Posts

Showing posts from March, 2021

When do tigers hunt?

Image
Night-time radio-tracking in India's tiger reserves indicates that tigers often hunt at night while moving slowly along roads and trails. They do this because it is quiet and they don't disturb prey animals. It means they don't have to brush through dense grass which creates noise. It is also more comfortable not to have to push through dense vegetation which might be wet and cold. Tigers mainly hunt at night all night. Photo: Pixabay (modified). The usual routine for a tiger is to start looking for food shortly before sunset and to continue all night long. Siberian tigers live in very cold and snowy conditions and they can sometimes starve to death if the snow is unusually heavy. They avoid hunting in areas with deep snow cover because their prey won't be there. And also because it is difficult to walk through an unstable snow crust. If the snow is deep they might take advantage of a frozen river bed or paths made by the animals that they are preying upon i.e. large

What is the natural or ideal habitat of the tiger?

Image
Tigers want and need access to large terrestrial animals as prey. Therefore what is good for these prey animals is good for the tiger. You'll find the highest density of tigers and the largest home range size where there is an abundance of large terrestrial prey.   What is the natural or ideal habitat of the tiger? A habitat that supports its ideal prey animal: large ungulates. This is related to habitat diversity and primary productivity. 'Primary productivity' refers to the rate at which energy from sunlight is converted to organic substances by photosynthesis.  This is a reference to the tiger food chain. Where the habitat is able to convert sunlight into an abundance of plants which feeds the herbivore prey animals of the tiger there will be an ideal and natural habitat for the tiger. In practical terms this is where 'grassland and forest form a mosaic; a mix of vegetation types supports a rich ungulate community'. Ungulates are hoofed mammals. Note: tigers a

Failure in repopulating tiger reserve exposes India's tiger conservation weaknesses

Image
NEWS AND COMMENT: Atkosia Tiger Reserve is located in the Angul district of Odisha, India covering an area of 988.30 km². A plan to repopulate the reserve with tigers has failed miserably with a catalogue of disasters. Sad failure in tiger conservation in India. Photo: The Hindu file photo. A tigress imported into the reserve (one of a pair) has been removed from the reserve to be returned to Madhya Pradesh. The tigress's name is Sundari. The tiger was kept in a special enclosure inside the Satkosia Forest before removal. A final act of failure. Before the return of Sundari it was claimed that the reserve had abundant prey and the management had asked for fresh tigers.  In the first year of the repopulation a tiger was gifted from Kanha and a tigress from the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.  The tigress strayed into a human settlement surrounding the reserve and killed two people. And then, in Nov 2018, the first tiger was killed by poachers. Comment : poaching of Bengal tigers to su

Names of film tigers (and a person)

Image
Adult tiger at repose. Image: Pixabay. What was the tiger called in the life of Pi? Answer: Richard Parker who is a Bengal tiger that lived in a zoo owned by Pi's family. What was the Tiger King's name? Answer: this is a reference to Joe Exotic, real name Joseph Allen Schreibvogel, who featured in the recent Netflix docuseries about private zoos in America and the ostensible feud (not true) between Mr Exotic and Carole Baskin who founded, owns and managed Big Cat Rescue (BCR). What was the tiger's name in Aladdin? Answer: Rajah. What was the tiger's name in Jungle Book? Answer: Shere Khan (a Bengal tiger). What does 'Shere Khan' mean? According to The Kipling Society 'shere' means tiger and 'khan' is a title of distinction as he is the chief among tigers. Image by  No-longer-here  from  Pixabay  

Indian villagers eat tiger meat in Raipur, Chhattisgarh

Image
A swath of officials in the Indian city of Raipur, Chhattisgarh have been arrested on suspicion of being involved in the illegal tiger trade and there appears to be evidence that villagers have been eating tiger body parts.  Bengal tiger for illustration purposes only. Photo in public domain. Eating tiger body parts almost exclusively occurs in the Far East of Asia e.g. in Vietnam, China and Laos. This is the first time to my knowledge that Indians in India have been involved in this conservation-busting practice. It must have happened before, however. Two assistant sub-inspectors of police, five constables, three health department officials and a school headmaster are among those arrested for being involved in the illegal trade of a tiger hide. They caught them through a decoy operation on March 12th. It is reported that two local residents have confessed to the police that they killed the tiger accidentally. They wanted to trap wild pigs in the Bacheli forest range. A tiger was tr

How do tigers eat large prey animals?

