Oakland Zoo, Oakland CA
Face time with a tiger. Looking at a beauty.
There are six tiger species in the world. Bengal and Siberian tigers are among the most prominent. An overall population of just over 6ooo animals still living In the world. To say tigers are a threatened species is an understatement.
I have been fascinated by tigers since I was a boy. Their wonderful orange color, and their mysterious stripes. Their power and potential as an apex species is magnetic. Their “wildness” is irresistible. This is a fascination I share with a lot of people. People are so fascinated that there has grown up a cottage industry to cater to this façanation. Unscrupulous breeders have created “wild animal” parks where people can view and even handle tiger cubs. And even worse, these breeders sell their cubs on the black market. But the story for the cub is not a happy one where the species is saved and the tiger roams free. No, these cute and cuddly cubs grow up and at around 20 months of age are no longer able to be handled safely. What they have is a full-grown wild animal whose instinct is to kill. Not for sport, but for survival, but for food. What happens to these cubs is not pretty. A good number are euthanized, some are fated to live in cramped cages. This animal who is naturally solitary in the wild is housed with other tigers, where their nature to dominate forces them to fight and sometimes die.
These are the collateral damages that befall the tigers bred and held in these makeshift parks. And the damages don’t stop there. I mentioned the various species of tigers there are in the world. I left out one. The generic tiger. The tiger pictured here is not a specific species, she has been made generic. Generic, due to the greedy breeding practices. These breeders don’t care about maintaining the heritage of individual breeds, they just want tiger cubs. What is produced is a beautiful mutt. But the global problem of diminishing tiger populations is not addressed, and the tigers lineage becomes hopelessly diluted.
The tiger shown here, this beautiful animal, is kept at the Oakland Zoo. She is there with two other “generic” tigers rescued from a breeder. She is kept not to breed or to expand the numbers of tigers, since she or her sisters ultimately have no family line to protect. These beauties are kept for humanity's sake. And to act as a teacher. To show the public the dangers of meddling with the natural order simply for entertainment and fascination's sake. To let her sadly born beauty be a lesson. Wild animals need to stay wild.
One item on my bucket list is to see a tiger in the wild. Most likely in India, where Bengal tigers still roam free. I want to observe and to capture only with my camera, images of these wonderful creatures. And campaign for their survival.
#tiger #wildlife #animals #nature #animalsincaptivity #pantheratigris #beauty #beautyinnature #love #tigers #cat #animal #wildlifephotography #cats #bigcat #india #wild #bigcat #naturephotography #jungleanimal #bigcats #wildanimals #instagood #photography #morethanahobby #michaelreiningimages
Canon EOS 77D, 18-270mm, 110mm, f/7.1, 1/80, ISO 400