HeWhoWalksWithTigers on DeviantArthttps://www.deviantart.com/hewhowalkswithtigers/art/Aegis-111753026HeWhoWalksWithTigers

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Daily Deviation
Daily Deviation
March 7, 2009
Aegis by ~HeWhoWalksWithTigers Suggester writes: "The eyes of this tiger are truly captivating; many people can only dream of this kind of contact with an animal this majestic and beautiful. ~HeWhoWalksWithTigers offers us this opportunity, while also working to protect this natural wonder."
Featured by kkart
Suggested by Coloriffic
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Update: I was just informed this was made a Daily Deviation. I'm blown away. A big thank you to Coloriffic and kkart for this.


A female tiger (Panthera tigris) looks on at “Tiger Kingdom” in Chiang, Mai, Thailand (a seedy place I visited after an external request for investigation...I don’t particularly recommend it.)

For all the reasons given for saving the tiger, it is often the most superficial and intangible value judgements that are given, perhaps the most frequent being “tigers are beautiful”. It is not as though these reasons are in some way invalid (I very much support them), but weighing them against the experiences of people living with the tiger hardly will convince anyone that they should be saved. People using such arguments against those who witness economic and human loss at the hands of tigers will end up looking very foolish and insensitive.

So setting those reasons aside, why should we save creatures like the tiger? Well, consider the following...

“Do not cut down the forest with its tigers and do not banish the tigers from the forest. The tiger perishes without the forest, and the forest perishes without its tigers. Therefore, the tiger should stand guard over the forest and the forest should protect all its tigers.”

-From the Mahabharata, Udyogaparvan, 29, 47-48. Composed circa 400 B.C.E.

The quotation, though originally embedded within a spiritual context, offers ancient ecological insight which remains relevant today. Indeed, the tiger (Panthera tigris) is a guardian of the forest, a top carnivore situated at the highest levels of the food web. It is always flirting with extinction given the small amounts of energy available at such trophic echelons, but as a predator, always exerting a top-down influence on ecological systems. Given their precarious status, they are indicators of the health of an ecosystem and where tigers persist, so do other species, making it an effective umbrella species in conservation. So...saving the tiger begets a good chance other imperiled species can survive as well. However, the most convincing reason is that tigers can be ecologically valuable for humans as well. One study has drawn links between tigers and the preservation of bamboo, fuel wood, timber, honey, medicine and other products that directly or indirectly help thousands of people earn a living. This is in addition to ecological services such as protection of topsoil and the retention of groundwater. In areas where apex predators like the tiger have been removed, impacts such as unchecked ungulate grazing, lower recruitment of tree species, riparian function loss and species collapse have followed; however, even this is a simplification because such trophic cascades are actually far more complex and far-reaching. By destroying the tiger, we are burning bridges and inevitably dooming ourselves.

The tiger truly is an aegis of the ecology in which it is embedded...and considering many humans are embedded within this ecology too, their protection will ultimately help us. I say again that I don’t feel that we should only focus on what can be of use to us, but conservation should always take into account the existence of people and their needs, especially those who will be most impacted; conservation that does not is doomed to fail and relying on aesthetics and ethics often isn’t enough.

Simply put, if we save the tiger and other wildlife, we are ultimately saving ourselves: We are all connected.


Tigers are the largest of the big cats and are exclusively found in Asia from India to Vietnam, from Indonesia to the Russian Far East. The tiger can be divided into 9 subspecies: 4 are currently critically endangered and 3 are already extinct. Though estimations of tiger populations only a few years ago was 5,500-6,000, today populations are likely closer to 3,500 and are still declining. Dramatic declines of the tiger in India, thought to host the majority of the world's tigers, have fallen to less than 1,411. Overall, the past decade has seen a 40% reduction in tiger habitat, which now represents a mere 7% of its historic range. Poaching is a significant problem throughout the tiger's range, the demand for its body parts in traditional medicines, tonics, and exotic dishes driving a lucrative trade that is wiping out entire populations. Long-term threats include habitat fragmentation and prey depletion, which is accelerating the tiger's demise and subsequently reducing the long-term genetic viability of many populations.

If you want to help, the best for you to do is to educate yourself (wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endan…), never buy products made from tigers or endangered species (www.wildaid.org/), and tell others. Contact me for more information.

Image size
6232x4675px 14.99 MB
Shutter Speed
10/1250 second
Focal Length
39 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Nov 23, 2008, 4:14:26 PM
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Saberrex's avatar
Glad to see you take the importance of these animals to heart as well. :)