Saturday, 13 February 2010

The Year of the Tiger.

Tomorrow sees the start of the Chinese Year of the Tiger. But I think we can say with certainty that this will definitely not be the year of the tiger for the tiger. For a start - as it is Tiger year in China, there will be a huge increase in demand for tiger products. Superstition still holds sway in China and spare tiger parts are always in demand - skin, genitals, bone, teeth, nails - are all sold in China - and all come from poaching of these magnificent beasts. How do we get rid of superstition? I suppose through constant education through three or four generations.

Thinking about superstition - maybe it has largely died out in the Western world - although I rarely if ever, walk under a ladder, do you?

When I look back to my childhood my mother had superstitions which I no longer practise - or even think about. She would never have may blossom in the house - that was very unlucky - as was ivy. All the ornaments in our house had to be looking inwards if they possessed a face - it was unlucky to have an ornament with a face looking out of the room through a window. How daft can you get? Now I just smile at these old memories - but will it be the same in China as they join the developed world in a big way? I doubt it; these ground up potions sit on apothecaries shelves and tempt all to buy to help their sexual prowess, or halt their diseases, or give them happiness. I think it will take generations for the habits to die out.

And the poor tiger can't wait that long. It is estimated that only about two thousand live in the wild in India now, and although they are ostensibly protected animals, they are still poached. Where there is big money to be made, then there will be unscrupulous people who will stop at nothing.

The only tigers I have ever seen have been in captivity. The last two I saw were in a small zoo attached to an aquarium in Denver. Two enormous beasts lay high up in an enclosure and looked down on us with very wise eyes. At the time I thought it was tragic that such animals should be in captivity, but now I am not so sure.

If the tiger dies out during the next fifty years it will be a tragedy. But I am not sure what we as individuals can do to stop it. Any ideas out there?

13 comments:

jinksy said...

Perhaps more zoos are the answer until scientist can clone a whole new species of Tigers not with the proper Tiger requisites for medicinal purposes etc!

Jenn Jilks said...

I am pretty complacent. I think the dodo and dinosaurs weren't meant to function in this millennium.

We all must evolve and change, and that includes individual species.

While we have buffalo ranches out west, we are eating up the land and habitats such creatures require. I am on the fence on this one, Weaver!
Thank you for visiting My Muskoka !

Crafty Green Poet said...

Luckily the tiger breeds really well in captivity so there may be hope though I see it as a very sad case. Tere are some animals such as the giant panda which may be considered (to use Jenns words) as mot meant to function in this millenium. However the tiger is a supremely adapted top predator and if it becomes extinct then there is only one place to point the blame. On humans. I'm postign a tiger poem tomorrow for the start of Year of the Tiger.

Heather said...

I have never been very keen on zoos and keeping animals in captivity but at least they are fed and cared for, and if their numbers drop dramatically, breeding programmes can be introduced to increase their numbers. More than that, I can't see what else we can do.

Rebecca said...

I dont have any answers, but I feel, breeding the tigers in captivity is a very sad option. Tigers are not meant to be held captive. In captivity they would only be a mere shadow of their true self.

It may be tragic to see the extinction of the tigers but caging them, so that we can continue to see an image of them is more so.

Maybe we need to allow evolution take its natural course, whilst continuing to educate people and continuing to explore how human advancement and nature can coexist.

Miranne said...

Seeing tigers in captivity is such a sad experience. I wouldn't like to know they were in the wild anywhere near my neighbourhood, though. We still have a few bears and wolves left in our country - and that's more than enough wildlife for most of us.
Seeing your photo from Rielvaux Abbey brings back fond memories from student days at Leeds Uni. I did a course on History of Architecture , and spent some time there. Went back a few times on Sundays, just to take in the athmosphere.

Pam said...

With respect to others opinions here,I feel we share the planet with animals, end of story. These living creatures have the misfortune to have to share their co-existance with us. I would love to have the tables turned so that the planet's creatures discuss whether our human species fits their criteria for this mileniumm, whether, sad as it is, we should be put in cages,or in fact, if it would make sense to do away with our present human form to clone a whole new species of human, and by the way, the humans don't have a say in the process.We two-leggeds are supremely arrogant.Money rules. I think that't the answer to the problem Weaver. Trying to do something about our arrogance and selfishness, and learn to fight more for creatures without a voice. As you can see, I am not complacent. Complacent has us in the situation where we now have extinct both beautiful and magnificent creatures we will never be able to replace again,for example our wonderful Australian Tasmanian Tiger (thyalcine) the likes of which we will never see again.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Jinksy's idea of cloning sounds a good one - but can't think how it could be done without the relevant parts.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Jenn also has a point - but it does seem sad that a species should die out mainly because some stupid people think eating the ground up genitals of a tiger will make them more sexually aware.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Juliet - as usual the voice of reason - does make a very valid point that although captivity is not ideal, if tigers breed well, it is one way of saving the species.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Reading Heather and Rebecca - it does beg the question, what are we breeding them for? If it is just to see them in zoos then I agree that is wrong - the breeding must be done with a view to releasing them into the wild - and then we are back to the poaching problem again.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for visiting, Miranne, I shall pop over to visit shortly.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Pam - Yes, I agree with all that you say - it has become money that rules and nothing else matters - it applies to animal species, rain forests, natural resources - and there seems very little we can do about it, sadly.