Image
Well firstly, tigers kill large animals by suffocating them with a bite to the throat. Tigers hold down their prey sometimes beyond the time when they are dead and have stopped struggling. They take their prey into cover for security and then begin to eat.  How do tigers eat large prey animals? The sequence is spelled out on this page. Normally they start at the back end of the animal i.e. the rump and buttocks. They progress forwards and open the body cavity to remove the stomach. They place the stomach to one side of the carcass and then continue eating. Tigers normally eat in that Sphinx-like position which is in a semi-prone position with the stomach touching the ground. I guess it's more comfortable because they eat over a long period of time. They rest on their elbows. You may know that the molars of tigers are not flat at the top as they are for humans but they are like scissors and as the teeth meet they slice chunks of flesh of the prey animal. Their tongue is covered i

Russian social media influencers and celebrities abuse tigers and lions

Image
NEWS AND COMMENT: In order to gloss up their celebrity status and present to the world that they live a glamorous lifestyle, female Russian social media celebrities and influencers have introduced sedated tigers and lions as glamorous props at wild parties.  Even within Russia there are those who have criticised them heavily. There are obviously animal advocates in Russia but there are other people who think that Russians don't give a damn about animal welfare. It's one reason why the Siberian tiger is near extinction. For many years it was the target of sport hunters. Ilona Kotelyukh poses with the tiger at her party in Moscow Credit: Peopletalk.ru One female model and influencer Ilona Kotelyukh, 28, had a party marking Russian Women's Day which is a holiday apparently, where the guests were entertained with a striptease and where the surroundings were glamorised by three sedated tigers (see above). She is the wife of multimillionaire insurance king Nikolay Sarkisov, 52

Sloth bear carrying 2 cubs on her back defeats 2 Bengal tigers

Image
This encounter occurred at a tiger reserve in India (Ranthambore National Park). The Bengal tigers were having a quiet session of sex and minding their own business as they do. A sloth bear was also minding her own business travelling for A to B, but she unexpectedly came upon the mating tigers. Sloth bear carrying 2 cubs on her back defeats 2 Bengal tigers. Photo:  wildlife photographer Aditya Dicky Singh In terms of reproduction she was at a more advanced stage as she was carrying her cubs on her back. They cling on for safety. The bear instinctively terrorised the tigers in defence of her offspring. Sloth bears are very dangerous for people which indicates how aggressive and violent they can be. They feed of insects. Hardly a carnivorous predator and yet behaving like one. Anyway the tigers backed off and disappeared, soundly defeated in the encounter. But I think it is unfair to state what I have, in fact, stated because the tigers were not hunting at that time. They were having

British PM needs to think of the tiger when pushing trade links with China

Image
NEWS AND COMMENT: I know that the majestic tiger is nothing to the British government. The tiger's gradual extinction in the wild is not on Boris Johnson's radar. Never has been. BUT I am sure Carrie Symonds, his fiancĂ©e, has considered the abuse of the tiger by four Asian countries: China, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos and as such here is a real opportunity to add some conditions to the trade links that Britain wants to develop with China and neighbouring countries.   British PM needs to think of the tiger when pushing trade links with China. This is a tiger farm. Gross animal abuse. Cruel. These tigers will soon be killed and their body parts harvested. Pic in the public domain. I recently wrote about the abuses dished out to the tiger by these countries  - click to read it . If anyone cares about animal welfare it is horrendous. For example, deboning living tigers to make pink tiger bone jewellery. Can you believe it?  It is truly time to tackle tiger abuse and exploitation

