Mustela sibirica. The Siberian weasel. A near-mythical denizen of Beijing’s ancient hutong alleyways. In Chinese, this animal is called a 黄鼠狼 (huang shu lang) – literally ‘yellow mouse wolf’. Most folks have never seen one. Many question their existence at all. But with their long, lithe bodies and little legs, these elusive creatures can dart across grey rooftops like gold streaks of lightning. Adult males grow up to 40cm long, with soft, thick fur well adapted to Beijing’s brisk winters.
Elderly locals say it’s good luck if you manage to encounter one of these noble beasts; and inversely unlucky if you bring harm to one. It is also said in China that the Siberian weasel is a wandering spirit (shen) that can steal and replace people’s souls. Eek.
So Bespoke Beijing is setting a challenge for anyone plucky enough to capture one of these elusive creatures on camera – in action in its hutong habitat.
The photo we judge to be the best (and genuine) will win international acclaim from thousands of admirers – AND a hutong-based prize from one of our many lovely travel partners. It’s an ongoing contest and the Bespoke crew is going to be trying our damnedest to snap the beast too, so keep up with our progress on our Facebook site.
Good luck, hutong hunters!