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