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The Taiga Story
The Taiga Story
BLAM! BLAM! That is how it all started. My name is Tsungani and I am a Siberian Tiger living in the Siberian Taiga. My parents and I were walking through the forest calm evening when my Dad bellowed a warning and my mom hid me in a bush. My father lunged at two bizarre looking creatures that were advancing rapidly. Then I heard the two shots ring out! Through the leaves, I saw my father drop from mid air. Then my mother collapsed; blood gushing out of a hole in her heart. She looked at me and said the last words I have heard her say, or that anyone will ever hear her say: “Keep faith not anger”. The strange creatures, I later learned, are called humans; threw my beloved parents on a crate and disappeared into the forest. Then, it all went black.
The next morning I awoke to the glorious singing of birds and the morning’s rays of warmth. I looked around and admired the beauty of the rich plants and fascinating animals. Then it dawned on me I was the only tiger here. Where were my parents? They would never leave me; would they? I ran into the clearing and saw the dark red liquid ominously glaring at me burning last night’s battle graphically into my head. I fell to the ground in excruciating pain. My head was pounding, still processing the information.
A few hours later I emotionlessly wandered through the taiga. Then, by a pool of soothing water, I saw a wolverine and a brown bear, both younger than me, playing cheerfully in a patch of tall grass. The instant the wolverine saw me he said,”Hello,” and begged me to join. After playing, the wolverine introduced them. He was named Wahmenitu, and the little brown bear was named Barnardo. They both were now orphans just like me. In no time at all, we became best of friends. We talked about the poachers and our parent’s death that night before going to sleep in their small cave.
The next morning, I woke up to a striking aroma. There, in front of me, was a leaf full of delicious food and Wahmenitu smiling waiting for me. Barnardo was already eating his. We went outside to explore when an unusual sound, like the purring of a beast, screeched in our ears. Then, trees started to come crashing down destroying every thing in its way. “Follow me” Wahmenitu cried. The humans riding on their tree-killing beasts continued to advance toward us. I followed Wahmenitu through the trees. We must have run for five miles before we stopped by a calm stream for a drink. Barnardo lay down on some leaves and fell asleep in record time.
“Hey Wahmenitu, what were those humans doing?”
“They were cutting down all the trees to build their massive houses.”
“How many trees do they need?”
“They have plenty, but they will take them all and burn the leftovers.”
“How long until they catch up to us?”
“I do not know, but, if they do, they will kill us, cut us into little pieces and sell them. So we need to keep moving after we are rested.”
I found a soft, cool patch of grass lay down and slowly drifted to sleep.
Tsungani, Tsungani. We have to go!” said Barnardo, as he was shaking me. I jumped up and said, “What is the problem?”
“We have to keep moving east, to stay ahead of the humans.”
The rest of the day we walked east through the thickening forest. Once the darkness shrouded the trees and made it difficult to see. Wahmenitu said we need to find shelter for the night. We walked to the side of a mountain and found a comfortable cavern that had rain and wind breaks. I went out hunting while Barnardo and Wahmenitu stayed in the cavern. I came back with a dead elk. Barnardo immediately started eating. Wahmenitu wanted to know how I got the elk. After the meal we all went to sleep.
BLAM, BLAM was the sound I woke up to, we all woke up to. Wahmenitu jumped up and said to follow him. In less than a second, we all were sprinting through the forest. A poacher saw us dart by and started running after us shouting to his friends to hurry. We disappeared into a small crevice in a rock. We had to walk all day again so the poachers could not find us.
That night we heard hushed voices through the trees. We approached the voices and immediately they ceased and several pairs of eyes beamed through the blackness. Suddenly, we were surrounded by the eyes and one of them said sharply,” What are you doing hear?”
Wahmenitu said,” We are running from poachers and loggers.”
“Where are your parents?”
“They were killed by poachers and sold.”
“Would you like to join us? We will keep you safe, and provide food, shelter, and friendship.”
“Good, I am Aaron and this is Gwilm.”
“I am Wahmenitu and this is Tsungani and Barnardo.”
Then, we followed Aaron into an underground cave and found a comfortable spot and went to sleep.
The next morning, when I woke up, I was surprised to see over twenty orphans in the cave. Aaron was a fierce-looking Amur leopard about twenty-five and Gwilm was a strong grey wolf. Aaron, who is the oldest and leader, called for a meeting. We followed Gwilm, the second oldest and second in command, to a big round cavern with domed walls. Aaron was discussing the human problem and suggested that guerilla warfare might be an option when an old arctic wolf named Ohanzee appeared and said war was not the answer. He and Aaron started arguing and eventually Aaron said,” Then what should we do?”
“We should try to reason with the monsters.”
“They hacked my screaming mother to death then sold her parts to be devoured by other humans. They cannot be reasoned with. And it is too much of a risk. They could find us and kill us too.”
Then, the sound of poachers outside silenced everybody. Aaron whispered, “Code Red, Formation A.” Immediately everyone crept outside and got into some kind of battle positions. As soon as the poachers took another step, a group of wolves mauled the poachers, then instantly darted into the bushes. The moment the wolves reached the bushes two bears jumped on the poachers, finishing it. The poachers were no match for Aarons organized attack. We had to clean up the evidence afterwards, so no other humans would know what happened. Then everything went back to normal.
Aaron finally agreed to reason with the humans. The next day the entire group went to the President’s house and since Ohanzee speaks Russian we were able to counsel with him. We were all astonished that we managed to get a national park the size of Argentina that was off-limits to humans. Everything went smoothly and everyone was happy. The occasional poacher would appear, but quickly disappear thanks to Aaron.