The rise of the Amur Tiger



The slow rise back to life of the Amur Tiger
Life in the Anthropocene Vol. 07





Before we start this short journey of ours through the elusive trails that the biggest wild cat, the Amur Tiger (also known as the Siberian Tiger, and more correctly Panthera tigris altaica) have left behind it in Russia and China I would like to make one thing perfectly clear.
The Amur Tiger is in no way back on safe land. The sharp decline have slowed down, the poaching have been halted (for now). But it´s rise back to life and sustainable numbers is still a very ephemeral thing and the Amur Tigers survival is still 100% at the mercy of the human race. We put it at the brink of extermination and we are the ones that, once we came to our senses, managed to give it the tiny glimmer of hope and refugee that the species now, slowly is clawing it´s way back to.


And in what can only be thought of as a slight twist of irony, for all his major faults and shortcomings as a human being and national leader when it comes to pretty much everything equal, healthy, peaceful and human rights related, today, the one man on Earth that has meant more for the Amur Tigers come back from the land of the dead is Russian leader Mr. Putin. .





The change started with Vladimirs personal interest





Due to human poaching, greed, illegal logging and other unsustainable industries and practices that ravaged mother Earth, human health and well-being as well as its prospering wildlife for mere profit in both Russia and China, the Amur Tiger was wiped out of existence in China more than 60 years ago. And while the species managed to hang on to a thread and outsmart and survive the human onslaught in Russia, it´s numbers still dwindled down until just a few hundred Amur tigers remained alive in the wild. But as long as an animal species is smart enough to avoid all contact with us Humans and we don't destroy all of its habitat in our perpetual chase for more profit then, there is always hope for a better tomorrow.

For the Amur Tiger (and the even more endangered Amur Leopard), that hope rekindled in strength when the Russian President Vladimir Putin took a personal interest in its future a few years ago. And since then, through a combination of securing vast areas of land upon which it can safely prowl as well as coming down hard on poaching and illegal deforestation, and protecting not just the Tiger, but also its prey, poaching have plummeted in a big way, and the decline of the Amur Tiger is now thought to have come to a halt, possibly even, that it has slowly begun to increase it´s numbers in Russia, as well as re-establishing its long lost habitat in China.

It is as always near impossible to get an exact estimation of any wild animal population, let alone, a big cat as fierce and cunning at hunting and surviving and remaining out of sight as the elusive Amur Tiger. So the current Russian census, the first one since 2005 when it was estimated that only 450 Amur tigers remained alive in the wild, have a steep road ahead, but all signs do point towards the big cats breeding and hunting in safety, and as a result, both increasing its habitat and numbers.

For the first time, last year, conservationists even managed to film a Siberian Tiger mother and her cubs inside of inland China where the species haven't been seen in the wild in more than 60 years.



music of the day while you are reading our article
The Headless Children by W.a.s.p.
Spotify





The Long Road Ahead
Slow and steady, our hope continues to grow





While there is a long, long road ahead to safe land. And while the Amur Tiger, like so many other wild species today, might never again be able to co-exist with us human beings if we ever again lose our ways, there is hope. Good hope even thanks to the hard work on both sides of the Russian and Chinese border to make sure that the Amur Tiger (and Leopard), as well as their prey and other animals in the region have a real future too in the wild.
The north-eastern area of China where the tigers family where spotted is prime habitat for both Tigers and other species with tens of thousands of kilometers of untouched birch forest. Much of if still intact despite decades of previous large-scale commercial and often times illegal logging, which, together with the poaching is what once killed off the tigers in the area.

Another positive change is that all the hard work in both protection as well as education and information slowly but surely is shutting down the market for fairy tale like products such as the Chinese traditional medicines, where the Tiger (and other endangered animals) are chopped up, ground down to powder and everything from the whiskers and eyes, bones and all other parts of the animal is made use of and served as a scientifically non-functional soup meant to boost virility. Or just displayed as high society status symbols and other meaningless trinkets.



Amur Tiger Family in China, by WWF International



Meanwhile, on the other side of the border, in Russia where Pavel Fomenko who works for the WWF said in a recent interview with 'The Guardian' “Since Putin got involved, every regional official knows that if he is found with so much as a tiger whisker, he’ll be in serious trouble,”. “It has been a pretty effective method of stopping poaching”. Sentences for illegal poaching can now get you in a Russian prison for as long as seven years.













Tigers needs their prey
huge areas of land and big numbers of prey






But, it´s not all about curbing illegal poaching and superstitious medicine productions. An adult Tiger and Leopard needs huge land areas to thrive and hunt, as well as remain out of sight from us humans (which protects both them and us). Nutrition wise, each adult Tiger need around 50 boars or deers per year to sustain themselves. So conservation does not just come down to keeping people from illegally killing and encroaching upon the Tiger, but like with wild Wolves, it´s also about protecting the entire ecosystem in which Tigers, Wolves and bears all have a very healthy and functional part.


