For the Udege people of the Primorsky Krai region in Russia, tigers hold a special status in both their culture and environment. Though the Udege hunt animals as part of their survival, as a spiritual and superstitious people they do not believe in killing tigers. Beyond mere practical considerations of the tiger’s role in the local ecosystem, keeping away the more indiscriminate killers like wolves and bears, the Udege acknowledge the tigers as clever, calculating predators, better appeased than confronted. Tigers don’t just attack: they strategize and stalk, silently and patiently.
Tigers don’t just attack: they strategize and stalk
Spanish photographer Álvaro Laiz (1981) documents life among the Udege as they go on hunt in this extremely remote area. Laiz emphasizes the independence necessary in the boreal forest: “If you get killed in the taiga, no one will notice because you are isolated and no one cares about you. Last year, a Russian tourist who went there got killed – I don’t know why. They found him this spring. Some guy just found him in the middle of the taiga.”