December 31, 2007

Man-eating beasts

I finally got around this morning, New Year's Eve, to reading a news story about the Christmas Day tiger attack at the San Francisco zoo. I haven't been in any hurry because I knew this story wasn't going to be out of the news for a long time. There's nothing that interests human beings more than the threat of being eaten by a wild beast (as Matt Drudge, who plays up every animal attack on the planet, as profitably noticed over the last dozen years). And a tiger is the most magnificent predator of them all.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

19 comments:

Dennis Mangan said...

Wild animals are the very archetype of threat. It's astounding to see how prevalent the theme of hunting and killing dangerous wild animals was in ancient times. Most of the 12 labors of Hercules are concerned with killing them, Alexander was depicted as hunting lions, Theseus and the Minotaur, etc. The theme resonated because every human knew how dangerous they were.

Concerned Netizen said...

You bet. I always root for the tiger. People are so ugly by comparison. We just shouldn't get in their faces, that's all.

Anonymous said...

My favorite headline from Newsweek "Why Do Tigers Attack?" Gee, could it be the responsibilities of their job assignment- professional murderer and assassin? Why does a creature designed for and having only one purpose, to capture, kill, and eat other creatures, then attack? MSM at their insightful best.

StephenT said...

Glad you mentioned this. I visit a log of blogs and forums and, weirdly, this story has instigated some of the hottest debates Ive seen in quite a while. Basically you have two factions: The "poor innocent youths in wrong place at wrong time in unprovoked attack by vicious beast" faction versus the "something's fishy about these three (well, now two) juvenile delinguent's story, and because of their ethnicity SF police chief Heather Fong is too PC to let us know what it is."

I'm definitely in the latter group. We'll see if/how it plays out here.

Killer Haddock said...

I was surprised when I first saw the headline, generally one thinks of golfers as mild mannered.

Anonymous said...

Animal rights vs. minority rights — what's a liberal to do?

Lugash said...

I am Lugash.

Man eating beasts create the same "what would I do?" semi-paranoia that Steve brought up in his No Country for Old Men review. Run? Hide? Fight? With what?

I am Lugash.

gene berman said...

Time for my best big cat story.

The circus had lost its star lion-tamer to its biggest, most vicious lion and the boss was interviewing applicants for the job. Many had applied but none had been able to do more than enter the cage for a few seconds before the obvious ferocity of the beast forced their hasty exit. He was down to the last applicant when a beautiful woman in a full-length fur coat asked whether she could be considered. The male applicant said "OK by me--she can even go first." He could see that the big cat was still bristling from the most recent encounter.

"OK" said the boss, "it's your funeral. Let's see your act."

As ther woman entered the cage, the lion began to emit its most blood-curdling growl and came to all fours, staring at the figure across the cage.

Slowly, the woman slipped from the fur coat, revealing her beautiful, fully-naked body. The lion advanced step-by-step but, the closer he got, the more noticeable it became that the level of growling had softened somewhat.

Step by step he approached while she stood her ground. Finally, he was co close that his mane brushed against her lower body. The growling had stopped entirely and he began to lick her hungrily while the two men watched in amazement.

"Why can't you do something as spectacular as that?" asked the boss.

"Of course I can," said the last male applicant, "you get that damn lion out of there--and just watch me!"

gene berman said...

The oldest lion-tamer I know (84--active through the '30s) tells me that that was an old joke even in his day among those who were "with it."

tommy said...

On one hand, the police are investigating a shoe print on the railings and the two survivors have been hostile to investigators. On the other hand, the police have reportedly told the dead teenager's father that he died heroically. Also, it was one of the older men who was first attacked by the tiger.

It sounds to me like the two older men - both of whom have at least one previous run-in with the police in which they behaved belligerently - might have been taunting the tiger and when the they were attacked, the 17-year-old tried to help his friends and was killed in the process.

Bill said...

When I was a little kid I visited a ranch in Montana where some people kept a pet cougar. I was terrified yet fascinated by the cat. Turns out my instincts were good -- a year or so later it attacked a little girl and severely injured her.

I've watched half-ton grizzlies from across the Chilkoot river, where they filmed White Fang. One big male slid through the salmonberry bushes and made a clear, muddy path down the bank that two people could have walked down side by side.

