The air was calm and mildly fragrant that evening in the rural Kodagu District of Karnataka State in South India. My Indian friend and I were taking an after dinner stroll away from his family’s plantation. The forest was thick with trees and silence. The half moon could be seen through the canopy of foliage. There was no artificial light and we carried no flashlights.
My friend then quietly said that Nagarhole National Park was just across the road. Sometimes animals wander away from the park. I asked if we should be more careful in the dark. He told me not to worry. The tigers try to avoid humans. Suddenly I didn’t feel so happy and carefree. We soon turned around to settle in for the night’s sleep.
There was no encounter with a tiger, nor any other wildlife for me that evening. I did think that a sighting would have been wonderful, in the comfort and safety of a motor vehicle. I had a peaceful sleep while dreaming of Hanuman, the monkey god.
Like many people, I’ve encountered tigers in zoos. They’re certainly impressive, ponderous creatures. A can of Friskies cat food sure won’t satisfy ones appetite. The cats also face threats of extinction as they must share living space with dense human populations and habitat loss.
In less than a century, three subspecies have become extinct. The Bali, Caspian, and Javan tigers are gone. Poaching and loss of habitat are threatening the Amur (Siberian), Bengal, Indochinese, Malayan, South China, and Sumatra tiger species.
The need to preserve the existing populations of tigers is behind the idea to support the creatures through International Tiger Day, today. We need to take some time to be aware of tiger conservation issues and to support public awareness of the problems of diminishing tiger populations.
The Blue Jay of Happiness has this link for you today: