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Oct 19 16 10:48 AM

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Soon I will be writing a paper on this subject, but until then, I will be writing a full report of this age old question here. The lion and the tiger have often been pitted in the arena together and universally, a fair fight between the two often results in the victory of the tiger. Martial, poet and writer from ancient Rome records the only accounts of fights between these great animals in the amphitheatres of Rome, in one such fight, a tiger is pitted against a lion, in which the tiger is stated to have tore a lion to pieces! In India, Old Mogul emperors have pitted the tiger against the lion and found the tiger as the universal winner. Trainers from circuses such as Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Al G. Barnes Circus have all given superiority to the tiger. Others give it to the lion, but I have throughout the years noticed that inevitably, the lion wins on unfair terms. Surely a large lion can defeat a tiger, but in the reverse order? I don't think so. Small tigers have defeated lions, such is the case in Birmingham (1865) where a female tiger seized a male lion by the throat and killed him outright. Another female tiger from Regent Parks in a similar manner seized a lion which it lived in harmony for two years grabbed by the throat and strangled. From Martial's Epigrams of Rome, he also provided a case where a tigress tore a lion to pieces. In 1857, a fight between a 18 month old young tiger and a fully grown lion resulted in the death of the lion. Another fight which took place in Lahore Zoo, 1930, resulted in a fight between a pair of lions and pair of tigers, the result was the death of the two lions; In this case, the tiger and tigress where described as young animals.

There is however accounts of lions winning in the reverse order. Titled Amorous tiger dies trying: A old lonely male tiger was killed in a fight with a female lion. But before my readers become overwhelmed with amazement, they should note the tiger was stated as quiet old, likely not fit to fight. Surely a decisive comparison of the animals as killers.
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#1 [url]

Oct 19 16 10:57 AM

The Ladies' Companion, and Monthly Magazine (1858)
also reported by Frank Leslie's Magazine

"It may not be generally known that once upon a time a lion and a Bengal tiger were brought together in an amphitheatre, to try their prowess in single combat, and that the tiger killed the lion; and that when the tiger was subsequently pitted againsta buffalo, the buffalo killed the tiger."


Another version


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#2 [url]

Oct 20 16 1:37 AM

Lion versus Tiger (1914)

Lion vs tiger: Huerta the Lion versus Rajah the Tiger (The Pittsburgh Press 1914)


The Washington Post also reported this case. He is stated in that one as 2 year old.

This account below is also reported by The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Huerta throughout both these accounts is referred to as "He" or "Him" or "His" meaning he was male. However, from the Brooklyn report, he is also stated like from Pittsburgh report as three year old animal(Which is sexually mature) also which was a direct statement by the zoos director Dr. William T. Hornaday.

The lion was stated to have been previously been ill for several days in the neighboring enclosure before the fight, but seems to have not been ill during the fight, as can been described "They fought for an hour" which means neither were exhausted. The fight ended because the tiger managed to grab the lion by the neck and killed him.


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#3 [url]

Oct 20 16 2:17 AM

After greater investigation I have noticed that a particular image of what appears to be a historical image of a lion and tiger fighting in a zoo enclosure which appears to be about the same time frame is undoubtedly the same account mentioned above.

The below image shows an image which appears to have been taken in the early 20th century. Right around the time of the battle in 1914. What is shown is a lion and tiger in a zoo enclosure battling with zoo spectators which appear to be of western origin watching the battle just like in the Pittsburgh report. A lion which appears to be of Nubian origin (See belly mane), and looks to be about the age of three battling a big tiger. Those confirming the reports above!


