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THE KING OF FOREST

11 july 2019

THE KING OF FOREST

My Chinese name is Wang Zhe.
You can call me by my English name - King.
I am a wild Amur tiger, the largest feline in existence.
My adult brothers can be nearly 3 meters long,
and weigh up to 350 kilos.
We have thick fur, not cold even sleeping in the snow in winter.
We have strong muscles, with super explosive force.
It is effortless to leap a meter or two into the air.


                                                             
                                                                                            ©Jilin Hunchun Forestry Bureau                                                                                                ©Jilin Wangqing National Nature Reserve


We also have sharp teeth. Adult tigers have 30 teeth, canine teeth up to 6-8cm long, with amazing biting force - can bite off red deer's thick neck, let alone roe deer and sika deer's tiny necks. They say we can't climb trees. The truth is we’re afraid trees cannot bear us. We can do it when necessary.

 What we are best at is hiking and staying alone. We leave our mother when growing up, living independently. I patrol my territory every day. Our territory can reach 400 square kilometers on average, or even larger. I like to mark my smell by taking a pee, and rubbing my feet and fur on the trunk to make a unique mark is also a good idea. We are good swimmers too. It’s said that several brothers came from Russia swimming across the river.

Our ancestors inhabited and were prosperous in the northeastern China. The rich forests on the black soiled land were where we were born. Greater and Lesser Hinggan Mountains, Changbai Mountains, Laoye Mountains, Wanda Mountains and Zhang Guangcai Mountains were the places where our ancestors were active. In the middle of last century, we had more than 200 brothers and sisters. However, human activities caused habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, lack of prey and poaching etc.. As a result, in China, we only had about 20 ones left, and the area of our homeland was substantially reduced by over 80%. Today, our homes in China are only in the eastern parts of mountains in Heilongjiang Province and Jilin Province. Although I’m used to living alone, I still need to look for a girl friend. But it's really hard. I wander about every day, only to find that there are much more males than tigress in my hometown.


However tough, we still have to strive to survive. What are we tigers afraid of? We've never been afraid of anything. But it's really annoying that the poachers put their snare on my prey. It's said if you get into it, never count on getting out, or probably disabled even if you escape. What a cruel snare! So is a “bullet”. I saw a bear eat one, and then…(so bloody a picture)

I heard that a tigress in Russia was trapped in a snare, getting stuck, and she struggled for a long time out. Unfortunately, her claws were disabled, and later she starved to death. What a tragedy! So beautiful a tigress, I haven't met yet, vanished in permanence. What’s the use of a tiger’s roar? It is also heard that our cousin, Sumatran tigers, are also troubled by hunting sets. Previously, a mother tiger died of snares, leaving her two cubs died of starvation. 

                                                                                

                                                         ©Fitriani Dwi Kurniasari WWF-Indonesia                                                              ©Febri Widodo WWF-Indonesia  A tiger in Indonesia got trapped

 

Actually, the situation is not that bad, and there are people always protecting us. When I patrol my territory, I often find footprints and smells of the rangers, and the traces of hunting sets being removed. In addition, I see more and more cameras take pictures of me. If I’m happy, I pose for a picture; if not, I play with the camera. Wow, it’s unexpectedly harder than my teeth.

                                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                                                                   ©WWF

By the way, I met the rangers once in a while. On one occasion, I roared to scare them, and they sneaked away. On another occasion, I was really starved, so I grabbed a farmer's goose and ate it. The next day, I patrolled out of curiosity, and I saw a ranger set up a camera nearby the corn field.

 

I murmured to myself “Are they going to collect evidence? I just ate a goose, and the farmer didn’t say anything, did he?” Then I ate the dishes they put there as well. To tell you the truth, I don't like to eat livestock very much. I prefer red deer, roe deer and sika deer, but they are not enough. Fortunately, it gets a bit better these years. 

                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                   ©Zhan Youfa removed snares by the ranger


I can tell a Ranger from a Poacher,

as they have completely different eyes.

The ranger’s are warm and firm,

while the latter’s are cold and malevolent.

© Jilin Huangnihe National Nature Reserve/WWF, clearing hunting sets



Anyway,

I’ve returned to the homeland I’ve been dreaming of.

And I’m going to find a tigress.

Imagine what does she look like?

How about her temper?

Does she like red deer or roe deer?

Perhaps wild boar? (Well, I don't really like it)

What is her growth story?

My same word is

However tough, we still have to strive to survive.

We, King of the Forest, never fear of anything.

Let alone more and more people are protecting us.


                                                                                                      

                                                                                             An Amur tiger finding the camera ©Jilin Hunchun National Nature Reserve of Amur Tigers