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Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright(ly)
April 24, 2003 11:41 PM   Subscribe

When Animal Rescuers Attack? "I wish I could get inside his head," Tippi Hedren said. "In my wildest imagination I cannot understand how anyone could do this." There are other people out there helping tigers, lots of them, even places where you can protect endangered tigers while having a relaxing vacation.
There's other tiger news today:
Two steps forward and one back at the Indianapolis Zoo and proof that you don't need to be in a jungle to get in trouble with a tiger.
But what is it about tigers? "These days the tiger’s huge popularity as a poster boy for endangered species stands in sharp contrast to its grim image in earlier times as the incarnation of evil." Why do we love these animals so much we try to save the life of one that has killed a human? Of course there are other forms of tiger abuse...
posted by wendell (7 comments total)

 
The now ironic "Tiger Rescue" had a website at tigerrescue.org (now down). But here's some old info from some local media.

Who/what has shaped your image of The Tiger? Is it him? Or him? Or him? Or (shudder) them?
No, it must be him.
My love of the big striped beasts was definitely cartoon based, starting with Ragland T. Tiger.
posted by wendell at 11:48 PM on April 24, 2003


Great post, wendell, full of info, incident and interesting reversals. When I saw this photograph I thought for a second Corbett was the tiger.

Jorge Luís Borges's great poem came to mind, of course. It's a bit long but what the hell:

The Other Tiger

A tiger comes to mind. The twilight here
Exalts the vast and busy Library
And seems to set the bookshelves back in gloom;
Innocent, ruthless, bloodstained, sleek
It wanders through its forest and its day
Printing a track along the muddy banks
Of sluggish streams whose names it does not know
(In its world there are no names or past
Or time to come, only the vivid now)
And makes its way across wild distances
Sniffing the braided labyrinth of smells
And in the wind picking the smell of dawn
And tantalizing scent of grazing deer;
Among the bamboo's slanting stripes I glimpse
The tiger's stripes and sense the bony frame
Under the splendid, quivering cover of skin.
Curving oceans and the planet's wastes keep us
Apart in vain; from here in a house far off
In South America I dream of you,
Track you, O tiger of the Ganges' banks.

It strikes me now as evening fills my soul
That the tiger addressed in my poem
Is a shadowy beast, a tiger of symbols
And scraps picked up at random out of books,
A string of labored tropes that have no life,
And not the fated tiger, the deadly jewel
That under sun or stars or changing moon
Goes on in Bengal or Sumatra fulfilling
Its rounds of love and indolence and death.
To the tiger of symbols I hold opposed
The one that's real, the one whose blood runs hot
As it cuts down a herd of buffaloes,
And that today, this August third, nineteen
Fifty-nine, throws its shadow on the grass;
But by the act of giving it a name,
By trying to fix the limits of its world,
It becomes a fiction not a living beast,
Not a tiger out roaming the wilds of earth.

We'll hunt for a third tiger now, but like
The others this one too will be a form
Of what I dream, a structure of words, and not
The flesh and one tiger that beyond all myths
Paces the earth. I know these things quite well,
Yet nonetheless some force keeps driving me
In this vague, unreasonable, and ancient quest,
And I go on pursuing through the hours
Another tiger, the beast not found in verse.

Jorge Luis Borges
posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:11 AM on April 25, 2003


I was almost driven to tears when I saw the story on the news,... I just happen to be in the middle of planning a fundraiser for the Wild Animal Orphanage of San Antonio, Tx Which takes in unwanted exotic animals (ie; When stupid people buy tiger cubs as pets, and then they grow up) It's a real sad deal... and it's alot more common than you'd think... anyway... nice post, thanks for shedding light on a serious issue.
posted by danger at 2:38 AM on April 25, 2003


I think I'm going to be sick
posted by evening at 5:55 AM on April 25, 2003


I consider myself a very rationale person, but cruelty to animals always sets me over the edge.

In this case let the punishment fit the crime.

A few nights ago in detroit there was a story on the news about a family that forgot about their dog until it starved to death chained up in the backyard.
posted by Yossarian at 6:25 AM on April 25, 2003


Why do we love these animals so much we try to save the life of one that has killed a human?

Why wouldn't we?

See, here's what I don't get. "Animal Rights" is a misnomer because animals can't understand the concept of rights, thus cannot subscribe or agree to the responsibilities that come with them. OK? Well then, why would it make sense to apply our human system of criminal responsibility to the animal and punish it for "murder" or "assault" (in non-fatal cases) by killing it - or in this case, refusing to render lifesaving aid? Lately, the automatic killing isn't happening automatically, as some victims specifically plead for mercy for the perpetrator, but it's still the default. Howcum?

Please note that I actually do agree with the sentence beginning "Animal Rights." But I honestly don't see how it can be held consistently with the other attitude.
posted by soyjoy at 10:07 AM on April 25, 2003


Why wouldn't we?

Exactly. It's a wild animal, when you take it out of its natural environment, or enter its natural environment (like trapping it), you cannot expect it to behave like a domestic animal, which has been selectively bred for hundreds of generations for tractability. They're not pets, we shouldn't expect them to act like pets, and we shouldn't be surprised when they attack or kill people, especially if they're injured at the time, as the one who killed the woman was.
posted by biscotti at 10:27 AM on April 25, 2003


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