Life of Pi by Yann Martel tells the story of a young man named Pi Patel, whose family owns a zoo in India. They decide to move to Canada and transport their zoo, but the ship they were sailing across the Atlantic encounters a storm and sinks. Pi is the only survivor, as he finds himself on a lifeboat with a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, and Bengal tiger he names Richard Parker.
Pi begins to note the effects of his movement on the lifeboat and the raft and how they maneuver within the sea. When he pulls the boat closer, the boat rocks and waves, upsetting Richard Parker. As Richard Parker howls, the last vestiges of life in the rats and cockroaches flee the boat.
When Pi returns to the tarpaulin he notes that Richard Parker has marked his territory only underneath the cover. He snags some rain water that has collected and drinks it, then replaces it with his own urine and marks the top of the tarpaulin to claim his own territory.
While he’s watching, he notices below that there are dozens of different creatures in the sea below him. He sees that there are even more creatures than he originally thought when he only saw dolphins on the boat.