“We have covered around 40km and found traces of three tigers,” said Anatoly Andreyev, a 63-year-old gamekeeper who took part in the Russian survey on a chunk of land about 100 miles away from Vladivostok. His daily work also involves organizing feeding grounds for boars to keep the population up.

In other words, just as it is with Wolves, a healthy Tiger population is not only good for mother Earth, but it also ensures that we human beings, even the hunters amongst us, get a more healthy nature and wildlife to enjoy. Fears and superstitions and greed is what usually drives us people to take out what we perceive as animal threats and competition to our own activities, no matter if that is purely for profit endeavors or about hunting.


But in reality, both Tigers and Wolves keeps mother nature and all of it´s plants and wildlife healthy and naturally strong. Something we humans still haven't been even close to master. And these apex predators do so while also providing plenty of commercial opportunities for people that choose to embrace a more sustainable and healthy life and planet.

So, finally, before I go. It is almost a little bit funny, how the human-induced climate change is actually helping the Amur tiger on its road back from the brink of extinction. The more it snows, the more wet the snow, the easier it get´s for the Tiger to hunt its prey. And perhaps, that is nature's very own way of showing us all that there truly is some form of karma in the combined sensitive ecological system that is our one planet.












Beautiful

Outside the sun and the moon are both painting a very vivid and clear blue sky, sharing and moving across the very same canvas in broad daylight.
The light from the rising sun is sharp and beautiful today, perhaps not so much for a classically schooled portrait photographer, but the way it illuminates the branches and leafs, all the frosty still life caught in the breath of approaching winter.
There is only one simple word crafted to properly describe the natural scenery that lay unfolded before my eyes this morning.

Beautiful.
Michael A Koontz



Writer and photography

Michael A Koontz
Lion Photography by
Johan Swanepoel
To the daisy that is my sun and inspiration

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Related articles from the world wide web

life from around our mutual tiny sphere



The lack of responsibility from the Fossil Fuel Industry
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Critically endangered - Amur Leopard
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On the trail of the Amur Tigers return to China
Amur Tiger article from 2015 by the guardian

How keeping a fit, active and healthy life keeps age at bay
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Russian Amur Tiger census 2015
Russian Tiger census by The Guardian

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Air pollution cuts life short for 600 million people in India alone, by AP

Last Few Published Books and Articles

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    Question number 44 in our School of Fitness.
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    Fitness School
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    Question number 39 in our School of Fitness.
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    Question number 38 in our School of Fitness.
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    Question number 37 in our School of Fitness.
    Yes, it is once again time for you to put your thinking cap on before you proceed without hesitation through the hallway of healthy fit wonders and science :).
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    Question number 36 in our School of Fitness.
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    The science of health and fitness should always be your lifelong guide.



    Fitness is as wonderful for your health as it is for landing you a more sculpted and capable body over time.
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  • Fine Art & living room products by Mike Koontz. All featured products are available for purchase.

    Quality time needed: 5 minutes


    Your living room
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    We carry with us our own unique style and touch, in person, the way we are. The choice in our clothes, our fitness and the way we train and live our healthy fit life. Our individual thoughts are stamped by our unique nature. The way we have sex, the books we read, the movies that make us cringe or wax, the deep secluded passion, the music that makes our soul float, and the things we truly like in life.
    The way you are and see the world carries through in everything.
    It shows in the gym, and it is made perfectly clear in the boardroom.











    It is visible in the way you handle your lover, and in the style and feel of your living room.
    The person that you are is not just reflected in those things, but your surroundings in life and nature and home speak in equal measures to your inner self and carries with it real significance for how much you, in turn, will enjoy both life and the everyday castle you call your home.




    This is my contribution to your life.
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    Quality time needed: 10 minutes


    Diving down into a range of motion and squat study.

    The science of health and fitness should always be your gym guide.



    Right now, if you enter any given gym, the wonderful world of barbells will conjure up as many opinions as there are fitness girls on Instagram, no matter the subject.
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  • Moments from the Anthropocene, the fox and my morning coffee.

    Quality time needed: 6 minutes


    The scent of black coffee.

    And wild breakfast companions.



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    Quality time needed: 15 minutes


    The error of your way.

    Could be spelled 'the carnivore diet'..



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  • Anthropocene: 12 vaquitas left in the world before they too face the ultimate end of line which is called extinction.

    Quality time needed: 5 minutes


    The vaquitas are sadly not alone.

    This is the Lost World of Planet Earth.



    Around the world, the vaquitas are sadly not alone, there are countless of animal species, plants and all that´s facing the threat of extinction in ever greater numbers. And the pace is accelerating, so it´s not business as usual.
    Worse, this is all down to man-made issues.
    It got nothing to do with prey and predatory fluctuations. And it got nothing to do with natural events and Earths naturally changing cycles.