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#6 [url]

Oct 20 16 8:12 AM

The Tacoma Times 9 Feb 1911 Tiger Fight Lion, then Tiger Fight Grizzly Bear

"ALL HAIL, KING GRIZZLY: Beast Crown to United States! Our Own Bear Has It All Over Tiger and Lion-But-
A new king of beasts? It is with not a little surprise and a good deal of pride that we go about it to record another change of dynasty. For this time the scepter comes across to the new world. Ursus horribilis gets it. In plain United states, the grizzly bear has something on the rest of brute creation when it comes to a showdown. Pending the appearance of some more likely candidate. 'Old Ephriam' wears the crown. We are informed that a royal Bengal tiger leaves only a respectable grease spot after a grizzly has landed on him. Once this king of beasts question came up in France and some dead game sports thought to settle it by a fight between a lion and a tiger. The fight was some fight, but the lion was as good as dead as soon as the scrap started. The tiger cleaned up in short order. Then. while the owner of the tiger was priding himself on the fact..."


Same account mentioned also by

Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, the Evening News
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Wednesday, February 8, 1911 - Page 6

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#7 [url]

Oct 20 16 8:34 AM

New York Times, July 19, 1909 'Another fight at Bostocks' "As Falkendorgh, a trainer in Bostocks animal show at Dreamland, Coney Island, was bringing his seven lions into shape to form a pyramid before 1,500 people last night, with Mogul, a new Bengal tiger, chained to a cage in the ring, he turned his back to a lion named Caesar and Caesar jumped at him. Falkendorgh half turned and jumped forward and the big lion's claws only ripped his back and sent him to the ground; but then as women screamed and attendants, firing blank cartridges, ran into the ring, another of the seven big lions, Prince, sprang with a roar from his pedestal straight at Mogul. Mogul, snarling and crouching, was ready. The two beasts struggled together, biting and striking with their claws. They snarled and roared and filled the air with sawdust as they twisted and strained, each trying to get on top, lashing with their tails. Falkendorgh, swinging his long whip beat Caesar back to his cage, but Mogul and Prince, striking and biting, fought on in spite of the attendants, and several women fainted, many screamed, and one was taken with a fit. At last, with bars of iron and long whips, they beat Prince off from Mogul and drove him, snarling and limping, his flanks streaming blood and face torn and bitten, to his cage. Mogul, in spite of his chains, had got the best of the fight."


Tiger Whips Lion Boston News Access. 7 March 2011
Two Fight in Ring at a Coney Island Show. Spectators on Verge of Panic and Several Women Faint. 19, 1909&author=&pub=Boston Daily Globe&edition=&startpage=&desc=TIGER WHIPS LION.

New-York Tribune (New York, New York) Jul 1909, mon


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#8 [url]

Oct 20 16 8:53 AM

Tiger kills lion in Turkish zoo

Bengal tiger. File photoSix tigers remain in an enclosure at Ankara Zoo

A Bengal tiger has killed a lion at Ankara Zoo after finding a gap in the fence separating their cages, say zoo officials in the Turkish capital.

The tiger severed the lion's jugular vein in a single stroke with its paw, leaving the animal dying in a pool of blood, officials said.

They denied local media reports that the tiger had broken down the fence during the incident last September.

The zoo says it is safe for visitors, despite the incident.

Six tigers and two lions remain at the zoo.



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#10 [url]

Oct 20 16 9:32 AM

Tiger escapes zoo enclosure in Turkey, kills lion
by Meg Nesterov on Mar 8, 2011

A Bengal tiger escaped his enclosure at a zoo in Turkey‘s capital city of Ankara, killing a lion in the adjacent area. The lion was killed in a single swipe to the jugular vein. The tiger had previously wounded the lion last year. Ankara Zoo officials say that the tiger reached the lion through a hole in the fence between the animals and did not knock down the fence. The zoo has a remaining six tigers and two lions and is safe for visitors.

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#13 [url]

Oct 24 16 9:37 AM

ANDROCLES AND THE LION: Auckland Star, Volume LXI, Issue 127, 31 May 1930, Supplement 

"Dr. Boelker of Leipzig has gone farther than Androcles, who removed a thorn from a lion's foot. He was removed a lion's. The operation was performed under an anaesthetic.

