17 December 2010
Species Conservation | One of those "Save the Tiger" moods
I thought I'd start the post off with that pretty little portrait before the real stuff begins, ease you into it...kind of. Apologies in advance for my knack for finding and posting the most depressing tiger pictures, but it's got to be done.
This one's of a group of Bengal tigers at a tiger farm in China. It's a terrible practice that reminds me a lot of the canned lion hunting that happens around Africa. Facilities in China have bred over 5000 tigers in captivity. The whole logic behind the farms is that if you can breed the tigers yourself, then it shouldn't be illegal to sell tiger products because it's not like they're from animals that have been poached illegally. It's a terrible concept and all it does is encourage the demand for tiger products. Contrary to what they say, it's really not a solution to the poaching and extinction of tigers in the wild - that's going to continue, tiger farming or not. This is just China's version of a win-win scenario - a load of shit really. Not to mention the fact that it's all done so inhumanely.
A couple of pictures of injured captive Sumatran tigers - an almost extinct subspecies with fewer than 400 left in the wild. This one did this to himself by rubbing his face against the bars, he was one of the few Sumatran tigers left in the wild till he was captured. It was thought that he killed 5 people.
But I'll end the gore with some beautiful tiger photos. Some happy tigers (the top one is of Sumatran tigers and the bottom is a Siberian) in the wild :)
Back to my recent post about captive breeding, in-situ vs. ex-situ conservation etc. I finally decided to give the idea of tigers in the Karoo a chance and had a look at the website of Tiger Canyons near Bloemfontein. I haven't yet formed an opinion on it... I think the concept of bringing them to a country where they can have a chance to breed and hunt and behave almost like they're in their natural habitat isn't a totally bad idea. If you can prove that they can survive in a completely different country, then why not give them a chance somewhere where they have the space to be wild animals with less human conflict. Sure it's not their natural habitat and it's not right for a tiger, it's a glorified zoo in some senses, but if they can deal with it, I suppose it is better than southeast Asia - reduced conflict, no population pressure. I just don't see the point of establishing a population in Africa. Also when going through the Q&A bit, I'm not so sure this guy's going about it correctly. The way he thinks isn't quite right. Especially the fact that he seems to think ex-situ conservation is the only option for tigers and that they have no hope in India - even I think that's way extreme. It's like he heard about Sariska and Panna's stories and decided India's no longer a safe place for it's national animal. Angers me a little. Also it's extremely worrying that even these tigers are under threat from poachers... anyway, I don't know. It's definitely a worthy initiative but not if it's just gonna be another zoo. A zoo accessible to poachers at that. Also for god's sake, having a white tiger is purely a tourist attraction. They have no conservation value. I will say this though - the idea of a Bengal tiger hunting eland, blesbok and impala is definitely intriguing (I was going to post a picture I saw on the site yesterday but can't find it anymore :S).