This picture’s fortunate compositional balance is magnetic and the content is the stuff of fantasy. Even debating whether it is for real, requires a long visual engagement. I can assure you that it certainly is for real and its capture is a story about perseverance, logistics, research and ultimately luck. I have never seen another picture like this of Siberian tigers – and the internet does allow for exploration of comparatives.
There are very few wild Siberian tigers left in China – maybe less than 40, but there are conservation centers where the tigers are protected and breeding programs have been successfully introduced. If it were not for these centers, the animals would be extinct, so those that talk rather too emotively about “wild or not wild” are missing the point. The tigers in these conservancies are not tame – they will eat a man in a heartbeat. But they are protected and looked after in their natural habitat. It is not a zoo – it is safe acreage for magnificent animals. Conversely, it is not safe acreage for humans and security is extremely tight.