Haha – gotcha! Okay, my title is blatant click-bait, and also highly misleading — but it’s not fake news! Please allow me to explain. Today I have this short but exciting piece by reporter Alina Nazarova, which describes bear-on-bear violence at the Russia-China border. I don’t have a blog category set up for “Bear Fighting”, so I put it under “Cat Fighting”. Close enough, especially since the backstory involves Siberian Amur Tigers.
First let us set the scene: Way out East, in distant Siberia, there is this thing called the “Jewish Autonomous Oblast”, where the Soviet Union once set aside a Yiddish-speaking enclave for Jews who wanted their own homeland, but preferred Siberia to Israel. (Not too many customers, but that’s okay.) The Jewish AO still exists, is located just South of the Amur Oblast and helps to form the border between Russia and China.
So, nu, in Birobidzhan there is an animal-watching organization whose job is to observe the activities of Amur Tigers. Unbeknownst to the tigers, these cat-lovers installed a secret video camera right along Tiger Path, and very close to the barbed wire fence that separates Russia from China. The striped talent normally stroll along this path very calmly and without causing any trouble, producing good video content.
Imagine the surprise of the humans when they monitored some video feed and saw — instead of tigers — two massive bears! Approaching each other from either side of the border, a Russian bear and a Chinese bear decided to stage a fight. And then just went at each other, as recorded in the vid (you’ll have to watch the watch from the posted link, as it is not on youtube).
As you can see, one of the bears just tears through the wire fence and can’t wait to get his paws on the other bear. Nobody knows why these two bears were so mad at each other.
The Blow By Blow
Let’s call the bear on the left (as we observe them) Bear #1 and the one on the right Bear #2. You have to watch very closely to see who does what. This might sound racist, but I can’t tell the difference between the bears: They both look exactly alike to me. Which is why it’s difficult to figure out who’s on top. The bears spot each other and come up to the border. They glare at each other with gleaming demonic eyes. They grapple.
Bear #1 roars and breaks through the fence. Bear #2 responds with an uppercut. Bear #1 gets #2 in a half-nelson, but then #2 throws him to the ground and gets on top, for the takedown. Bear #2 looks directly at the camera and roars. He thinks he won. But wait! Next comes the reversal. They grapple some more. Next they switch sides on the mat and move to opposite sides of the border. The Russian bear ends up in China; and vice versa. They continue to parry and play peek-a-boo, and then … the feed cuts out. According to the Tiger people, these bears, in the course of the fight, destroyed all the expensive cameras and equipment. Sadly, we do not know who actually won the fight, so we’ll have to call it a draw.
The Tiger-Watching people point out that animals such as tigers and bears, do not carry passports, and are not subject to migration protocols; hence they are allowed to cross the Russia-Chinese border, in either direction, any time they please. And there are plenty of open crossing points, it was just not expected, nor condoned, that they should destroy the fence and the equipment. One technician remarked sadly: “We don’t know who won the fight, but those bears sure did a job on our fence!”