Tigers in The Snow
Author: Peter Matthiessen - Photographs and introduction by: Maurice Hornocker
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Paperback 185 pages.
Publisher: North Point Press
Moggies gives this book a rating of five paws out of five -
Synopsis: There are no more than a few thousand tigers surviving in pockets of Asia. The largest of these, the Siberian tiger, is today almost entirely confined to the little-populated Russian Far East. Now these are under threat due to the intensified poaching and the destruction of habitat that has followed upon the collapse of the USSR. Peter Matthiessen brings to the Siberian tiger a deep knowledge of and feeling for the natural world. He tells the story of the species' origin and evolution, evoking as well its crucial role in the culture and mythology of the peoples who came into contact with it.
Tigers in the Snow Book Review by Brian Ambuel from Brookfield, WI, USA.
The book that I chose to read was titled Tigers in the Snow, written by Peter Matthiessen. Tigers in the Snow was published by North Point Press, in 2000. It is 208 pages long. In this book the author takes us with him on a journey through Asia trying to save the tigers. He writes about his experiences in the Siberian Tiger Project, founded in 1989. Peter Matthiessen writes to show people how important tigers are in the world and how close we are to losing them. This book is very factual and detailed it gave me the true picture of the tiger's cultural history and how close we are to losing them forever. This book is written from both an ecological and biological stance.
Ecologically, he explains how tigers interact with other animals. They interact with the elk and other prey such as wild pig by hunting them. They indirectly interact with humans by hunting the same prey as human hunters do. They also interact with humans because human industries destroy the tiger's and its prey's habitat. Biologically, the book proves that tigers live a very strenuous life. At all times they are in danger of being hilled by poachers. Tiger's pray is very scarce making it hard for them to survive, especially ones with cubs. Their pray is so scarce because hunters over hunt tiger's main food sources which include large animals such as elk and wild pig. The number of human attacks by tigers increase along with the lack of prey. This is because the tiger will only attack a human if they are starving. Despite the tigers size and strength it fails in about 90 percent of its hunts.
This book discusses many aspects of the tiger. It addressed where they live, how many are left, and their hunting patterns. Tigers were once plentiful throughout Siberia, China, Korea, and South East Asia. Now, the 3,000 remaining wild tigers are mostly confined to small parks and reserves throughout the tiger world. Tigers are poached relentlessly for their fur and body parts which are often used for so called Asian medicines. Male tigers need large amounts of wooded territory. Several female tiger's territories often overlap a male's territory. Tigers have very unique hunting patterns. They use their excellent sight and hearing to hunt animals instead of their sense of smell like most carnivores do. Often times, they hide the carcass of their prey and return multiple times to eat. In order to convince governments that better tiger protection plans were needed scientists needed to extensively research the tiger. To do so the author, as a part of the Siberian Tiger Project, captured and radio collared the tigers. This way they could monitor movement and behaviour without human influence. "From monitoring theses tigers - some for over 7 years now - we know how much food they require, what they eat, how they react to human activities, and what makes for good tiger habitat," Matthiessen states in this book. He tells about his experiences studying the tigers. He traveled all around Asia to different reserves researching the tigers and their activities. I think that this book has taught me a lot. It taught me about the tiger's niche in the environment. I could also incorporate population studies into this book. The book often times discussed the population of tigers in certain areas. I have a better understanding of the tiger's population dilemma by using my knowledge of immigration, emigration, mortality, and natality. Overall, I thought this book was very educational and worth reading if you are at all interested in tigers or the effort being made to save them.
What I learned about the tiger can be applied to other animals facing loss of habitat and extinction. The book has taught me how much human's industry and over hunting can affect an animal's survival, more than any other natural factor. It has taught me that it is up to us to save the tiger from extinction and that is true for all endangered animals.
Moggies comment: Have just started reading this book and already I am hooked. The photographs are stunning and show off the majestic Siberian Tiger in all its beauty and strength.