The lion's eye had been so badly damaged in a fight with a tiger that it was feared the lion might lose its life unless the eye was removed. Dr. Beolker did it. The animal never stirred during the operation, and is now well again. "

807e227c7e9542b2920ccc335699ca7e_r.png eye lion fight

Also reported by Hutt News, Volume 3, Issue 8, 17 July 1930 

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#14 [url]

Oct 25 16 3:30 AM

"Lions 'N' Tigers 'N' Everthing' By Courtney Ryley Cooper 

In his book, Animal trainer Courtney Ryley Cooper  gives the advantage to the tiger stating that...


"The clash between the lion and the tiger invariably ends in a victory for the striped beast, and in several encounters between King Edward, a big black-maned Nubian, and Dan, a Royal Bengal tiger, the 'king of beasts' had moved out second best"

Writing to 'The American Magazine' (1931), Cooper wrote a article in the paper about his experience on the fight between a lion and tiger.

He talks about in his article in this magazine his experience. And in his career, he has had three fatal battles. On three occasions, he has had two tigers kill lions, and the third fight resulting in a lion victory was an unusual thing.

tiger win


Cooper had also non-fatal battles also. In writing in, Sawdust and Solitude - Page 80. Courtney Ryley Cooper states that his lions could barely go a week without being attacked by a tiger! In "Lions 'N' Tigers 'N' Everthing' Cooper says the tigers he had invariably won these fights.


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#15 [url]

Oct 25 16 4:00 AM

Fight Between a Lion and a tiger in Bromwich 1857

"In West Bromwich in 1857 a tiger and a lion fought each other to death. The beasts had adjoining cages and the tiger escaped and attacked the lion. All the keepers could do was watch the fight, which was heard all over the town, as the tiger killed the lion."

In this fight a tiger which was only 18 months old, killed a fully grown lion by ripping open its belly, killing him.


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#16 [url]

Oct 25 16 4:12 AM

An extaordinary combat in which the king of the beasts was vanquished in a batle to the death

Gettysburg Compiler - Feb 7, 1899

"If there is one problem which caused much talk and good-natured discusion among naturalists and hunters - one subject othen debated and never settled - it has been the question of realtive strength between the Lion and the Tiger. East Indian Shikaries, or native hunters and mighty English nimrods of Bengal have maintained that the Tiger is the true king of the cat family and able to thrash any Lion that ever roared by nightfull. Other Englishmen who have hunted in South Africa as sloutly declare that the Lion is what the picture books have ever made him - monarch of all beasts and un over-match for any Tiger that may question his royal diginity.

The Asiatic Lion - or, at least, the yellow beast of Hindostan - is acknowledged to be too small and too limorous to cope with the Bengal Tiger, while the Tiger does not inhabit Africa, the homes of the gigantic black mained and created Lione, largest of their family. A meeting on equal terms the Asiatic Tiger and an African Lion would be the only really satisfactory test of the powers of the two great cats, and until a few weeks ago such a meeting had never occured.

On the morning of November 10th both animlals were reported wild with hunger and in their prime condition for the fray. Everybody hastened to the arena, and there fror hours they were entertianed royally by the prince

Each beast had been transfered from his pen into a wooden cage, and these cages were then rolled into the arena. Ropes were attached to the fastenings of the doors, and the Gaekwur, purched on high in his royal box with the English realdent and several other diguitaries, trook the ropes in hand.
The Tiger was the first to emerge, darting into the ring with a frightful snarl. There was a shout of terror and admiration as the great beast, brown and black and yellow, went racing around the enclosure. No such Tiger had ever been seen in Baroda, and the English declared that the animal was a large man-eater as was ever caught in India. He was evidently more than ten feet long, over fourteen tail and all, and over four feet high at the shoulder. His teeth were long and white, with claws of tremendous strength and his shoulders great masses of tendons, moving with supple grace.
Restore the prince could answer and great yellow bend came through the door of the second cage, and the Lion leasurlely came decended into the arena. If the Tiger was the personificationof graceful strength nad supple energy, the Lion was the embodiment of massive power and muscle. Carrying his head more proudly than the Tiger, he lookeed taller, while his heavy mane gave him the appearance of greater size - an appearance made more conclusive by evidently large diameter of the huge legs and the bulk of his enormous paws.

