Real ‘Life of Pi’ Tiger Tries to Board Boat in Northeast China

A Siberian tiger goes back to shore after trying to climb into a fishing boat. (Screenshot/PPS)
A Siberian tiger goes back to shore after trying to climb into a fishing boat. (Screenshot/PPS)

A fisherman off Heilongjiang Province got the fright of his life when a Siberian tiger swam over to his boat and tried to get in, just like in the movie Life of Pi.

Zhang Mingyu, 32, was dropping goods off at the Sanjiang Nature Reserve near Russia on June 11, when he saw something swimming in the Wusuli River, state mouthpiece Xinhua reported.

The animal came closer and repeatedly tried to clamber on board, but Zhang managed to fend it off, and eventually it swam off. He used his mobile phone to film this footage of it going back to shore.

“I thought it was a deer or something like a roe deer, but did not expect it was a Siberian Tiger,” Zhang was reported as saying by Xinhua.

“As we got closer to each other, it suddenly turned round and roared at me. It grabbed the side of my boat with its forepaws; I was frightened and jumped from the bow to the stern.”

Zhang added that he could clearly see the yellow and black stripes on the big cat’s head as it was trying to get in.

The nature reserve’s press officer, Wu Zhifu, sent staff to check the area, and confirmed that the video and footprints were of a healthy wild Siberian tiger. He said that the natural environment there is full of prey animals, like hare and roe deer, and “has become a paradise for this rare creature.”

Chinese Internet users made excited comments on Baidu. One said: “What an amazing scene. I hope we see more things like this in the future.”

Another referred to the Life of Pi movie: “The tiger came back! I’m so excited I could cry!”

A netizen called ‘tiger whisperer on meadow’ said: “I truly hope these precious animals are protected properly. Now tigers are rare and endangered in China. If poaching happens in the future, the criminals should be sentenced to death.”

The illegal trade in tigers and their body parts is rife in China as it is highly profitable. Killing and eating tigers is even viewed as entertainment by some extremely wealthy Chinese.

One blogger wrote: “It looks like it was at the border between China and Russia. That tiger was going abroad,” to which another replied: “Does it have a passport?”

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