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Fearsome Rage by HeWhoWalksWithTigers Fearsome Rage by HeWhoWalksWithTigers
This is Tatiana, an Amur (Siberian) tigress with cubs at the Toronto Zoo.

What is interesting is that...well...she hates me. I hate to say it, but it is what I've concluded after several visits with her. Every time I have come to visit her she has seen me, growled, hissed and showed her long teeth. At first, I thought it was just an issue regarding my clothing choice ([link]). However, my subsequent visits told me otherwise.

Now she has cubs and she shows her dislike for me even more intensely. She will see me and not only will she show the warning signs above, but she now lunges at the glass where I am standing ([link] , [link] ). Needless to say, if that glass were not there, she would have killed me in a second. People may feel tough behind glass and fences, but they should respect the incredible power of these animals. It is both terrifying and awe-inspiring.

I'm would imagine she might do this to others as well, but what is interesting is that even with a crowd of over 2 dozen, if I'm in sight she'll single me out (much to the delight of the other zoo-goers). This has happened with wolves and cheetahs as well (though the cheetahs were more friendly than aggressive).

Well...what can I say. I'm a little disappointed that I would have that effect on a tiger. The other tigers I meet generally have neutral to favorable opinions of me and even major zoo tigers (who by all rights should ignore me) will occasionally chuff at me when I do it to them.

Some people might respond to something like this with anger or disrespect for the animal. After all, people go to zoos preoccupied with the idea that the animals are supposed to like them. However, I see it as further proof of how amazing this species is.

The tiger is a legendary mother and there are very few things more terrifying than the power and courage shown by one defending her cubs. From this tiger's perspective, I was taller and thus, much larger than she was. Yet, at the same time, she had no hesitation to stand between me and her cubs and go on the attack.

The virtue of the tiger is most certainly courage. I have experienced it for myself. This animal deserves tremendous respect.


Tigers are the largest of the big cats and are exclusively found in Asia from India to Vietnam, from Indonesia to the Russian Far East. The tiger can be divided into 9 subspecies: 4 are currently critically endangered and 3 are already extinct. Though estimations of tiger populations only a few years ago was 5,500-6,000, today populations are likely closer to 3,500 and are still declining. Dramatic declines of the tiger in India, thought to host the majority of the world’s tigers, have fallen to less than 1,411. Overall, the past decade has seen a 40% reduction in tiger habitat, which now represents a mere 7% of its historic range. Poaching is a significant problem throughout the tiger’s range, the demand for its body parts in traditional medicines, tonics, and exotic dishes driving a lucrative trade that is wiping out entire populations. Long-term threats include habitat fragmentation and prey depletion, which is accelerating the tiger’s demise and subsequently reducing the long-term genetic viability of many populations.

If you want to help, the best for you to do is to educate yourself ([link]), never buy products made from tigers or endangered species ([link]), and tell others. Contact me for more information.
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BandaiJ Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Hmm. Well as someone said, they're like people in that they like and dislike certain people for no reason. Which they're entitled to. There must be SOME reason... I'd like to be able to find it...

Maybe it's your scent? Were you wearing something different that smells, like a different shampoo or even laundry detergent?

Maybe it was your demeanor? Since the other tigers like you, maybe without realizing it you carry yourself proudly and confidently, and she took this as a threat, especially with cubs? Or did you look her in the eyes once and she didn't like it, and it stuck?

Very interesting... of course if she could understand what you do for her species she'd change her mind xD

In one of the pictures you linked to, she looks afraid more than anything. Perhaps she's afraid of something around her (the construction, the zoo goers, anything) and since she recognizes you, she's asking for help? I dunno I'd have to be there xD
BandaiJ Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer

Maybe it's the CAMERA. Does it make noise? Are you using a flash? Maybe just the sight of it annoys her, or she has some phobia of them. I imagine she has them stuck in her face all day. It's got to be annoying and an invasion of her privacy, and with the cubs now, I don't blame her...

I'd suggest not showing a camera next time, and maybe getting lower somehow, on her level (I do this with dogs) and just kind of ease up on her, and see what happens.

DAMN I'M SO CURIOUS ABOUT THIS. You should take pics of the whole enclosure and it's surroundings, I wanna see it.
BandaiJ Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
And another one. xD just wanted to add, and you probably know this, that from what I saw in the linked photos (you left her ears out of these shots) she is being defensive, not aggressive. So something you are doing is DEFINITELY making her feel afraid and like she's being attacked. Ah we gotta figure this out xD
BandaiJ Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
OMG ANOTHER THOUGHT XD. I don't know how the enclosure works but is it possible she smells the other tigers you come into contact with on you? And that is setting her off?
HeWhoWalksWithTigers Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Scent: Unlikely...I don't think I smell bad enough to permeate the glass that was there.

Demeanor: Maybe...I have looked into her eyes and I do hold myself with a bit of confidence. I've met a lot of tigers though and none have acted in this way.

Disturbances: Another maybe... there was construction going on, but it has been a constant thing with her rather than just some that's happened the past couple of times.

Camera: Doubtful...I never use flash with animals, nor do I have any of the settings set to make noises. There were plenty of people with cameras and she never reacted like that to them. Moreover, the first time she acted that way towards me was in the photo I linked to her. She started doing it as soon as I showed up...without the camera in hand and I had little time to get it out and snap a picture before she walked off (hence the poor quality).

I don't doubt she was acting out of fear though. ...given her body language so I completely agree with you there. Tigers generally don't act that intensely to a mere annoyance, they act that way out of fear: fear of harm, fear of invasion of territory, fear for the cubs etc. Like you indicated, its a matter of knowing the specific reason.

Ultimately, I think you would have to be there...there are a lot of variables to consider.

(Interesting note: Because she couldn't hear my chuffs - to indicate friendly intentions - I started mimicking their head movements that they do when chuffing instead. After I started doing that in the last visit she no longer acted that way. I did it when one of her cubs was approaching me and I could see that it had actually chuffed back.)
isalin Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2008
very strange... maybe as some other people have already said that she has just taken a dislike to you like we do to some people but maybe she has seen something she doesn't like.... I guess you can't win with every animal. Nice picture by the way, she looks stunning.
TVD-Photography Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2008  Professional Photographer
She's beautiful but yeah, she doesn't seem to like you.
She might sense something she doesn't like perhaps? :(
HeWhoWalksWithTigers Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Well, she certainly skipped over the part about me where I dedicate my whole life to saving their species. =P

She was intimidated by something...a tiger wouldn't react that aggressively over a mere annoyance. Not sure what it would be though... I'm not exactly an imposing type.
TVD-Photography Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2008  Professional Photographer
There has to be something she is seeing that she doesn't like. I don't think it's you specifically. . I don't know, it just seems strange :o
Wounded-Leaf Featured By Owner Feb 29, 2008
Animals are just like people and no matter how hard you try there will always be animals and people that dislike you, it's just the way things are sometimes =\ My mom and dad bred German Shepards and there was one dog that we owned that no matter how many times I was around she was always aggressive towards me. And when she had puppies it was much worse. I just let her be and tried a few other times to recieve her approval but it never happened.

This shot is very amazing though. The lighting is my favorite part =]
This really shows the ferocity of a large cat and reminds everyone that jst because they seem like big housepets doesn't mean that at all. Great shot =]
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big kitties by siberiantigerfan


Submitted on
February 29, 2008
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Camera Data

Shutter Speed
10/1250 second
Focal Length
11 mm
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Date Taken
Feb 16, 2008, 12:47:56 PM