When many people think of agriculture, they think of big fields, tractors, cows, and maybe some horses. They think of places that are devoid of human life, where people are miles and miles away from the nearest town or city. They think of idyllic surroundings, with sheep and pigs and chickens running around freely.
Agriculture is truly what makes us human. It has enabled our species to become the dominant species on the planet. Through agriculture we have been able to breed different kinds of plants and animals into existence. We have bread grain and corn into what it is today, we have bread sheep and pigs into different species depending on what we want from them. Humans have bred cows to produce gallons upon gallons of milk, and also to provide us with tons and tons of meat.
And while we were doing this, we changed the physical landscape of the planet as well. Where once there were forests are now grassland, used as pastures for grazing animals.
Countries such as Scotland were at one time completely covered in forests. However, with the advent of agriculture and the need to feed sheep, pigs, goats, and cows, the trees were cut down, and the animals eat anything – tree, shrub, or grass – before it has a chance to truly grow to its full potential.
With the farms came a huge rise in the overall human population, a rise which eventually led to the establishment of cities. Within these cities, commerce started, medicine was perfected, and art was truly born. And yet, none of this would have happened without the food which the farmers were able to provide to the growing population.
Interestingly, the last decade has marked a change in how we humans live. Due to automation, we are able to produce more food using less people than ever before. This has marked the first time that there are now more people living in cities than there are in the countryside.
However, one young Scottish farmer has decided to buck the trend. He still wants to be connected to the land of his forefathers and continue to raise cattle for consumption, exactly like his ancestors undoubtedly did for generations before him. However, one day, all of that was threatened by one of mankind’s greatest adversaries; a tiger. Would this young Scot be able to defend his cattle, or would they be taken like chattel unto slaughter?
A new farmer
The world of farming may be getting smaller as more and more people move to the cities, but thankfully, there are still those who want to stay close to the land and raise the food that we all need to survive. One of these new farmers is Bruce Grubb. Grubb had just gotten a new house on a farm and was getting ready to start his life of animal husbandry and cattle ranching. But that night, his life would be changed.
The 24 year old Grubb decided to have a big housewarming party in order to show off his new house to all of his friends (wait, a 24 year old can afford a house??). He was excited to have all his best friends over so they could take part in the beginning of his journey to become a cattle rancher. Grubb’s friends drove out to his house out in Hutton, Aberdeenshire, located just outside of Peterhead. And that was when things got a bit out of hand.
The town of Peterhead is located on the easternmost tip of Scotland. It was first built in the 1500s as a fishing village, and, just like in most places in Scotland, they have a language which is all their own. The people there call themselves Blue Touners, or, as is locally spelled, Bloo Tooners. They also have another name, Bloomogganners. This name comes from the blue socks that the fishermen used to wear when they went out to get their catches!
Bruce himself is a country boy through and through, and there is nothing more important to him than his cattle. In fact, they are so important to him, that he did not imbibe in the refreshments that he himself provided to his party guests! Instead, he had to make sure that he was stone cold sober so he could check on his cows. They were to be his livelihood for the foreseeable future, so he wanted to make sure they were safe.
But there was another, even more important reason that Bruce decided to keep his mind completely intact and sharp. As it turned out, several of Bruce’s cows were pregnant and were getting ready to give birth to calves. Therefore, Bruce needed to have his wits about him in the off chance that one of his cows was about to go into labor. During the party he went out to check on his cows to see if any had started giving birth. It was then that he saw something which startled him.
A shock of his life
When Bruce Grubb went out to check on his cows that night, he was shocked by what he saw something sitting by the cow shed. Sitting right there, by all of his livestock and livelihood, was a tiger! The tiger appeared to be sitting there patiently looking out at Bruce, as if waiting for him. As it would anybody, Bruce got extremely nervous. All he could think about was protecting his cattle. As he later said in an interview, he got “the fright of his life.”
Calling for help
Not knowing what to do (after all, would you know what to do if there was a tiger sitting on your property?), Bruce decided to call the authorities. He went to his phone and immediately called the police. Interestingly, the way to call the police is different in the United Kingdom than it is in the United States. In the UK, you have to dial 999 or 112. Who knew that different countries have different numbers!
Bruce was terrified that something would happen to his livestock. After all, healthy livestock means a healthy bank account. And with his cows expected to give birth at any minute, there was absolutely no time to lose. Grubb, living way out in the country, was afraid that the police would not be able to make it to his property before the tiger began attacking his herd. Would the police get there in time?
Staying in the car
A lone police officer finally got to the farm after some time. He got to the area and he shined his police spot light on the ramp leading up to the barn. And it was then that the police officer saw the tiger sitting there, staring out menacingly at the two humans, and waiting. The police officer who was there on the scene was so spooked by the giant cat that he would not get out of his car. Instead he decided to call in the calvary.
All the king’s horses and men
As it turns out, the vast majority of police officers in the United Kingdom are not armed with guns. They might have billie clubs and handcuffs, but most of them do not have firearms or even tasers! This is why the police officer who first arrived on the scene was too scared to even get out of car – he couldn’t defend himself! So, the officer called several of his colleagues, including a few with weapons. In all, six cruisers showed up to try and take care of this tiger.
