move on while accepting that others can think in different way. This "case Sankhala" is clearly one such thing, where different people have different perspectives, no matter what.

But overall I have said, what I think about Sankhala etc. already months ago, so I leave this issue here from my part :)

Good summary of the things that count during a debate, including the remarks on passion, obsession, perspective and mirrors (self-reflection). I propose to move on.

The next post will be on the size of Terai tigers and those from central parts of India. The info is largely from books written a century ago, when tigers were hunted just about everywhere in what was then British India. The difference between then and now is tigers are no longer hunted. This means exceptional individuals, when lucky, now have the opportunity to get to old age.  

Exceptional individuals do not affect averages to the degree often assumed, but they have an effect. Nepal tigers shot before 1940 were a bit longer than those shot in northern India in the same period. Hunting had an effect, because experienced hunters often selected large individuals.
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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@peter

There is no doubt why I consider my friend; you are the calm when I am storm, the ying of the yang, the dragon of the tiger. Your analysis is good and I respect what you say about me. I am agree in that things went up at some moments and that “absolutes” are not true. That is why I made that last post, because I tried to show why I think what I am think, I could say that the post was especially for you, because I had a debt and I think that I finally pay it. I am satisfied with my post, and like I said, I am tired of that topic, I have soooooo many things that I want to upgrade in my topics that making this last post was a huge effort and waste of resources. I want to share all the knowledge that I got with the book of Dr Chundawat and also I am planning to buy new books of Valmik Thapat that I am 100% sure that you will love them.



About Kenneth Anderson, I think that I still have my doubts, and believe me or not, now is not only thanks to Dr Karanth, but also because of Sankhala! (ohhh  the irony!). I will like to see which are your thoughts on the chapter 7 of Sankhala’s book, I think that deserves a good analysis about the man-eaters case, if maybe all those stories that we have trust are, in fact, exaggerations at some point. Sankhala made a good case defending tigers in that chapter.




Sorry to say this, but if you don’t see the point of my last post, then you are not paying attention at all. You mention the “taking things personal” phrase but I mention to you the “vanity” word, something that you are reflecting in your last posts. I don’t understand why is the necessity of been against any post that I made, I overlooked it in the past as I have enough experience in forums and things like that are pretty normal, but this time your asseveration that my post was the result of taking the things “personally” is really rubbish. My previous post IS the type of post that I normally made: long, clear, point by point and full of images (I could not scan the pages for lack of time). If you never had the opportunity to see my old posts (when I had full time to post) I invite you to see them. You will never see small commentaries in very important issues from my part, and if I don’t write long posts anymore is just because I don’t have time. So I advise you to lower your engines, to read the post again, maybe two or three times in order to understand it, and if you can’t (or don’t want) to get the point, leave it as it is and continue, like @peter said.

 

To all: From my part I think that this chapter is close, I will try to continue with the posts that I want to make, so stay tuned.

 

Greetings to all.
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United Arab Emirates BorneanTiger Offline
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( This post was last modified: 07-14-2019, 04:54 PM by BorneanTiger )

I made this thread (https://wildfact.com/forum/topic-tigers-...awan-japan) to talk about tigers in places where we wouldn't see them nowadays, such as Borneo and Palawan (Philippines), and partly considering that I didn't have all the information that was posted here about the mystery of whether or not tigers, which are known to have occurred in Borneo in prehistoric times, survived there up to recent or modern times, with @phatio having adding interesting images of fangs and skins here (https://wildfact.com/forum/topic-on-the-...s?page=146).
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Finland Shadow Offline
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(07-14-2019, 08:41 AM)GuateGojira Wrote: @peter

There is no doubt why I consider my friend; you are the calm when I am storm, the ying of the yang, the dragon of the tiger. Your analysis is good and I respect what you say about me. I am agree in that things went up at some moments and that “absolutes” are not true. That is why I made that last post, because I tried to show why I think what I am think, I could say that the post was especially for you, because I had a debt and I think that I finally pay it. I am satisfied with my post, and like I said, I am tired of that topic, I have soooooo many things that I want to upgrade in my topics that making this last post was a huge effort and waste of resources. I want to share all the knowledge that I got with the book of Dr Chundawat and also I am planning to buy new books of Valmik Thapat that I am 100% sure that you will love them.



About Kenneth Anderson, I think that I still have my doubts, and believe me or not, now is not only thanks to Dr Karanth, but also because of Sankhala! (ohhh  the irony!). I will like to see which are your thoughts on the chapter 7 of Sankhala’s book, I think that deserves a good analysis about the man-eaters case, if maybe all those stories that we have trust are, in fact, exaggerations at some point. Sankhala made a good case defending tigers in that chapter.




Sorry to say this, but if you don’t see the point of my last post, then you are not paying attention at all. You mention the “taking things personal” phrase but I mention to you the “vanity” word, something that you are reflecting in your last posts. I don’t understand why is the necessity of been against any post that I made, I overlooked it in the past as I have enough experience in forums and things like that are pretty normal, but this time your asseveration that my post was the result of taking the things “personally” is really rubbish. My previous post IS the type of post that I normally made: long, clear, point by point and full of images (I could not scan the pages for lack of time). If you never had the opportunity to see my old posts (when I had full time to post) I invite you to see them. You will never see small commentaries in very important issues from my part, and if I don’t write long posts anymore is just because I don’t have time. So I advise you to lower your engines, to read the post again, maybe two or three times in order to understand it, and if you can’t (or don’t want) to get the point, leave it as it is and continue, like @peter said.

 

To all: From my part I think that this chapter is close, I will try to continue with the posts that I want to make, so stay tuned.

 

Greetings to all.

I said, what I think overall and maybe in time you understand something about points I have there. But I meant exactly what I wrote. These forums are full of situations, where people lose self-control more or less. But what comes to your latest posting and postings before it, as I said, I have said what I have had in mind already months ago :) In that there is no need to write more, you think about certain things as you do, I see many things differently and Peter for instance again has his opinions. In some issues that is the best, what can be accomplished. And maybe more people got interested to read books from Sankhala, Karanth, Thapar and others. If interested about tigers and people who have worked and working with them, that is one good way to learn and form own opinion. Sometimes best result from certain discussions can be, that more people take time to do that :) There are many interesting stories to read for people, who are willing to take some time.

For people, who aren´t too interested about reading so much and also to those, who are, don´t forget this:
https://variety.com/2019/film/reviews/tigerland-review-1203126893/
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(07-14-2019, 02:33 PM)Shadow Wrote: For people, who aren´t too interested about reading so much and also to those, who are, don´t forget this:
https://variety.com/2019/film/reviews/tigerland-review-1203126893/

Good add, thank you for sharing.
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Finland Shadow Offline
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( This post was last modified: 07-15-2019, 07:00 PM by Shadow )

(07-14-2019, 10:17 PM)GuateGojira Wrote:
(07-14-2019, 02:33 PM)Shadow Wrote: For people, who aren´t too interested about reading so much and also to those, who are, don´t forget this:
https://variety.com/2019/film/reviews/tigerland-review-1203126893/

Good add, thank you for sharing.

Just to clear a bit. Even though in some issues we might disagree more or less, it doesn´t mean that I wouldn´t respect it, that you provide often good information. Disagreements happen sometimes, that´s life :)
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