Man-eating tigers

It seems far more likely now that man will eat tigers than the other way around!

We grow up listening to stories about the dangers of wolves and tigers; instinctively we fear what’s out there in the dark, unknown and scary although most of us have never have been acquainted with wolves, tigers or the like. These stories have been passed down through the generations, often by word of mouth, as folk stories, fables and fairytales.

Today’s really frightening stories are not about storybook wolves or tigers - in our multimedia world, the scariest stories are facts, not fiction, and they are in our faces every minute of every day. Living in today’s predefined frames makes us become rather one eyed at times and it stops us from moving to another "point in the room" from where we can view the world in a different light. Were we to find another perspective we might discover that wolves and tigers are more icons of the fear than the fearful animals themselves. Fear is the most basic emotion in most of us and therefore, without prejudice, will lead directly to whatever is really hiding behind any façade or barrier we put up to conceal that fear.

We are all guilty of putting wolves, tigers, sharks, tax authorities or whatever in place of rather than confronting our own deepest fear, that of meeting the unknown. However, living with and managing our fears is linked to our growth and development and thus a prerequisite for health. Fear and anxiety are constant companions to growth. Unless we are prepared to step outside our comfort zones into the unknown, we will never progress.

Our other deepest fears are those connected to our own mortality. If we are sensible, we take preventative measures to delay the day we meet our maker for as long as possible. In the animal kingdom however, this luxury does not exist. Life and death are everyday issues - there is no room or time to plan ahead - often it is a case of eat or be eaten!

Tigers are an endangered species yet they live in our minds as man-eating, dangerous animals. Tigers once lived in a vast region of wilderness that extended as far north as Siberia and as far south as the Indonesian island of Bali; as far west as Turkey, and as far east as the Russian and Chinese coasts. The tiger is a cat of beauty, strength and majesty but out of the eight original subspecies of tigers, three have become extinct within the last 60 years! Few and possibly none in the end will survive in the wild. The wild tiger population in the Malaysian peninsular today is estimated at 650, reduced from 5,000 some 50 years ago!

Tigers increasingly compete for land and food with mankind. An ever-expanding human population along with creeping industrialisation is threatening the tiger’s natural habitat. In the future, a few of the remaining subspecies may survive only in zoos; most others will live only in stories, pictures and myths, never again to roam the earth. Despite widespread acceptance of this prediction, the World Wildlife Fund WWF has recently revealed that restaurants in Malaysia are offering tiger meat on their menus. It seems far more likely now that man will eat tigers than the other way around!

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Lasse Larsson

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Publicerad: 07 sep 2003 10:37


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