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HeWhoWalksWithTigers's avatar

What For

Kumara, an Amur (Siberian) tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) at Jungle Cat World Zoo stares at you through a gap in a fence.

Unfortunately, I don't get to spend too much time with Kumara these days, who is slowly growing into old age. I forewent the wonderful experience of working directly with tigers and other amazing animals to focus on direct conservation of tigers in the wild, where they must be saved. It was an easy decision for me to make, but, unexpectedly, one that does take a toll.

When you put your heart and soul into caring for an animal, you can see the difference you make in their lives. This is especially true with Kumara, who is quite social and friendly. In conservation in the wild, this satisfaction is as elusive as the tiger itself.

Tigers are suffering catastrophic population declines in the wild and losing habitat. Success is rare. If you do have an impact - if your work helps a ranger stop a poacher before he sets a tiger snare - you may never know it. For every tiger you see alive in the wild in a photo, there are a hundred more dead in the news and reports you see. Tools may help you understand that a population is increasing, but fear always lingers in the back of your mind. Against an unrelenting surge of forces working against you, you must always continue fighting.

Selfishly, I miss the soothing of aching bones at the end of a hard day's work by a tiger's friendly chuff. I miss the quiet moments spent with a tiger alive and happy. However, my resolve is strengthened by these moments. They remind me what I'm working for.


If you want to help tigers, please send me a message and I will do whatever I can to give you advice. Tigers can be saved, but they need people that care to take that first step forward. As Edmunde Burke said,  "Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little."
Image details
Image size
581x800px 242.53 KB
Shutter Speed
1/125 second
Focal Length
31 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Jan 9, 2014, 4:02:39 PM
Sensor Size
© 2015 - 2021 HeWhoWalksWithTigers
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GeaAusten's avatar
LenaKemp's avatar
this photo looks exactly like the carpet in my living room :D (Big Grin) 
RoguishRobin's avatar
Beautiful words for beautiful animals.
tarkheki's avatar
One of the big trade offs we do when entering ANY industry, is having to trade in the intimacy of one-on-one independent work, for a greater good. While the bottom line goal is still the same, it does have it's perks in it's own way. I.E. we have the capacity to make a living form our passions and earn some kind of stability… even though sometimes that more independent pursuit and intimate bond is lost. This doesn't have to be- as we can always go back and visit! Also, there will come a day that you will be so profound in your own field, that you can afford to delegate work in order to resume those more intimate moment. Kumara will always be your one true love- and a symbol of what you stand for. It is in that her spirit is immortal- she sparks the thing that makes you want to be. That's a big honour, and an irreplaceable position in one's life!
RennardX's avatar
Wow, she really has grown up.
ComicScribe's avatar
I might not be around here as much as I used to be. There are some Deviants I remember for their art and style. But you, dear Sir, I remember not only for your wonderful photography, but for your story as well. It staggers me that with every picture you upload you also share a different story with us, and that there is so much meaning behind every single one. This time however I guess I'm at a loss of words. I can't even bring myself to say anything but that terrible cliche, since I am well aware of the fact I will probably never comprehend the feelings you have to face. All I can say is that I admire you for strenghtening your conviction even further, especially taking these bittersweet memories under consideration. This truly is a noble cause and an admirable attitude.
Still, I hope you will get your chance of meeting with Kumara again someday. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. Best of wishes!
And thank you.
amandas-sketches's avatar
ManitouWolf's avatar
I applaud your efforts there on the front lines of tiger conservation. 
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