For the Love of Tigers

Today is International Tiger Day, so I thought I needed to give a shout-out to some of my favorite animals. First and foremost, let’s get the adorable pictures out of the way.

Adorable doesn’t even begin to describe this cub.

Not enough cuteness for you? Then I recommend you head over to Mother Jones and check out their whole page dedicated to the beautiful creatures. Don’t worry, I’ll wait until you get back. Got to get the Aww! out of your system after all.

Now if you want to read more about Siberian tigers, I recommend checking out The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant. I listened to this book on audio last year, checked out for free from my library, and I have to say it was an intense listen. For me at least, the audio book helped because listening to how the names were pronounced helped me to have more of a distinction for the characters. Check out a snippet of my review of the book:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tiger is revered, feared, compartmentalized, and idealized. There is a main story, but mixed throughout are backgrounds for the various people whose lives were affected, as well as fascinating tales of the various tigers that our main forest ranger has encountered.

I learned a lot about Russian history and its economy in this book, as well as all the temperamental relations that have existed in the past with her neighbors. The book is also peppered with adventurous tiger stories (besides the primary tale), even from a few survivors, and you learn how intelligent, territorial, and vengeful these animals are. These sections were by far my favorite parts of the book, and made for some entertaining discussions around the dinner table.

[…]

As frustrating as the structure was at times, listening to it in audiobook format made the Russian names, terms, and locales easier to understand and I didn’t feel daunted by the language as much as I think I would have been had I read this in paper/ebook format.

Overall a fascinating book about a beautiful but dangerous predator.

Another good source for information on not only the Siberian tiger but also the people of the Taiga is the documentary titled Happy People (available on Netflix), which walks you through a regular working day for people who live among the largest land man-eaters on the planet. You really get a good taste for the environment in Vaillant’s The Tiger, but it really hits home to see the reality of it. Not only do you see how they have to create makeshift traps in the woods but you also watch them make their own boats, all using the simple but reliable tools at their disposal.

Finally I’d like to leave you with some excellent places that work with tigers on a regular basis.

  • Big Cat Rescue in Florida. A wildlife conservatory for big cats that are rescued and given a happy home. The video and pictures they post on a regular basis will make your heart melt.
  • Noah’s Ark in Georgia. I have a special fondness for this non-profit located right around the corner from where I live. They take in all sorts of animals, not just tigers. Recently they took in a bunch of dogs that were removed from a puppy mill, got them cleaned up, gave them medical exams, and will soon be adopting them out. One of their biggest attractions though is their BLT trio – a bear, lion, and tiger who live in the same enclosure and are incidentally best friends.

Happy World Tiger Day everybody!

Drabble: Hidden between

Prompt: Hidden between

Hidden between the cracks and crevices, you can just make it out. It won’t stay still and it’s difficult to hold in sight for long, but you feel its presence and you know that it’s watching you. It can see you just as easily as you can see it. You tear the wall apart, dropping the pieces chunk by chunk to the floor, but still it eludes you. The more you excavate, the more it evades.

The wall is gone now, torn to rubble by your hands, by your eagerness and greed. No longer can you feel its presence, its warmth. The answers it once held are lost forever now. Instead of letting it exist just out of your reach, you wanted it for yourself. It had to be yours, didn’t it? You wanted to claim it for your own. You couldn’t leave it alone. Now no one else will ever even see it.

You stare down at your hands, realizing too late your folly. You apologize. You plead. You excuse. You didn’t know the wall was its only home. You didn’t know it would die without it. What a silly creature it must have been, you decide. Perhaps the world is better off without it. Honestly what use could an animal be if all it does is live inside the hidden spaces of the world.

Originally posted on Typetrigger. Fiction in 300 words or less.
Please pardon typos or grammatical errors. See sidebar for copyright information.

Drabble: At the peak

Prompt: At the peak

At the peak we turn around and stare down into the white valley. At the top of the world, nothing looks real. You don’t feel like you’ve conquered a mountain, instead you glimpse into an alien world. The mountain groans as snow shifts and wind howls, like an old man who has particular distaste for visitors.

You feel uncomfortable in your body and are painfully aware that you don’t belong here. Your breathing is heavy. The air is too thin, a kind way of saying that anything that needs oxygen to survive will have trouble at these heights. Even the birds aren’t foolish enough to fly this high. Your limbs are numb from the cold, and you haven’t slept properly for close to a week.

Here at the top of the world, the highest altitude on the planet, the smallest weakness can lead to death. Never had a heart problem before? The mountain will test that. Think you packed enough provisions? The mountain will test that too. Being physically prepared isn’t just a recommendation, it’s necessary for survival.

After a thirty minute rest, it’s back down again.  Don’t worry, old man mountain, we won’t be long. Let us admire your beauty before we return to our world, the world we tend to take for granted.

Originally posted on Typetrigger. Fiction in 300 words or less.
Please pardon typos or grammatical errors. See sidebar for copyright information.