Wednesday, May 5, 2010


“Most of the time
He's the lord of the jungle
Everyone grins while he gripes
Usually he's found just
Lounging around in his stripes"

Michael Franks - Tiger in the Rain

A visit to China’s Wenzhou Zoo, in Zhejiang province might just guarantee a photograph with the dwindling beast. Here visitors are invited to come up close, touch a tamed tiger and pose for pictures as they pretend to ride the animal. This could mean that the picture might be framed and hung on the wall for years, and you could actually tell your friends, “the fur was so soft, and he didn’t even growl.”

It just might mean the survival of the tiger, in pictures. At the rate at which the tigers are disappearing from the face of the earth, we might just have to be satisfied browsing for images on Google and saving it as a desktop image. That is probably the only way your children might get to see a tiger. Ever.

The WWF has released on their website ‘Top 10 Tiger Trouble Spots in 2010’. The map clearly shows why tigers are dwindling day by day. In India, various factors such as an ever-shrinking area due to an ever growing human population has let to the conflict between the man and the tiger.
However there seems to be no conflict between man and the cat in Thailand. Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua, or the Tiger Temple was founded in 1994 as a forest monastery and sanctuary for numerous wild animals. The Buddhist forest temple is located in the Saiyok district of the Kanchanaburi province in western Thailand.

The 50 odd tigers that have found the sanctuary in the tiger temple are washed and handled by Thai monks, international volunteers and local staff. Once a day they are walked on leashes to a nearby quarry. Originally they would roam around freely in this area but now, with the increase in visitors and the amount of tigers who sit in the canyon, they are chained for safety reasons. Under guidance, the visitors as can greet, sit with, and pet the cats.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, of the 3,500 tigers around the world, 1,400 are found in India. But our Indian tigers are being threatened. Like many other animals, they are highly territorial. Even the weather now is not on their side. A study predicts that the rising sea level may cause the remaining tiger habitat in Bangladesh's Sundarbans mangrove forest to decline by 96 percent this century. Additionally, poachers are everywhere, and our national animal has lost its pride.

“… He is just a tiger in the rain
who’s frightened..”

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