There was little time for further speculation, for the Tiger was crawling forward, crouched almost flat upon the ground and evidentl measuring the distance for a spring, while the Lion, lashing, his sides with his heavy tail, emiltled a deep-voice roar. The Tiger got his balance gauged and rose into the air like a great yellow rocket. As he shot through space the Lion rose on his hind legs and recieved him even as the Highlanders at waterloo took Napoleons cavalry uopn their bayonets. There was a crash, a chorus of horrible yells and blood-curdling snarls, and then the two great bodies rolled over and over in a cloaud of sand.
The mighty fighters regained their feet and shook themselves free. As they parted from the clinch the Lion slung his right paw squarely at the Tiger's head. The blow shot in so fast that even the supple cat could not avoid the stroke, and the huge claws ripped away an ear and tore the skin on the Tiger's head in frightful fashion. Over in and a heep rolled the Tiger, and the Lion rushed in to complete its victory. His claws tore only dust, for the Tiger, regaining his presense of mind, twisted aside and escaped annihitation
The Lion advanced, growling, lashing with his tail, and evidently looking for a chance to deal one decisive blow. The Tiger retreated , feinting from side to side, till he felt his tail brush the wood of the side wall, Then, just as the Lion rushed on, the Tiger sprang high in to the air and bounded clearly over his enemy's back landing twenty feet away. There was a roar of applause and the lion looked disgusted
Again the Lion forced the Tiger back against the wall. This time, instead of escaping with a leap, the Tiger suddenly ran in, head almost to the ground, aiming for the Lion's legs. Atlas met him with a downward wack which would of broken the neck of a bull, but did not even shake the Tiger's head. Then they rose on their hind legs, exactly as fighting dogs are othen seen to do, and exchanged right and left swings for at least three minutes, while the crowd went wild with delight and cheered like madmen.
Infighting did not seem to please either combatant. When they broke away they were seamed and gashed and the blood was pouring down their flanks. The Tiger had landed three blows to the Lion's one, but the Lion swings evidently bad much more force in them, for the gashes in the Tiger's hide were deeper and apparently the more enfeebling. The Tiger slunk away and hugged the wall, trying to regain his wind, while Atlas roaring furiously, stood his ground in the centre, the blood dripping from twenty ugly wounds.

After a few moments' rest the Tiger came forward and began to circle round and round the enemy. A couple of short rushes by the Lion failed to effect anything and the African monarch worried. Seeing an apparently favourable opening, he charged at the Tiger who darted out of danger, and then, turning like a bird upon the wing, leaped upon the Lion's back. There was another fearful struggle; the big bodies, now streaked with blood and brown with dust, rolled half way across the ring and the Lion shook himself free, delivering one of his terrible right swings as the Tiger backed away. The jungle terror, staggered by the blow, made off to a safe distance and then sat upon his haunches, watching and studying the effect of the last tussle.
The Lion had been badly mauled. There were two long rips across his back, and blood streamed from deep tooth prints on his shoulders. He was panting hoursely, and it was evident that his wind was not as good as his adversary's. The Tiger inspected him for a moment and then came circling on again. There was another bull-like rush by the Lion, and the Tiger met him fairly, plying his claws like a demon. When the next breathing spell came out, the Lion, evidently out of breath sank heavily to his kness, while the Tiger, his stripes obliterated by the fast flowing blood, seemed far the stronger of the two.

It was the Tiger's fight and he knew it. He sprang at the staggering Lion, took a fearful chop on the nose without flinching and set his teeth in to the African's bary throat. They wrestled desperately, and the Lion's heavy mane saved him from suffocation. Great mouthfulls of long cosrse hair catching in the Tiger's teeth not only preventing him from getting a death grip, but so interfered with his with his respiration that he had to release the hold, whereupon the Lion swatted him with a tremendous uppercut and snt him tumbling twenty feet away.
It was evidently nearing the finish, despite the rallying power and the indoubtable couarge of the Lion. He could hardly turn to follow the motions of the Tiger, and the striped fellow, still strong upon his legs was again moving snake-like around his victim. The Tiger darted and the Lion missed clean with both claws. Over they went; the Tiger worked fore and hind paws frantically, and in less than fourty seconds had ripped the Lion's body fairly into shreds. Atlas, with one last effort, threw the Tiger off, strove to roar, fell prostrate on the sand and died. "

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#17 [url]

Oct 25 16 4:50 AM

Lions, Tigers, And Me. - Roman Proske

"It was then that the tiger, in a supreme effort, with one bite crushed the lion's neck while the lion, in his death agony, tore the scalp from the trainer's head.