When there is no moat or fence between you and these animals your own human frailty is readily apparent. Even with a shotgun loaded with slugs, the most effective means of self-defense according to the US Forest Service, one hardly feels confident around these beasts. The good news is that for the most part they don't want anything to do with us. Considering all the chemicals we use, we probably smell revolting to most animals. Even so, I was disturbed by the behavior of some Europeans in the area, who got a bit more excited around the bears than they should have, running toward them with cameras. These same Europeans were terrified by the sound of rifle fire in the area. Idiots.

Remember "Grizzly Man"? The mixed up guy got himself and his girlfriend eaten by the bears he was following around. Rangers ended up having to shoot a couple of bears at the site when they went to pick up what was left of him (not much). Damn shame, but people should know better.

In a related story, I went to Cascade Berry Farms a few months ago up by Mt. Baker near the Canadian border. On the way, I saw a very large black bear eating apples in somebody's yard, and then the folks at the farm told me they had to install heavy duty electric fencing to keep the bears from chasing off their Mexican berry pickers and gorging themselves on the crops. And just last year the cops shot a bear in Seattle's University District, right in the middle of the city. Seems he was feeding out of the dumpsters in frat row. I suppose there always is a lot of tasty trash around universities.

Steve Sailer said...

The difference between mountain lions / cougars / panthers and black bears is that the former are really wild animals that normally don't want to have anything to do with us, while the latter envy our lifestyle and wish they could only afford it.

tommy said...

The difference between mountain lions / cougars / panthers and black bears is that the former are really wild animals that normally don't want to have anything to do with us, while the latter envy our lifestyle and wish they could only afford it.


Once, while walking to a convenience store near my mother's house, I could make out a big black shape drop rapidly from a tree and could hear it following me closely through the brambles parallel to the sidewalk I was walking on. My heart was racing, but I resisted the temptation to make a run for it. I figured running might set off the animals's prey drive and I could tell it was fast by the way it galloped through the brush. Eventually, it stopped following me and a few moments later I could make out a large black bear scrambling 30 feet up a tree in a matter of seconds. I guess it was just curious.

I was later informed by a police officer in the area that bears often swim the Puget Sound from the small, remote islands under a mile from the shore in order to find human goodies which they apparently prefer over the native fare on the islands. Animal control officers catch them and send them back. I could just imagine the look on a boater's face if they were to run across a bear out in the ocean!

A month ago, at a large park about two miles from the same area, there was a bear attack. The man was bicycling on the trails with his dog when he ran across a black bear cub. Mama bear appeared, killed the dog, and mauled the man. They've tried unsuccessfully to capture the bear with traps. I never took my own dog to that particular park because I had noticed a lot of bear shit on the trails.

rast said...

...the latter envy our lifestyle and wish they could only afford it.

I think Steve is saying that bears do the eating-from-dumpsters that Americans aren't willing to do.

Steve Sailer said...

Bears also seem to enjoy frolicking in hillside backyard swimming pools. I suspect they would like central heat and air conditioning too. And regular pizza deliveries.

Camping in King's Canyon in 2001, bears came snorfling through the campsite, within 10 feet of the tent every single night.

Mountain lions are freaked out by all things human, but black bears like the exurban lifestyle.

Concerned Netizen said...

I'm sure that Jared Diamond has an explanation as to why any savage with a bone through his nose would have the sense to stay away from large beasts with paws the size of pie plates, whilst we brilliant modern mutants appear to have lost the knack of common sense.

Rob said...

Has anyone else heard stories of bears gorging on bear and/or fermented grain?

The second to last thing I want to see is a bear in a drunken rage. The last thing I want to see is a bear with a hangover.

tommy said...

Has anyone else heard stories of bears gorging on bear and/or fermented grain?

A bear made the news in Washington state a few years ago when he raided some campers' cooler and drank only the Rainier beers. He ignored the other beers in the ice box.

Bill said...

A bear made the news in Washington state a few years ago when he raided some campers' cooler and drank only the Rainier beers. He ignored the other beers in the ice box.

-Tommy


Yeah, I remember that story. Too bad the real Rainier beer has been gone for almost 20 years now (Oly makes it in Tumwater last I heard). My grandpa was a brewmaster there back in the 1960s. I always loved the smell of roasting hops that wafted over Boeing field, where my other grandpa worked. Now, it's a Tully's coffee bean roasting plant. Oh well, at least Tully's is better than Starbucks, which tastes like burnt toast to me.