Monday 20 November 2017

Review: The Great Soul of Siberia: In Search of the Elusive Siberian Tiger

The Great Soul of Siberia: In Search of the Elusive Siberian Tiger The Great Soul of Siberia: In Search of the Elusive Siberian Tiger by Sooyong Park
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The true king of the jungle is the tiger; lions live out on the savannah. These magnificent creatures have carved a niche for themselves in the humid regions, but the largest and most elusive tiger shuns the warmth of the tropics, preferring icy cold wastelands. This is the Siberian Tiger. It is thought that there are only 350 or so remaining in the wild and so little is known about them and their habits that they are one of the most mysterious big cats.

As the spectre of climate change raises its ugly head, their pristine landscape becomes harder to eek a living from; coupled with the threat from poachers after them for medicines they are becoming rarer each day. For the past two decades, Sooyong Park has made it his life to track follow and study these shy creatures. He has built hides that offer a little shelter from the sub-zero temperatures that the region is famous for to be able to film and observe them. The local people see them as a spiritual element to their homeland and after watching them for this length of time he begins to understand why. This dedication to finding out about their lives results in a very close miss when they saw the camera protruding from the hide.

His dedication to following these magnificent felines is second to none, he is prepared to undertake quite challenging tasks by building elaborate hides to ensure that they are unaware of his presence. The information that he has collected on the tiger he has called Bloody Mary and her various litters of cubs has given us a greater understanding of the lives of these animals. His poignant prose shows just how passionate he is about these tigers and the lengths he is prepared to go, to observe them in the wild. Definitely a book to read on one the world’s most scarce big cats. 3.5 stars

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