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Pensioner with pacemaker uses pitchfork to fight off endangered Amur tiger, the world's largest cat

By 0 and 0 and 0
25 March 2019


One of endangered 540 Amur tigers in Russia was shot by a local farmer. Picture: Vesti Rossiya

Vitaly was naked in his banya - a Russian steam sauna - when he heard a commotion in his cattle shed in Zolotoy village, in Lazo district of Khabarovsk region.

‘I was washing myself when I heard growls and moans, and realised that something bad was happening,’ he said.

‘The sounds were coming from the shed. 

‘I threw on a dressing gown  and rushed to open the shed door. 

‘It was messy sight with blood everywhere - and a tiger killing a cow.

‘I grabbed a pitchfork and tried to strike the tiger on his back to scare him away, but it didn’t help. 

‘The tiger lashed at me.”

Pensioner with pacemaker kills an Amur tiger

Pensioner with pacemaker kills an Amur tiger

Pensioner with pacemaker kills an Amur tiger

Pensioner with pacemaker kills an Amur tiger

Pensioner with pacemaker kills an Amur tiger

Vitaly will not be proscuted for killing an endangered animal. Pictures: Vesti Rossiya

It gave Vitaly time to flee and grab a more effective weapon.

‘I jumped outside and ran inside the house, pulling my gun out and screaming ‘Tiger!’ to my wife. 

‘I shot once in the air, it didn’t work.

‘Then the second bullet hit the tiger in the head and killed him.’

Vitaly is upset that he had to kill the tiger, known and revered as the King of the Taiga, potentially a criminal offence punishable by up to two years in jail to deter poaching which almost wiped out the species. 

He shot one of only around 550 Amur - or Siberian - tigers living in the wild and while big cats are now making a comeback, the species remains highlight endangered. 

He wishes the predator had escaped but it was not to be. 

The pensioner - who runs a smallholding with two bulls and three cows - has a disability pension due to heart issues which led to him having a pacemaker fitted.

‘There was no way the tiger would have run away, he was about to start eating the cow, no tiger would leave its prey,’ explained his wife  Svetlana. 

‘I got such a shock when it happened. I heard heart-rending cries and then he stormed into the house, screaming: ‘Help me, a tiger is in the shed!’

‘But how on earth could I help?

‘Our daughter was in the house with our grandson. It was an awful night.’

Pensioner with pacemaker kills an Amur tiger

Vitaly's wife Svetlana is still shell-shocked after the recent attack. Picture: Vesti Rossiya

The pensioner will not be prosecuted over killing the big cat .

‘He used the gun lawfully while defending himself and his family,’ said Oleg Egorushkin, deputy head of the region’s Wildlife Conservation department. 

It tuns out the tiger was also a pensioner, having come to the village to steal a cow because he could no long kill in the wild. 

‘This was an elderly animal over 15 years old, he was almost toothless. 

‘The tiger acted as if he came to the village to die.’

The head of the village administration explained this was the first time locals had confronted a tiger, but he warned more attacks are likely. 

Alexander Trifonov said: ‘We shouldn’t be surprised, since trees in our taiga - specially oak trees which are  the main feeding source for wild boars - are cut down shamelessly. 

‘No boars means no food for tigers, which is why that poor cat got so hungry he broke into the shed.’

Comments (1)

Good thing you and your family are safe from this tiger!
Polly, Spokane, Washington, USA
26/03/2019 08:52

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