Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tiger And Bear Encounter In The Wild


While nearly all animals have a particular area which they frequent-as the low coast region, the plateaus of these tropical lands, or the higher parts of the mountains-the rhinoceros lives indifferently anywhere between the sea-shores and the tops of the highest peaks. This species has two " horns," the first being the longer and more sharply pointed, but the Java species has only one. The natives here know nothing of the frequent combats between these animals and elephants, that are so frequently pictured in popular works on natural history. The Resident has, however, told me of a combat between two other rivals of these forests that is more remarkable. When he was controleur at a small post, a short distance north of this place, a native came to him one morning, and asked, if he should find a dead tiger and bring its head, whether he would receive the usual bounty given by the government. The Resident assured him that he would, and the native then explained that there had evidently been a battle between two tigers in the woods, near his kampong, for all had heard their howls and cries, and they were fighting so long that, he had no doubt, one was left dead on the spot. A party at once began a hunt for the expected prize, and soon they found the battle had not been between two tigers, as they had supposed, but between a tiger and a bear, and that both were dead. The bear was still hugging the tiger, and the tiger had reached round, and fastened his teeth in the side of the bear's neck. The natives then gathered some rattan, wound it round them, just as they were, strung them to a long bamboo, and brought them to the office of the Resident, who gave a full account of this strange combat in his next official report.

These bears are popularly called " sun" bears, Helarctos Malayanus, from their habit of basking in the hot sunshine, while other bears slink away from the full light of day into some shady place. The Resident at Bencoolen had a young cub that was very tame. Its fur was short, fine, and glossy. It was entirely black, except a crescent-shaped spot of white on its breast, which characterizes the species.

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