Le plus grand tueur de tigres coréens (considéré même comme le plus grand chasseur de tigres au monde) a probablement été Youri Yankovsky (entre 1922 et 1945).
John Vaillant a évoqué son parcours dans son livre "Tiger. A story of vengeance and survival 2009 (Edition française 2011).
Il avait 98 ans en 2009. Il était alors considéré comme l'un des derniers survivants des camps aurifères de la Kolyma.
Ses mémoires ont été publiées en anglais sous le titre "From crusades to Gulag and beyond" (336 pages, 80 photographies).
SEE KOREA TIMES OF 20 JANUARY 2012, ROBERT NEFF.
Korea has long been famed for its tiger hunters but did you know that arguably one of the greatest tiger hunters in Korean history was not a Korean but a Russian by the name of
Yuri (George) M. Yankovsky? Yuri and his family fled Russia just after the Russian Revolution and settled on the east coast of modern North Korea where they built an enclave of hunters known as
Novina – “The New Place.”
Novina and the Yankovsky family were bigger than life – their exploits legendary and, to some degree, exaggerated.
The family was rumored to live on nothing more than “tiger steaks and vodka” and that Yuri had “saved his wife’s life by cutting out her appendix with his hunting-knife.” Even their home was surrounded by fantastic legends. Some claimed that they lived in a castle perched on the edge of a deep chasm – only a single tree kept their abode from falling into the abyss – and kept a dragon locked up in its tower.
We do know that the Yankovskys established orchards, fields of vegetables, raised deer and supplemented their diet with the abundance of the wildlife around Novina. Hunting that was the main source of their income and their greatest joy. According to historian, Donald N. Clark, shortly after they arrived in Korea, Yuri managed to secure a contract with the Japanese government to supply their military with fresh meat. It was this steady income that enabled the family to build and expand their hunting enclave.
By the 1930s Novina had become quite popular with Russian tourists who made excursions to nearby Mt. Baekdu during the summer and hunted during the fall and winter. Visitors’ accounts and photographs attest to the abundance of birds, deer, boars, bears and leopards in the region but it was the Manchurian tiger that reigned with a mixture of awe and fear. Like the Yankovsky name, the Manchurian tiger’s predation upon man became legendary.
The great Manchurian tigers, according to Yuri, owed their existence to a Mongol emperor who had imported tigers from India and created a sanctuary for them in the region where the Chinese, Russian and North Korean borders meet. Although the Mongol empire eventually fell, the tigers flourished and each of them bore on their foreheads the Chinese character “king.” These monarchs of the northern forests exacted a huge toll upon their human subjects – taking their livestock and often their lives.
Yuri first felt the urge to hunt tigers at the tender age of six when his favorite pony fell victim to one of these great beasts. It may have started as childish revenge but tiger hunting soon became his passion and he was so successful that he became known as “Asia’s Mighty Tiger Hunter.”
Although Yuri deplored consigning wild animals to a life of imprisonment in zoos, in the late 1930s or early 1940s he was forced by financial needs to provide two live tiger cubs to the zoo in Seoul. For this betrayal of his soul he was paid some 1,000 dollars by the Japanese government.
But money couldn’t force the Yankovskys to betray their adopted country. Allegedly, in 1941, Yuri’s son, Valery, was offered 10,000 yen by the Japanese government if he would hunt down the “tiger” known as Kin Ichi Sei.
Valery turned down the offer claiming the Yankovsky family “only hunts four-legged predators!”
The “tiger” was a young Korean freedom fighter that had harassed the Japanese military in the Mt. Baekdu region. The Yankovskys, at least in spirit, supported the Koreans’ fight for independence and were unwilling to assist the Japanese – especially if it meant killing one of the movement’s leaders.
Who was Kin Ichi Sei? According to Valery, he was the man now known as Kim Il-sung.
ELEMENTS ADDITIONNELS (TOUJOURS SOUS LA PLUME DE ROBERT NEFF) : LES ATTAQUES DE TIGRES ET DE LEOPARDS ETAIENT CONSIDEREES COMME SI COMMUNES A LA FIN DU XIXEME SIECLE QU'ON DISAIT SPONTANEMENT D'UNE PERSONNE QUI DISPARAISSAIT QU'ELLE AVAIT ETE ENLEVEE PAR UN TIGRE...