Major Snow: Tiger begins to roam

June 15th, 2012
by Jo Law

In this pentad, a trough brought heavy rainfall to the New South Wales coast. Bellambi AWS recorded 50.4mm of rain on Monday June 11th, the Queens Birthday public holiday, bringing total rainfall for the first half of June to 141.4m. In ancient China, the once wide ranging  Panthera tigris was observed to become active looking for food. The Almanac presents a further reason to stay put indoors.

Like all members of the Felidae family,  the tiger combines a natural feline elegance with awesome physical prowess, exuding an enigma. Perhaps it is because of this, tigers have so captured the human imagination and populated myths, folklores, stories, poetry and art. In Chinese culture, the tiger holds a special place that rivals the dragon. Both auspicious creatures, 龍 (dragon) and 虎 (tiger), often appear together in idioms, proverbs, and sayings that embodies power and strength.

The largest of the big cats, the tiger’s need for broad ranging territories brings the megafauna into conflict with humans. It is estimated that tiger population worldwide fell from around 100,000 at the beginning of the 20th century to the current figure of about 3500 with the extinction of 3 known subspecies occurring in the last century. The tiger mentioned in the almanac was probably the Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) that were known to have once populated northern China. These cats grow thick, dense and silky pale winter coats for roaming in the harsh snowy conditions.

Similarly, its distant cousin – our very own Felis catus (or Felis domesticus) has grown a soft thick winter coat and is hardly shedding. In contrast to the big cat, she seems only too happy to stay warm indoors in the comfort provided by her staff, the Homo sapiens.

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