Literary friends of the tiger

Joe Shute was in Siberia recently for The Telegraph Magazine to report on conservationists whose work has not only brought the Siberian (or Amur) tiger back from the edge of extinction but helped to increase its numbers. One of those he met was Pavel Fomenko, head of rare species conservation for the Worldwide Fund for Nature in Russia and a man who, Shute says, is “a hero in the Tolstoyan mode”. Fomenko’s very speech has a literary quality about it. “Many people,” he says, “do not understand hunters are the true friends of nature.” One of his colleagues, Alexander Primenko, has a similar gift for phrase-making. He told Shute: “The tigers are always present, even when you don’t see them. To me, the tiger is the owner of the forest and I am his guest.”

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