How Netflix's 'Tiger King' can harm wildlife and humans

Image
Netflix's Tiger King documentary was highly popular. I think, for a while, it was their highest rated production. It made a celebrity out of Joe Exotic. He is not a celebrity but a foolish individual with a disdain for animal welfare and a convicted criminal. It appears that there is going to be a second series because of the popularity of the first. There may be spin-offs because I read that Louis Theroux wants to dive into the murky world of Joe Exotic again. Wild animals kept as pets in the UK. Graphic: The Sun  newspaper. Date: 17/03/2021. But all this focus on keeping tigers and other exotic animals as pets in a self-indulgent way is damaging to wildlife conservation and it also represents a distorted relationship between humans and other animals. Wild animals are not ours to possess and use for our entertainment. We should do all we can to allow them to live natural lives in the wild. Sadly too many foolish and inscrupulous individuals prefer to possess them, use them and

Siberian tigers are contracting canine distemper

Image
The Siberian tiger population, a.k.a. Amur tigers, are already critically endangered because of their low population numbers at about 500. Conservationists are engaged in a rearguard action to save them and a recent attempt at artificial insemination at a zoo tragically killed the tiger . I now read that they are at risk of being killed by canine distemper (Scientific American online).  Siberian tigers are contracting canine distemper. Photo: Jeannette Rudloff Zonar GmbH and Alamy Stock Photo. The experts discovered this disease in Siberian tigers in 2003 when a young tiger wandered into a Russian village on the Chinese border. The scientists determined that she suffered from canine distemper. She died not long after her discovery.  I had thought that canine distemper was not zoonotic and therefore it could not be transmitted from dogs to cats. We are not told how the tigers are getting this disease (but see below). Let's just say that Siberian tigers are suffering from distempe

Artificial insemination of a captive Amur tiger killed her

Image
COMMENT AND REPORT ON TIGER NEWS: This is a tragic story because the Amur tiger is rare. There are desperate measures being taken to protect and conserve this iconic animal. They live in the Far East of Russia, in that icy wilderness of birch trees and snowy landscapes. They are large animals. They've evolved that way to keep warm in the cold climate. It is believed that there are 500 left in the world. This puts pressure on zoos to try and breed them successfully.  Artificial insemination of a captive Amur tiger killed it. Photo: Cheyenne Mountain Zoom. Tigers usually breed well in zoos but in this instance, at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA, they tried artificial insemination of a female, Savelii, because their resident male wouldn't mate with her to produce offspring naturally. The operation went badly wrong and it killed her. A spokesperson for the zoo, Bob Chastain, said that: "She passed due to complications during recovery from this impo

France allegedly involved in abusive tiger trade

Image
COMMENT ON NEWS: Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and China appear to be the big four countries where tigers are abused the most but in Europe we can add France. I was surprised. The news goes against the grain or our perceptions of France as a civilised country. And they like to believe that they are more civilised than any other country.  France allegedly involved in abusive tiger trade. Photo: Pixabay. An organisation called 'Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project' have concluded that 'France is home to a booming tiger trade'. They refer to an article by Oxpeckers - 'Investigative Environmental Journalism'. Oxpeckers say that tigers are big business in France. It looks like France is leading the way in Europe on big animal abuse. The po-faced holier-than-thou French who love bureaucracy because it makes them more civilised (they think) are showing their true colours in allowing this abuse of the world's most iconic animal. The more iconic an animal is

Perverted human behaviour in the creation of pink tiger bone jewellery

Image
COMMENT AND OPINION ON THE NEWS: This is a quick note on a topic which frankly disgusts me. In Laos some commercial enterprises are sedating tigers and cutting their bones from them and using the blood filled bones to make jewellery. It is sick human behaviour.  Perverted human behaviour in the creation of pink tiger bone jewellery. Pic: in public domain. What happens to the tigers after they wake up? They've been deboned. Which bloody bones are they missing? Does it affect them badly? Can they move? These bloody bastards are harvesting the body parts of tigers while they are alive. They can't even bloody well wait until they kill them to 'harvest' the bones, skin, teeth, penis etc.. There is a film about this sort of mass and extreme abuse and exploitation of tigers which will be aired shortly I believe. It is called The Tiger Mafia by Karl Ammann and Laurin Merz. Tiger in severe ill-health at an Asian tiger farm. Acute abuse. Horror. Hateful human behaviour. Unfor

Why shouldn't tigers be kept in captivity?

