His obsession began innocently enough, with the puppies and broken-winged birds every little boy begs to bring home. Over the years, Antoine Yates' taste in animals grew ever more exotic, neighbors said, and his collection came to include reptiles, a monkey or two, and according to one neighbor, even a hyena.
He had a boundless affection for living creatures that he might have picked up from his mother, Martha Yates. Over the years, Martha Yates raised dozens of foster children in her five-bedroom apartment in a public housing high-rise in Harlem, according to one of her foster sons.
But when Yates' most exotic pet -- a tiger that he named Ming -- grew to more than 180kg and let loose a fearsome roar, that happy home disintegrated. Terrified by the beast, Martha Yates packed up the last two of her foster children and moved to a suburb of Philadelphia earlier this year, neighbors said.
Yates, increasingly hard pressed to control the tiger, apparently decamped, too, to a nearby apartment. He continued to feed the beast by throwing raw chickens through a door opened just narrowly enough to keep a paw the size of a lunch plate from swiping through, neighbors said.
Last Saturday, the police moved in, alerted by Yates' curious call in which he claimed to have been bitten by a pit bull. They found Ming and removed the tiger from Apartment 5E after it was shot with tranquilizers darts by a sharpshooter who rappelled down the side of the apartment house. The mission created a swirl of excitement in the neighborhood and left a series of questions for an assortment of officials.
The police are trying to determine where Yates got a tiger cub and how he managed to raise it from cuddly kitten to full adult size in a public housing project for several years.
Officials at the city's Administration for Children's Services said they were trying to determine whether foster children had lived in the apartment while the tiger and other dangerous animals were there. And officials of the New York City Housing Authority were trying to determine how the tiger escaped the notice of workers at the complex.
People who live in the high-rise apartment building in the Drew-Hamilton Houses at 2430 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard said that the tiger had lived among them for at least three years. His presence, while strange, was widely known, and it did not really alarm anyone, they said.
Jerome Applewhite, 43, who lives on the 18th floor, first encountered Ming about three years ago, when he stopped into the apartment for a visit and saw Yates sitting with the tiger cub cradled in his arms.
"He was feeding it with a bottle," Applewhite said. "He cared for his pets."
The presence of a creature only seen in the far east -- or north, if one includes the Bronx Zoo -- in a New York City apartment did not surprise him much, he said.
"It was a house pet," Applewhite said. "To me that is cool."
City officials did not share this view.
"Tigers are dangerous animals," Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters on Sunday at a news conference on Fifth Avenue before marching in the Pulaski Day Parade. "Clearly this tiger should not have been in anyplace in New York City outside of a zoo."
Investigators from the New York City Police Department questioned Yates, who was placed under guard after he turned up at a Philadelphia hospital. On Saturday he went to Harlem Hospital Center, where he told skeptical doctors the bites on an arm and a leg were from a pit bull. He checked out early Friday, prompting an inquiry into his whereabouts.
Kathleen Carlson, a spokeswoman for the Administration for Children Services, said the agency was "looking into our history, if any, at this address."
Howard Marder, a spokesman for the housing authority, which oversees public housing, said officials there are trying to determine when the apartment was last inspected and how a tiger managed to escape detection. He said authority records indicate that one complaint was received about the smell of urine coming from the apartment.
Public housing residents are permitted to have only one pet, and it must weigh no more than 18kg, Marder said. It was unclear exactly who was supposed to be living in the Yates' apartment, he added. He said records indicate Martha Yates moved out in January, but neighbors said she was still living in the apartment as recently as June.
The tiger, along with a 1.5m-long alligator-like reptile called a cayman, that was also found in the apartment, were taken to a New York animal shelter.
No one at the Drew-Hamilton Houses who knew Yates was sure on Sunday exactly how Yates came to have a tiger cub. But he was well known there as an outsized character who, above all else, loved animals.
"Every time I have ever seen him, he was talking about his exotic animals," said Wanda Tompkins, 26, whose family has lived in the apartment directly below Yates' for the past five years. "He was nice, but he was a bit strange."
Tompkins' mother, Valerie, said that she had long known that a strange assortment of beasts lived upstairs. It was not a problem until this summer, when she tried to raise her windows and found the sills soaked with urine and an animal stench invading her apartment.
"I complained to housing, but they never responded," Valerie Tompkins said. She had never seen the tiger, but her daughter Janaya had. Janaya, 11, was a friend of one of Yates' foster children, a girl named Dana, Janaya said.
"She asked me if I wanted to see the tiger," Janaya said. She told Dana, yes, she did want to see it, and Dana led her to one of the apartment's bedrooms. The tiger was lying inside a cage. Janaya said she was too terrified to pet it. "It was scary," she said.
Raven Eaton, who works at the nearby Associated Supermarket, said Yates would come in to the store every afternoon to buy several bags of raw chicken.
"He said they were for his animals," Eaton said. He never said what kind of animals he had. "He was as normal as someone like Antoine could be."
Whatever his motives, city officials said that it was both unsafe and cruel to keep a tiger in an apartment. A police officer who answered the telephone in Yates' room at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia said Yates did not wish to be interviewed.
Yates' brother, Aaron, 24, said Antoine Yates loved and cared for his animals and never wanted to hurt them.
"His love for animals started when we were babies," he said. "He would nurse animals off the street. He got that from my mother."
"He was straight up," he added. "He raised a healthy tiger. They should find him a job with animals."
Warren Hsu (許華仁) sees chocolate making as creating art and performing magic. Zeng Zhi-yuan (曾志元) “talks” to his cacao beans and compares the fermenting process to devotedly caring for a child. Despite their different products and business models, the two helped put Taiwanese chocolate on the map in 2018 at the prestigious International Chocolate Awards’ (ICA) World Finals when Hsu’s Fu Wan Chocolate (福灣) claimed two golds, five silvers and two bronzes, while Zeng took home four golds. That year, Taiwanese chocolatiers burst through the gates with a total of 26 medals, an impressive feat given that many locals don’t
Chen Zhiwu (陳志武) says that the COVID-19 crisis puts into sharp focus that we are in a new cold war, with China and the US being the two protagonists. “It’s almost literally in front of us,” says Chen, Director of Asia Global Institute and Chair Professor of Finance at the University of Hong Kong. Political observers were hesitant, Chen says, even up to the beginning of this year, to confirm a new cold war was underway. “But ... the coronavirus has made clear the clash in values and way of life between what China would like to pursue, and what
For tourists visiting Hualien, Taroko National Park (太魯閣國家公園) is the first order of business. But if you find yourself in the city with half a day to spare — your train back to Taipei will leave mid-afternoon, say — it’s hardly worth busing out to Taroko Gorge. Instead, borrow or rent a bicycle or a scooter, or hail a cab, and set out for one of these attractions. At only one of these places is there an admission charge. CISINGTAN SCENIC AREA A literal translation of Cisingtan (七星潭) would be “Seven Stars Pond,” but there’s no pond here, just the vast Pacific
To bring sustainability and prosperity to their farms, some agriculturalists in southern Taiwan have embraced innovative types of companion planting. In contrast to the monoculture that dominates much of the rich world’s farmland, companion planting is the cultivation of different crops in proximity, usually to optimize the space, for pest control or to enhance pollination. The symbiotic relationship between cacao trees and betel nut, which may be unique to Pingtung County, is striking when one visits the cacao plantations maintained by Choose Chius (邱氏可可) and Wugawan (牛角灣) in Neipu (內埔). The history of growing cacao in Taiwan goes back to Japanese colonial