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Staring Death in the Face by HeWhoWalksWithTigers Staring Death in the Face 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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NDG101 Featured By Owner May 20, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
what,u took this pic?
elmoenvy2 Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2010
tigers are awesome
HeWhoWalksWithTigers Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
I agree.
Savage-Wake Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2009
She isn't the same tiger as the one in california that escaped is she? I think it was Cali
HeWhoWalksWithTigers Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Nope...Tatiana is a popular name. I'm sure this one would like to do me in just the same though.
Savage-Wake Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2009
Lol maybe she just doesnt like you camera?
HeWhoWalksWithTigers Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
I thought so too so I've made a effort to put away the camera when I approach, but she still seems to hate me. =P
Savage-Wake Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2009
Hahaha she probably has the image of that camera instilled in her mind
Bogrolls Featured By Owner May 30, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm sure she doean't hate you, she is probally just being protective, do you feel nervous around her because that can add to it aswell! :D
mikebontoft Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2008
aw wow....I know I saw this a long time ago, I guess I just didn't feel like commenting ^^; That's really an intense look there, really shows the uh, wildness (thank me for screwing that up :no:)
Ellygator Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow! That's pretty amazing, that you get that behavior from her with such consistency.
DarkBullet777 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
aww it sucks she doesnt like you O_o just don't go into her territory ^^;
i like the snarling shots that you get though, they look awesome =3
SpunkOnAStick Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2008  Professional Writer
Sorry she does not like you - but look at it this way - the snarling provides a unique photo opportunity!
dotofish Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2008
yeah I think that she isn't very friendly and is protective of her cubs right now. She has attacked me as well, jumping at the glass with a very loud growl.
sabot03196 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2008  Professional General Artist
I had a similar experience at the Toronto Zoo's Puma (?, I'm afraid I'm not up on my South American big cats) exhibit. I was there in late fall with my son who is autistic. As he walked up and down the length of the front of the exhibit area, the Black Panther followed him and never took it's eye's off of him. I just chalked it up to marking the weakest member of the pack.

Perhaps Tatiana links your features (body size, shape, hair, etc.) to a past, "Bad," experience, when she was much younger? So you're seen as a threat, even though you most obviously are not. We took in a stray pup who as she got older showed a definite intolerance to anybody who was Indo Canadian. As this was not trained behaviour, we could only guess that she'd been abused in some way prior to us finding her and taking her in.
TVD-Photography Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2008  Professional Photographer
OMG that's so amazing :heart:
HeWhoWalksWithTigers Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you! I am fond of this photo as was a lucky shot.
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Submitted on
February 29, 2008
Image Size
511 KB


98 (who?)

Camera Data

Shutter Speed
10/2000 second
Focal Length
9 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Feb 16, 2008, 12:48:00 PM