Free The Tigers! Spare The Tigers!

(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

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Captive Tigers in China Waiting For Slaughter

A few days ago I was worried that tigers might be becoming extinct, so I wrote an essay about it.  The idea that tigers were becoming extinct was making me ill: it brought on feelings of anger, sadness, despair, grief, longing.  I found myself thinking about it.  Constantly.  

As if all of that weren’t enough, I then found this in the New York Times:

The crowd-pleasing Year of the Tiger, which begins Sunday, could be a lousy year for the estimated 3,200 tigers that still roam the world’s diminishing forests.

With as few as 20 in the wild in China, the country’s tigers are a few gun blasts away from extinction, and in India poachers are making quick work of the tiger population, the world’s largest. The number there, around 1,400, is about half that of a decade ago and a fraction of the 100,000 that roamed the subcontinent in the early 20th century.

Shrinking habitat remains a daunting challenge, but conservationists say the biggest threat to Asia’s largest predator is the Chinese appetite for tiger parts. Despite a government ban on the trade since 1993, there is a robust market for tiger bones, traditionally prized for their healing and aphrodisiac qualities, and tiger skins, which have become cherished trophies among China’s nouveau riche.

With pelts selling for $20,000 and a single paw worth as much as $1,000, the value of a dead tiger has never been higher, say those who investigate the trade. Last month the Indian government announced a surge in killings of tigers by poachers, with 88 found dead in 2009, double the previous year. Because figures are based on carcasses found on reserves or tiger parts seized at border crossings, conservationists say the true number is far higher.

And now as I think about the end of tigers, I feel wave after wave of anger, sadness, despair, grief, longing.

And all of those feelings are amplified by response to this news.   Shrugging, yes.  Mumbling, yes.  But mostly, the response is silence.  Crickets.  And more and more crickets.  You can look at the comments here and here.  There are possibilities other than mass apathy: maybe my writing wasn’t very good and it didn’t elicit any response, maybe the situation is just completely overwhelming, and nobody knows what to do.  Maybe it’s that nobody read the essay, or the comments left in Open Threads pointing to it.  There are I suppose a lot of other possibilities.

But to me it means that shortly, very shortly tigers will be living solely in captivity on this planet.  And after that, they will slowly become extinct.  Because they don’t belong in cages, walking in circles, going slowly and inevitably insane.

All I can do is point to these reports and ask, “Are we as humans going to let this happen?”  And when I do that, what will I hear as a response?

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simulposted at The Dream Antilles and dailyKos

25 comments

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    • davidseth on February 13, 2010 at 10:25 pm
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    Thanks for reading.

  1. Im sorry, david, my ability to focus lately has eluded me and I didnt read the previous one very intently.

    But I did now, and followed the links.

    Horrible. But what can be done?

    • BruceMcF on February 13, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    … of being the first big cat to go extinct since the sabre-toothed tiger of North America.

    There are likely less than 200 and perhaps  only 100 Iberian Lynx left in the wild.

  2. …but I’m just so maxed-out, overwhelmed by what is going on in my life right now, I can’t do anything about it.  Pls pardon me for being on, for needing to be on, a break.

    • pfiore8 on February 14, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    and it’s not just for tigers, lions, and bears.

    we are trying david. to figure out how to save all of us. cause we’re all under siege from where i sit…

    • Robyn on February 14, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    …available in Orange.

    Today I’m working on Orcas.

  3. As with children, I can hardly bear the plight of so many of our beloved creatures the world over — my sensitivity in that respect is so great that I totally “crack” when all these abuses are revealed, thus, I’ve always had trouble responding, as a result!

    I’ve been a contributor of WWF for so many years and many other animal preservation activism efforts (although, much less so these days (monetarily), not of my choice).  

    Every time we turn around in this life today, it seems that there is more and more effort to “destroy.”  Destroy that which has been and is here for a purpose, first of all, but also, that which gives us a greater sense of love and appreciation of so much beauty on this earth!

    I guess our best effort is to continue to spread knowledge of the “ill” that exists and continues — for the sake of all mankind, for it’s own non-benevolent self, as well as those who are devoted to a love of that which lives and exists!

    “Are we as humans going to let this happen?”

    With all deference, davidseth, aren’t we (humans) the ones who have allowed this?  

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