Future generations would be truly saddened that this century had so little foresight, so little compassion, such lack of generosity of spirit for the future that it would eliminate one of the most dramatic and beautiful animals this world has ever seen.
But saddened they will be, because the breakneck pace of neo-feudal capitalism across this planet places the tiger, and many other endangered species like it, at the sharp end of our failure to act, or even to care. There are now more tigers in captivity in the state of Texas than there are still living in the wild, and even the most optimistic of estimates suggest this creature could be extinct as a wild species within my lifetime. At best, that means within forty years, and if ever the massed ranks of opponents against the global agenda needed an iconic representation of their cause, then it’s the tiger. Let’s face it, pictures of starving children and ‘Third World’ slave workers don’t seem to have any effect, but how about something like the tiger, a creature who faces the dual threat of human encroachment into their traditional territories and, much more significantly, the poaching of their body parts to be traded illegally and used in Chinese ‘medicine’, a trade that is so lucrative that pound for pound these body parts are more valuable than gold or platinum. This animal has been perfected by natural selection over hundreds of thousands of years to be the Lamborghini of apex predators, and instead of regarding it with the awe and respect (as it has been by many ancient cultures) that it deserves, it’s treated by some as a resource to be exploited until exhaustion. Future generations – if we survive that long, and on my worst days I have serious doubts that we can – will looks back at us with a justified mixture of disgust and pity, because of what we allowed to happen in the name of “progress.”