"How could there be tigers in Sibera?" she scoffed. "It's too cold there; they'd freeze to death. Tigers only live in India."
Once home, I told my mother about the incident. To support my claim, I pulled out one of the volumes of our treasured Worlds of Nature animal encyclopedia, which had a detailed, illustrated article about Siberian tigers--the largest cat in the world, up to 10 feet long and 800 lbs. I wanted to take the book to school to show the teacher she was wrong. But Mom wouldn't let me; she told me not to make trouble. (She toughened up: 10 years later she caused a minor furor by refusing to sign a paper saying she believed in God, which Baby Brother needed in order to join the Cub Scouts. He was allowed to join anyway.)
On the odd times that Siberian tigers make the news, a remnant of my 11-year-old self is aggrieved--and vindicated--afresh. This morning I was highly gratified to see the following item in the NY Times "World Briefing":
Russia: National Park for the Siberian TigerSo there.
The government has created a 200,000-acre natural park in the Far East to protect the country’s endangered Siberian tigers, the Natural Resources Ministry confirmed. The Russian Far East is home to about 500 Siberian tigers.