A hunter told of fending off a vicious Siberian tiger attack by jamming his arm in the predator’s jaws to keep it from “going for my neck.”
Dmitry Korchevsky, 39, told the Siberian Times he wrestled with the wounded beast for 10 minutes before it finally gave up–and died.
But the Russian is now reportedly the subject of an investigation into whether the attack took place while he was poaching the endangered cat.
The hunter said he came face-to-face with the tiger when he was checking traps he had set for sable.
“It lay under a cedar, preparing to jump at me. I took two steps back and shot three times,” he said from hospital, according to the Times.
“He pounced on me, and tore my hand and head.”
— Linker (@LinkerMain) January 30, 2018
“Trying to protect myself, I stuffed his jaw with my arms—so that he didn’t get to my neck.”
The man said his left arm was so severy mauled in the attack that he has lost the ability to move it. He said the cat bit his right arm, too and “ripped my scalp off.”
The hunter said that eventually the beast succumbed to his gunshot wounds.
“Then he died on me. I climbed out from underneath him and saw him dead.”
Korchevsky then allegedly walked through the bush for about 10 km (6 miles) before he could get reception on his cellphone–and he called for help.
“I crawled away from him and for as long as I had strength in my legs, I walked toward my home.”
He said he’d lost a lot of blood and was anxious that he might not make it.
“I didn’t stop for a minute, even though I was in pain because of wounds. I was scared that if I was to stop even momentarily, I’d freeze to death from blood loss. He almost ate away my left arm, it’s bitten all over now, I don’t feel it and can’t move it,” Korchevsky said.
The man is in the hospital undergoing treatment for his wounds. But he now faces Russian hunting officials, who have launched a probe into whether the man’s story checks out–there are reportedly suspicions he may have been trying to illegally hunt a Siberian tiger specimen.
Their skins and organs command big sums of money on the black market.
— China Plus News (@ChinaPlusNews) January 29, 2018
Wildlife official Dmitry Pankratov told the Times that an investigation should reveal what Korchevsky was doing there and whether he should face criminal charges for poaching.
Pankratov said these animals don’t usually attack humans.
“This is not a kind of an animal that just jumps on a man like this. Tigers are incredibly cautious, they have to be seriously provoked to attack,” Pankratov said.
But cases of attacks against humans are a matter of record. A female keeper at the Kaliningrad Zoo suffered a Siberian tiger mauling last year.
Pictures captured the chilling moment when the woman, who had food for the tiger, was attacked.
Siberian tiger mauls female zookeeper Sunday inside enclosure in Kaliningrad, Russia, at feeding time. Zookeeper is expected to survive. pic.twitter.com/l5HjPUJeYG
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) November 6, 2017
Onlookers helped save the zookeeper by shouting, the zoo said in a statement. They also threw stones and benches and tables from a cafe at the beast.
The zookeeper was then able to go hide in an “inner room” in the enclosure, the statement said.
Zookeeper screams in terror as Siberian tiger attacks her at feeding time https://t.co/BQZJPkGJwc
— The Sun (@TheSun) November 5, 2017
“The patient was delivered to the hospital with multiple wounds to the body and limbs,” said a local Health Ministry spokesman, The Sun reported.
The zookeeper, who was not identified, was not critically injured. The zoo said her injuries are nonlife-threatening, and her condition stable.
“Until today, he did not show aggression toward employees,” the zoo said, adding it is the first tiger attack in the 120-year history of the Kaliningrad Zoo.
Siberian tigers are the largest of the big cats in the world. They can weight up to 800 pounds.