River Ford – Tiger


River Ford – Tiger by Robert Bateman


24 x 48 Giclee Canvas Edition of 195 $995.00 U.S.

“Most cats abhor water. Lions will crash into shallow water in hot pursuit of prey, but they do not
seem to want to be in the water otherwise. There are two species of cats that have evolved in hot,
moist climates and seem to be quite happy in the water. One is the jaguar of tropical America
and the other is the tiger of Asia.

Although I have seen more than a dozen Bengal tigers in the wild, this particular individual was
in the Delhi Zoo. Artists must be careful when using zoo animals as reference for their paintings.
Big cats in particular tend to get a bit paunchy. For example, I have never seen a zoo lion that
didn’t look like a zoo specimen, even around the face. However, this tiger was a prime specimen
who entered the water without hesitation. I noticed that the dry fur on his flanks floated
momentarily before becoming immersed as the animal moved into deeper water. He had
an appealing intent expression on his face with whiskers bristling. I could imagine him
focusing on possible prey – perhaps a swamp doe.

My thoughts raced to a memorable moment in Assam State of India, years earlier. We were birding
at the edge of a marsh. Across a stretch of water, a herd of swamp deer was grazing. Suddenly all
heads turned to the left, and there, in the full afternoon sun, was a large Bengal tiger stalking the
deer at the edge of the water. A predator has virtually zero chance of catching a prey if seen
before the charge. That tiger evidently thought that it was worth a try anyway, in case there
were any weak or sick deer. It was a scene of racing and splashing, and no kill was made.
But the tiger got very wet.”
Robert Bateman