Tigers are ferocious animals and top predators. Their claws are four inches long and they can run at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Tigers usually use their speed, strength and sharp claws and teeth to hunt their prey, but sometimes they also turn on another tiger. This footage captures one of those moments at Dublin Zoo, Ireland. The confrontation takes place between a male and female tiger, although the other male is sometimes involved as well.
These huge and magnificent felines have long been popular animals at zoos. In the wild, they are highly adaptable and live in tropical forests, grasslands, mangrove swamps, and the Rocky Mountains. Sadly, they have lost 95% or their traditional habitat due to human activities such as farming, deforestation and building transportation networks. This means they are now an endangered species and zoos like Dublin are trying to play their part in protecting them.
It is not uncommon for male tigers to fight over a piece of habitat. They are very territorial and in some cases will fight to the death. In this clip, however, we see a male versus female battle — or at least some form of confrontation. Some experts believe captive tigers behave like cubs longer. So, these guys are just big kids who are still fighting. Animals in captivity can be stressed and engage in behaviors they would not do in the wild.
As the camera pans in, another male joins the scene. The female appears to be in a submissive position, lying on her back with her abdomen exposed. She even did a roll forward at one stage. However, she also manages to do some useful sliding with her front paws. It’s hard to tell whether she is distressed or is in control of the situation!
The second male walked away, but the original one continued to fight the female, who had clearly had enough at this stage. She backs off and they confront each other face to face, but she always moves back slightly, indicating the male is the aggressor. Then she leapt backwards and hit the thick safety glass of the fence with a loud bang that made everyone jump. They fought several times, and finally the male tiger gave up and walked away.
There have been reports of male tigers becoming very aggressive and even killing females when mating behavior goes awry. Fortunately, the tigress did not have such an unfortunate fate and looked fine after the encounter.
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I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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