By Joe Shute in The Telegraph.
The forests of Russia’s Far East evoke a strange feeling, one that most Europeans have not been forced to consider for centuries. It is the sensation of being watched; of unseen menace lurking between the trees. Ultimately, it is the realisation that you are among predators, and being contemplated as either a rival or prey.
A loud roar echoes around as we tread through a valley of volcanic rock formed between a dense canopy of Mongolian oak and Korean pine. My guide, Pavel Fomenko, hands me a flare with the instruction to use it should a bear approach.We creep forward, crunching over fallen leaves while our other guide, the hunting inspector for Primorsky Krai province, Alexander Korneev, peels off into the undergrowth.
Ravens shriek about the treetops. If the birds are up, Fomenko warns, it means something has disturbed them. We arrive at a clearing scattered with clumps of fur. A few metres away lie the remains of a black bear, buzzing with flies. This is what we have been searching for: the recently dispatched supper of an Amur tiger.
They call this boreal wilderness the taiga in Russian, forests sprawling hundreds of miles from the North Korean border up towards the Arctic. They are home to a vast collection of flora and fauna and, above all, predators. An estimated 95 per cent of the world’s population of Amur (or Siberian) tigers live here.
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