It is not exactly a common occurrence to see a tiger in the middle of Scotland. In fact, it probably has not happened ever in the history of Scotland! Even the Romans, who loved bringing exotic animals to their settlements, were not able to go that far north in the British Isles (they only made it to what is now “Hadrian’s Wall”). However, a mere two hours drive away is a huge safari park. The police called the park to see if any animals were missing, but they weren’t! Where did this tiger come from?
Upon realizing that the tiger did not get loose from the zoo and wander onto Bruce Grubb’s property from there, the officers began debating as to what to do. After all, ending this tiger’s life would be a huge decision. The species is critically endangered, which means that there are not that many left in the wild (or alive on the planet period). What could the police officers do? They sat and debated this question for 45 minutes.
Concern for the cows
Meanwhile, Grubb was starting to get really anxious. After all, he had the majority of his herd of cows in the cow shed which was currently being blocked by the tiger. To top all of this off, about 200 of his cows were pregnant! Did the tiger know this and know that the cows were extremely vulnerable? Did the tiger want an easy meal in the form of a newborn baby cow? Well, Grubb wasn’t going to wait to find out. He decided to do something about it.
A drive of bravery
Grubb knew that he had to do something in order to save his cows. They were his livelihood, and he sure was not going to let anything get in the way of that. Especially after he had just bought a house and a farm! So, he got into his truck, turned his lights on bright, and began to drive towards the giant cat in order to scare it away. It was then that he made a huge discovery.
The discovery (the tiger is not real)
As he began driving up to the tiger, he noticed something – the tiger was not moving. In fact, it was sitting there, completely still, just staring. What was going on. Grubb drove right up to the tiger, got out, and grabbed it! But he was laughing in the end. It turns out that the entire time, the “tiger” was actually just a really big stuffed animal! That was the reason why the “beast” never moved.
A roaring shift
Upon seeing what the tiger actually was, and upon realizing that a whole squad of police officers were sitting in their cars scared, everyone – from the party goers to Bruce to the police officers themselves – broke out into roaring, raucous laughter. In fact, when the story broke on the BBC, the spokesperson for Police Scotland said that “the false alarm gave officers a ‘roaring’ shift.” At least Scottish police have a sense of humor!
One would think that with something so funny that Bruce would be able to keep the stuffed tiger with him in his home as a keepsake of such a ridiculous moment. Or maybe he wanted to take the tiger home and yell at whichever one of his party guests scared him so badly. However, he ended up giving the big fake tiger to the police officers, and today, they use the stuffed animal as their mascot!
Back to the party
As the police and Grubb went their separate ways, they both left amicably. Grubb went back to his house warming party to go calm down after the harrowing ordeal that he had just been through. What if, on his first night in his new house, all of his cows were eaten by a tiger? Well, we hope that his friends did not laugh at him too much after the entire ordeal, as it is a pretty silly mistake to have done.
Always ready to go
With something so seemingly small, a lot of people wondered why the Scotland police sent out an entire crew of their finest to investigate such a weird and strange occurrence. Well, as Inspector George Cordiner of the Scotland Police said, “”Our ultimate aim is to protect the public and keep our officers safe when faced with uncertain situations. Until you know exactly what you are dealing with, every option has to be considered.”
Another thing which Insp George Cordiner said was that it was clear that there was no malicious intent involved during the entire ordeal, and that everyone is in good humors about it. As Insp Cordiner says, “We appreciate that it was a false call made with genuine good intent.” What a nice, understanding police inspector! Protecting and serving while clearly making a positive impact on the community. We are happy the Scottish police were so understanding.
Prank calling the police
However, this situation could have ended up a lot worse. Had it not been completely clear that Bruce Grubb was not trying to prank the police, the entire situation could have ended up a whole lot worse. In fact, prank calling the police can actually get you arrested in the United States. This is because anything which can waste a police officer’s time or which interferes with their duties is a crime.
Social media reaction
Once this story hit the internet it almost immediately became a viral hit, with people from all over the world commenting on the story. Some people laughed at Grubb for not taking a second to think about the fact that tigers are not indigenous to Scotland. Others said that the police in the United States would have just shot the tiger. Meanwhile, yet another person said that they could relate, as the same thing happened to them with a toy snake!
A tiger in Scotland?
But have there ever been tigers in Scotland? Well, kind of. There is something called the “wildcat” which is a large, predatory cat indigenous to Scotland. However, a wildcat is closer to a lynx than it is a tiger. Yet there are actually tigers in Scotland, including at the zoo/safari which the police officers called in determining whether or not a tiger had escaped its enclosure. But there are no and have never been wild tigers in Scotland.
Highland Wildlife Park
The zoo that the police officers called in order to ascertain whether or not the “tiger” sitting on Grubb’s property had escaped actually does have some tigers. The Highland Wildlife Park is unique in that it is a giant, enclosed safari. You can drive around the grounds and see thousands of animals which are indigenous to the Scottish Highlands, along with a whole bunch of other animals.
Tigers and bears oh my
In fact, the park has a lot more than just sheep and native Scottish creatures. They also have several tigers, exotic birds, and even a polar bear! In an attempt to save both the tigers and the polar bears, both of which are critically endangered, the Park is trying to get these animals to mate and produce more offspring. Hopefully, through the efforts of zoos like the Highland Wildlife Park, these animals will be around for quite a while longer.