Thursday, May 08, 2008

Saving Tigers

My daughter is an animal lover. I can't remember a time when she didn't gravitate toward animals, whether the toys she played with, the books she read, or the shows she watched. And that hasn't changed a bit.

The other evening she was watching Two Brothers, a very heartwarming tale about two orphaned tiger cubs who end up with very different fates. She came up to me and said, "Mom, can I ask you a question?" She was quite solemn.

Sure," I replied.

"What happens to tiger babies when their mom and dads get killed?"

Thunk. That was the sound of my heart going into my stomach. "Well..." And y'know, I couldn't lie and say that they were all rescued by good-hearted angels and lived happily ever after. She's too smart for that. So I told her the truth.

"Well, they have to try and survive by themselves, but sometimes they die. And sometimes there are mean hunters who kill them."

Her eyes widened. "But they're just babies! How come the hunters have to do that?"

When I told her that there were mean people in the world, she started to cry and then I wished I had told her that all those abandoned baby tigers went to a palatial zoo in the middle of Asia.

But then she said, "I want to save the tigers! Mom, how can I save the tigers?"

I'm not joking when I think I have a budding wildlife preservationist on my hands. She is very attune to these types of things already. So we went online and looked at some of the organizations out there whose sole purpose is to save tigers from going extinct. I looked into "adopting" a tiger, but unfortunately, I didn't have the $10,000 fee it required.

My daughter wanted to make posters that said, "Don't kill tigers!", but then she told me that she didn't think hunters would see them. I told her that even if just one hunter saw it and it made him stop hunting the tigers, then she would have made a difference.

Then, of course, we had to find a picture of tigers that we could print out so she could color it.

I'm pretty sure my daughter's concern over the tiger population will not diminish with age, but will only grow stronger. And someday, she will undoubtedly be on a jungle safari to visit a family of tigers or be working in a zoo delivering a set of tiger cubs. :-)

How you can help save the tigers:

Save the Tiger Fund - Program of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

The Tiger Foundation


  1. If you ever go to the West Coast, contact Tippi Hendren, tell her about your daughter's interest, and schedule a day at her personal tiger preserve.

    You'll both love it.

    There's also a center in New Zealand that does wonderful work with tigers.

    You handled it beautifully by telling her the truth. As difficult as it is for her to realize what's going on, and for you to see her being upset, in the long run, it's best for her to have the truth rather than discover it from someone or somewhere else later.

    What a great Mom!

    In the interim, the National Wildlife Federation site has ways to turn your yard into a certified wildlife habitat (I think it costs $15) -- and it's got great ways to do it, and a whole kid-friendly portion of the site on what kids can do in their home neighborhoods until they go out and become world conservators!

    And RANGER RICK was one of my favorite magazines growing up!

  2. Devon, I knew I could count on you to give me more information! :-) Thanks so much. I would love to take her to a tiger preserve! Wow! I think she'd rather do that than go to a theme park. ;-)

  3. Not all of us hunters are mean. I consider myself an animal lover and a conservationist at heart. The legal harvesting of animals is sometimes the only or most effective method of population control and I personally only shot what me or my family will eat. So tell you daughter I will never shoot a tiger.

  4. Travis - Yeah, I'm trying to tell her that there is a good reason for hunting - for food and to keep the animal population down. So don't worry - I know you're not all bad. ;-)


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