Roman Proske also mentioning Mabel stark, states that the tiger will best a lion! In this fight, the lion was a big black manned male, the lion had the advantage at first attacking the tiger in ambush, but the tiger later had an advantage when the trainer went in and poked the lion with a steel fork. The lions mane did not save it from being killed by the tiger.

However, after closer investigation, the trainer did not say pitch fork, but said steel fork. Not only that, but he was close enough to but clawed by the lion meaning the fork he used was not a long pitch fork but in fact an actual short dinner fork or barbeque fork... Overall, it is unlikely the fork played a significant role.


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#18 [url]

Oct 25 16 4:58 AM

Chicago Daily Tribune, Apr 22, 1882 

Exciting Scenes Incidental to Moving a Menagerie.

Philadelphia Press 

"The exodus of nearly 500 tenants from the vicinity of Lehigh avenue and Richmond Street, yesterday, and their departure for Washington last evening, caused no little stir in that usually quarter of the city. The exodusters represented nearly every species in the animal kingdom, from a poll-parrot to Bolivar. "King of the Mastodons," and it was their transfer from the winter quarters of Forepaugh's show to the Centennial siding of the Pennsylvania Road, from which the annual tour of the aggregation was last night begun, that occasioned all this commotion. An unlooked-for tragedy was enacted in the midst of the work of transfer. In the same den were kept two lions and two tigers, separated by a strong wooden partition. To such a pitch of ferocity was one of the tigers stirred by the arrangements for the removal that he threw himself in a very frenzy of rage against the partition, pounced upon one of the lions, and, before the keepers could lift an arm, fixed his fangs deep into the throat of his victim. A torrent of blood gushed forth, and the king of beasts desperately attempted to throw off his assailant, but it was no use; the tiger's grip was death, and almost on the instant the prostrate lion, with a spasmodic effort of head and limbs, fell back cold and stiff. By that time a dozen hands were raining blows upon the head of the ferocious brute, who stood over the slain lion with glaring eyes and blood-dyed jaws, and stunned by the sudden attack he was secured with ropes and dragged into a closed cage." 


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#19 [url]

Oct 25 16 5:26 AM

Wild Beasts: A Study of the Characters and Habits of the Elephant, Lion … by John Hampden Porter - Animal behavior - 1894 

Wild Beasts: A Study of the Characters and Habits of the Elephant, Lion … by John Hampden Porter - Animal behavior - 1894 - Page 239 "How often a conflict between animals so formidable ends in the assailant's repulse or death, we do not know, neither can we say whether bison's are habitually attacked by tigers. Lions destroy the African buffalo either singly or by taking odds ; and in a personal contest, the tiger would generally have the advantage over a lion. They have often been pitted against each other, and the general result is well known to be as stated. Gunga, who belonged to the King of Oude, killed thirty lions, and destroyed another after being transferred to the zoological garden in London. " 


The King of Oude in his book many years before. "The Private Life of an Eastern King 1855. page 261-262"

"There was no lion in Lucknow a match for the largest tigers there:"


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#20 [url]

Oct 29 16 10:44 PM

Former Circus Tiger Kills Zoo Companion

Pawtucket, R.I (AP)

Saba, a 13-year-old 550-pound tiger, has killed his 7-year-old female companion at the Slater Park Zoo.

An attendant found the dead 300-pound tigress when investigating a disturbance at the animals cages. Saba had killed two lions in a circus before he was bought by the zoo. The zoo had hoped to mate the tigers.


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