Image
There is no God-given rule, no absolute diktat from up above as to why tigers should be kept in captivity. They shouldn't. In a better world, with half the current human population, there would be enough space for tigers to live in their own reserves without coming into conflict with people. In other words people would be living in harmony with tigers rather than persecuting them, exploiting them, abusing them and banging them up in prison cells with concrete floors and nasty bars.  Why shouldn't tigers be kept in captivity? Because it is a f**k**g failure. Pic: Pixabay. Tigers like to enjoy space. In the natural world they may roam over hundreds of square miles in their home range. You imprison them in a zoo and no matter how wonderful you make that zoo they are still confined to a space much smaller than they would be enjoying in the wild. And let's remind ourselves that very many zoos are terrible dumps. They are disgusting places in Third World countries where tigers

Would a tiger kill and eat a domestic cat?

Image
Yes, a tiger would kill and eat a domestic cat if the opportunity presented itself. Tigers are opportunistic hunters and will attack almost anything even frogs, fish and elephants and all animals in between. Their prey animals includes domestic animals such as cows and buffalos.  Sumatran tiger by Brookshaw photography. There are records of tigers killing and eating another big cat, the leopard and a medium-sized cat the lynx. Tigers also kill and eat bears, wolves and foxes, all carnivores. Leopards avoid tigers for obvious reasons. There is no gentlemen's agreement between the various cat species that they should not attack and eat each other. It would be nice if there was. My source material is page 349 of Wild Cats of the World by the Sunquists. It is the best book on the wild cats in my view except it could do with being updated on conservation as it is dated 2002. There is relentlesss pressure on the tiger from human population growth and above all Chinese traditional med

Can tigers cry?

Image
Yes, tigers can cry because the verb "to cry" refers to crying for emotional reasons AND it also refers to crying for physical reasons such as washing an unwanted substance from the cornea of the eye or eyes. There must be instances in the life of a tiger when their eyes tear up to wash away an irritant. And those tears drain into a tear duct which in turn drains into their nose. They would not have a tear duct if they could not produce tears and if they can produce tears they can cry. Can tigers cry? Yes. Photo: Pixabay. People normally associate crying with an emotional response to something causing grief or sadness. Even elation. But the dictionary definition of crying is wider than that. The verb is applicable even without emotion. I think it's pretty clear that cats don't cry because of emotions but there is an ongoing debate about the types of emotions that cats can experience. There is a discussion on whether cats can experience higher emotions. We know tha

Did the 'Tiger King' get out of prison?

Image
COMMENT ON THE NEWS: Joe Exotic (not his real name which is believed to be Joseph Allen Schreibvogel) was dubbed 'Tiger King' by Netflix for their documentary series about him and his relationship with Carole Baskin the founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue (BCR) Colbert interviews Joe Exotic from his prison. Video screenshot. Exotic was sentenced to 22 years in prison for conspiring to murder Baskin . He asked for a presidential pardon from Trump who failed to respond to the request .  Baskin hates the Netflix documentary as it portrays her as being of the same ilk as Joe Exotic. They painted a picture of a feud between them. There was not. Exotic clearly hated her because she campaigned against people like Exotic who abused and exploited tiger cubs for profit. I think that it is accepted that Exotic disposed of tiger cubs when they became sub-adults as they were no longer assets but liabilities in terms of turning a profit .  He only wanted those cute cubs which he could explo

Why the tiger is endangered according to Dr Desmond Morris

Image
In 1996 Dr Desmond Morris's book Cat World was published. Okay, that is 16 years ago and the stresses on tiger conservation since then have mounted because the four reasons for the fall in tiger populations listed below are still present and getting worse. Bengal tiger cooling off in water. Photo: Pixabay. Tigers are great swimmers. In 1996 the human population of Asia had more than doubled since 1950 to 3,000 million. It will be double that in another 30 years. The 'living space for the tigers is vanishing year by year'. Yes, it is a simple matter of space. Tigers need lots of it: hundreds of square miles (male: up to 300 square kilometres). Secondly he writes that sport hunting still exists. I disagree with this because nowadays when tigers are shot they are not shot for the entertainment factor, they are shot dead for their body parts which are very valuable in Chinese medicine. Yes, there is still some illegal trophy hunting of the tiger but sport hunting is scarce

Can tigers meow?

