Tracks | The Tiger War

The patrol followed the footprints and traces the tiger left in the snow

Planet Doc

From Asia Minor to South East Asia, eight subspecies of tigers shared the world with us. Today, only five remain. In the course of two centuries, man has decimated the tiger populations. The species of Bali, Java and the Caspian disappeared forever. Of the five remaining subspecies, one, the Chinese, is irremediably condemned to extinction. And today, without local tigers, traditional Chinese medicine looks to the tigers of India and, above all, those of neighbouring Russia, where there is little control, for supplies that could, in just a few years, wipe out the Amur tiger or the Siberian tiger.

Vladimir Shetinin’s men continue their search. The tracks of the man-eating tiger lead them deep into the forest and its smell has not yet disappeared, enabling the dogs to follow its trail.Finally, a stealthy movement alerts the patrol. The tiger is there, lying in the snow. And, without hesitation, Vladimir’s men complete their mission.

The man-eating tiger is dead.

For men who risk their lives to protect these great felines, killing one is a sad, demoralising task. But the attitude of the tiger lying in the snow and its behaviour in the village make them suspect the animal was wounded. Wanting to discover the reasons that turned the tiger into a danger for the local villages, Vladimir’s men remove its skin. Shortly afterwards, the bullet that ended its life appears.

And a little later, the guards find the confirmation of their suspicions.

They remove thick pellets from the body of the tiger. The animal has received a pellet shot that did not kill it but did leave it seriously wounded, with its hunting abilities impaired and in terrible pain, which undoubtedly made it mad with rage. Now, Vladimir Shetinin’s team has a new mission: to find the poacher that caused this tragedy.

While in Siberia they are looking for the culprit, in the safety of the Kanha National Park, Ahimsa, which in Hindi means “against violence”, explores her new territory. 
Despite the fact that Ahimsa is not yet in heat, the local male, who has already smelt her trail, accepts her in his domains. A female with two cubs needs between 40 and 70 large prey a year, which in many cases means dangerous competition for the male. But in Kanha the prey are very numerous and the tiger is happy to accept the new tigress. With a stable population of large herbivores, the park enables each male tiger to have a territory of around 100 km2, in each one of which up to five females can live.

The determining factor in the extinction of the tigers of the Caspian, Bali and Java was the disappearance of their prey. Fortunately, here, in Kanha, the striped felines still enjoy the natural balance of the India of the past. For most of the tiger populations of the world, however, prey are increasingly scarce.

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