  • Let us talk about the concept of 'Half Earth' and why both Dr Cristiana Pașca Palmer, UN and I share the opinion that it is all about 'Whole Earth'.

    Quality time needed: 7 minutes


    People & Planet is just a mutual ecosystem.

    The Lost World.



    A long and well established connective tissue in the way I talk and write, and think about health & fitness is that we are all connected through this global ecosystem we all share.
    Which is why I have over the years pointed out that living in a sustainable way is ultimately all about health. Individual health & planetary health. People that are opting to eat shit just isn't healthy.
    Neither from a planetary or individual perspective.

    Just as how healthy fit people that´s living unsustainable, just isn't healthy living people either.

  • Fitness School, Question 35, Let us dig deep down into 'standing barbell row' and the complete amount of muscles it will engage and activate.

    Quality time needed: 3 minutes


    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.



    Question number 35 in our School of Fitness.
    Once we venture beyond the glorious realms of leg and glutes training, there is the never-ending hallway of kicking and boxing to explore and conquer.
    But what else lies beyond the joy of those fit & healthy cornerstones?.
    Well, if it was not obvious so far in life, martial arts and legs and glutes have their equal in the colossus that is weighted back training.
    And when it comes down to weighted back training, actually, when it comes down to working the upper body at all, there is one exercise which I will never hesitate to put front and center (together with deadlift), and that is 'Standing Barbell Row'.
    Here is my question:
    Standing Barbell Row will challenge and work you from top to toe.
    But can you list all of the muscles which you will activate when you do this bad boy in a properly challenging way?.

  • The things we see in the rearview mirror, the world meat free week, and Scandinavian winter scenes.

    Quality time needed: 6 minutes


    Views we catch in the rear view mirror as we leave #worldmeatfreeweek behind us.

    The Lost World.



    Good and healthy vegetarian food is able to provide health & fitness improving nutrition for far more people, despite polluting much less and using up a lot less landmass vied towards animal farming.
    And you can quote me on that because that simple statement is 100% based on science & clear-cut facts instead of peoples personal opinions and conjecture.

    In fact, food production from animal farming is already using up 83% of our global agricultural land. Yet, it is only managing to deliver about 18% of the calories we consume. And does that situation not sound completely unsustainable and fool-hearted to maintain?.

  • Fitness School, Question 34, Is there a connection between weighted leg and glute training and your brain maintaining a healthy neurological cell production?

    Quality time needed: 4 minutes


    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.



    Question number 34 in our School of Fitness.
    Yes, we absolutely love our leg and glute day. The challenge it provides is a huge mountain of fun to climb every single week.
    But, did you know that you are not just strengthening your lower body when you are building stronger legs, ass, and hips?. Of course, you do. You know damn well that those leg days are crucial for the health and wellness of your lower back and abs too. And it sure does tax your heart and metabolic functions too. However, let us go upstairs towards our brainy area with this question.
    Here is my question:
    Is it true that weighted exercises in the gym for your leg and glutes will increase the production of healthy neural cells? ( which are crucial for the capacity and health of our brain and entire nervous system )

  • The Lost World XVIII and the enemy of all things living. #Connect2Earth

    Quality time needed: 9 minutes


    This is the lost world XVIII.
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    Healthy living is nothing but the science of life.



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  • May 22 mark the crucial 'day of biological diversity'. But it is also so much more than that, #Connect2Earth.

    Quality time needed: 9 minutes


    At the crossroads of the Anthropocene.
    May 22 is 'The International Day of Biological Diversity'.
    A day which, is by now, our essential every day reality.



    May 22 is both a perfectly ordinary Tuesday in your life and the global 'International Day for Biological Diversity'.
    But that is not all this week is all about. We also have the endangered wildlife day, which happened on May 18, and birthday number 70 for IUCN. And, as such this entire week represents an opportunity for each of us to make it a healthy fit day for the entire planet and our individual self.


    Also, if you are present in the incredibly lush and beautiful high coast area of Scandinavia, Sweden next Tuesday you are more than welcome to join me and my coworker from Scandinavian.Fitness for a sweaty fit workout at the gym, lifting weights and grunting at Friskis, Örnsköldsvik at 0730. Once we are done at the gym, we will head outside for a walk at 0830 and hopefully enjoy beautiful weather together with the pristine nature of Scandinavia.

  • Fitness School, Question 33, Let us talk about that mighty beast called the Quadriceps.

    Quality time needed: 4 minutes


    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.



    Question number 33 in our School of Fitness.
    Legs and ass and back. That is the holy trinity ( together with the fourth pillar, our abs ) of building a strong and capable and athletic body.
    But what about the makeup of our upper legs?
    We have the backside of our legs, which we call the hamstrings, and on the front, there´s the thing most people simply call the quads.
    But let us dig deeper down into those mighty looking quadriceps and the rest of the anterior side of our legs.
    Here is my question:
    Can you specify which muscles make up the bulk of what we call our quadriceps and anterior leg muscles?.

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