Image
Yes, tigers can meow in their own way. According to a true expert on carnivore vocalisations, Gustav Peters, tigers have several types of vocalisations. These include the meow. They also include the prusten, roar, growl, snarl, coughing snarl, grunt, moan, spit and hiss. Tigers can meow in their own way. Is it a true meow? Photo: Pixabay. That's it. There is nothing more to say about tigers meowing but I'll go on! I had thought that they were incapable of meowing because they can roar.  But it depends on how you describe the meow sound. It is a 'elastic' sound in that it varies so much. You can't expect a tiger with their voice box to meow like a domestic cat.  There is a certain amount if imagination required to shoehorn the tiger meow into the category of sounds called the 'meow'. This is why it is a tricky subject to discuss. I have just written a page on the wild cats which meow . And that was difficult because except for the wild ancestor of the domesti

Are white tigers albino?

Image
The well-known white tigers at zoos which are so popular with tourists and visitors are not albinos. Albinos have pure white coats and pink eyes. White tiger. Not an albino. Photo: Pixabay. The glamorous white coat is chalky-white, their stripes are chocolate coloured (a dilute version of the normal near black stripes), and their eyes are ice-blue. Not the appearance of an albino cat. This non-albino tiger coat is due to a pair of recessive genes. It is thought the genes emerged as recessive genes because of a mutation which occurred about 100 years ago (as at 2002). All the world's captive white tigers are descendants from one dazzlingly beautiful white cub spared the tiger hunter's bullet as he was captured in Madhya Pradesh, India in 1951. His name was Mohan and he was mated with a normal-coloured tigress. All the offspring were normal. The breeders forced the recessive gene to the surface by inbreeding Mohan with one of the cubs mentioned. This produced the result they w

When tigers were pests

Image
There was a time when tigers were considered pests. The time was towards the middle of the eighteenth century. That's the middle of the 1700s for the sake of clarity. The fact of the matter is that many people today still consider the tiger to be a pest.  Tigers can still get in the way of day-to-day human life (the conflict in the Sundarbans region in Bangladesh being an example). Perhaps this is one reason why, despite an apparent concerted effort to protect the tiger, their numbers are still slowly declining and are precariously low (around 3.5k worldwide in the wild). Tiger hunting during the British Raj in India. Photo in the publis domain. A man called J. Forsyth wrote about the 'obstacle presented by the number of these animals [he was referring to tigers] to the advance of population and tillage'. It is old fashioned language meaning that tigers stopped the human population growing and stopped people working. His words were published in 1872 in his work The Highl

The world's first tigers?

Image
When did the first tigers walk the earth? It is a big question and one we have difficulty answering. It remains an evolving topic of discussion. In 2011 it was reported that the oldest extinct species of tiger had been discovered in China. The fossil was dated as being more than 2 million years old (2.16-2.55 million years). This predated earlier findings by 0.5 million years. Depiction of an ancient tiger perhaps one of the world's first. Image: Image credit: Velizar Simeonovski et al, PLoS ONE This ancient tiger, perhaps one of the first to walk the earth, was smaller than today's and was the size of a modern day jaguar, and therefore considerably smaller. They named the species: Panthera zdanskyi after the Austrian palaeontologist Otto Zdansky, now deceased. The fossil was uncovered in 2004 at Gansu in China. Judging by the shape of the skull, they decided that it was a male. It is similar to modern tigers'. And they believe the diet would have been similar too: main

The first recorded captive tiger in England

Image
The exact date of the foundation of the royal menagerie appears to be uncertain. My source tells me that around 1120 King Henry I established a 'flourishing menagerie near Oxford which included the first recorded captive tiger in England'. Royal menagerie in 1816. Picture in the public domain. Another source tells me that the menagerie was founded at the Tower of London during the reign of King John (1199-1216). I favour the first date!  On that basis, the menagerie was moved to the Tower of London about 100 years after it was established.  The animals were gifts from other royalty. Various other tigers were presented to the Crown by rulers such as Frederick II, the Holy Roman Emperor. The zoo was closed to the public until the middle of the eighteenth century (around 1750). Until then royalty and guests were allowed to see the animals which were rare and exotic to the English of that era. Knowledge of managing captive animals was relative poor and it is said that many died