Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Once Upon a Time, I Met a Tiger

TRUE STORY. In college, there was a cabinet maker who had a tiger as his company mascot. One of the girls on my floor knew him, and knew that I loved tigers and my lifelong dream was to work with them as a zookeeper (while writing, of course), so she took me to go see him/his tiger.

We got there, and the tiger was pretty friendly. It chuffed hello and came up to be pet -- he kept it on a really long chain inside a warehouse, in the evenings, and during the day it had an outdoor enclosure, but I mean, it was obviously a well-taken care of, well-loved animal -- and I let it lick my hand, and scratched behind its ears, and it was pretty much nirvana for me, because OMG PETTING A TIGER!!!!! It rubbed its head against me, and then, before I could even blink, wrapped its jaws around my thigh.

Thankfully, I'm an idiot, and don't have even the sense God gave little green apples, because I have absolutely 0 fear of being eaten by a tiger, and so, instead of flinching, I just stood there like "oh, no big," and the tiger let me go, and I proceeded to keep petting it because I am really that dumb. Or maybe that smart, because if you flinch in front of a predator like that, it is pretty much a signal that you're prey and its time for them to give chase. But anyway. This is how I became covered in tiger saliva (and got it all over my coat) and pretty much immediately after I happened to touch my face, and my eyes started itching and my nose started running and thus, I learned, I am pretty Intensely allergic to tigers.

I remember getting home, just on cloud nine, and thinking "I could die happy tomorrow."

But did you know there are only an estimated 2000 Bengal tigers left in the wild? And only 3200 wild tigers of all subspecies, total? Did you also know that if a population drops below 1000 individuals, the necessary genetic diversity to maintain a healthy population (to breed them back, for instance, if such programs existed for the reintroduction of tigers into the wild) is lost forever?

For tigers, it's now or never.


Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3)
Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) * Postcards from Asgard * Helen of Sparta
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4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. the tiger population situation depresses me extremely. I remember reading books in grade school and writing reports when there were still estimated to be 10,000 tigers in the wild. The way the numbers have dropped just in our lifetime is both shocking and horrifying. We've KNOWN this was a problem for so long, and even still, things are looking grimmer and grimmer.

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  2. First of all :( the tiger situation is so troubling I am so sad about this. Every time I look into it the number is smaller and it's just :(

    Secondly OMG A TIGER

    Thirdly, I feel like my reaction would be similar. I was accosted by a puppy bigger than me today (I mean he was no tiger) and he shot out of the room at me and pushed me to the ground and all I could think to do was scratch his ears and say hi and make cute noises. So in conclusion. Yes

    Fourthly, I watched an amazing documentary on siberian tigers a while back and there are these incredible volunteers in Russia who protectand track tigers across the country, hoping to keep them going and safe from poaches. Omg it made me cry a little bit because it all just seemed so sad.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah. The numbers are awful. So awful. It breaks my heart to think that wild tigers will be non-existent in our own lifetime. Because that is definitely where we're heading, and fast.

      thirdly: I think I'm more nervous about strange dogs than I was about that tiger. ha. Like it is one thing if it is a friend's dog, but random dogs definitely make me hesitate, even when they're tiny.

      4thly: that documentary sounds amazing! Poor Siberian tigers. There are what, only like 300 of them left? proper genetic diversity is irrecoverable for them, now :-/

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