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The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survivalby John Vaillant
Synopses & Reviews
It’s December 1997, and a man-eating tiger is on the prowl outside a remote village in Russia’s Far East. The tiger isn’t just killing people, it’s annihilating them, and a team of men and their dogs must hunt it on foot through the forest in the brutal cold. As the trackers sift through the gruesome remains of the victims, they discover that these attacks aren’t random: the tiger is apparently engaged in a vendetta. Injured, starving, and extremely dangerous, the tiger must be found before it strikes again.
As he re-creates these extraordinary events, John Vaillant gives us an unforgettable portrait of this spectacularly beautiful and mysterious region. We meet the native tribes who for centuries have worshipped and lived alongside tigers, even sharing their kills with them. We witness the arrival of Russian settlers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, soldiers and hunters who greatly diminished the tiger populations. And we come to know their descendants, who, crushed by poverty, have turned to poaching and further upset the natural balance of the region.
This ancient, tenuous relationship between man and predator is at the very heart of this remarkable book. Throughout we encounter surprising theories of how humans and tigers may have evolved to coexist, how we may have developed as scavengers rather than hunters, and how early Homo sapiens may have fit seamlessly into the tiger’s ecosystem. Above all, we come to understand the endangered Siberian tiger, a highly intelligent super-predator that can grow to ten feet long, weigh more than six hundred pounds, and range daily over vast territories of forest and mountain.
Beautifully written and deeply informative, The Tiger circles around three main characters: Vladimir Markov, a poacher killed by the tiger; Yuri Trush, the lead tracker; and the tiger himself. It is an absolutely gripping tale of man and nature that leads inexorably to a final showdown in a clearing deep in the taiga.
The hunt for a man-eating tiger across the forbidding landscape of Russia’s Far East.
When Yuri Trush was called in to investigate an attack by a Siberian tiger, what he found was unlike anything he’d ever encountered. Nothing remained of the victim but stumps of bone protruding from his boots. Even more chilling was the evidence that this attack had been carefully orchestrated, as if the tiger was seeking revenge. Before long, the beast struck again, and Trush, leader of a tiger conservation unit, found himself forced to hunt this animal through the brutal cold of a Siberian winter, becoming intimately acquainted with the tiger’s history, motives, and unique method of attack—until their harrowing final encounter.
John Vaillant recreates these astonishing events against the backdrop of Russia’s most remote frontier, a place where the native peoples worship tigers but poachers threaten the species’ survival. He describes the historic collisions between Chinese and Russian settlers (trappers, thieves, deserters, and exiles), and the struggles of their descendants, who, in the chaotic aftermath of perestroika, turn to poaching to survive—in this case with deadly consequences.
A haunting, gripping exploration of predators and prey, and an intimate portrait of a remarkable animal increasingly threatened by interaction with humans.
About the Author
John Vaillant is also the author of The Golden Spruce. He has written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, and Men’s Journal, among other publications. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife and children.
Table of Contents
Markov — Pochepnya — Thrush.
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Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Environment