By Graham Land
From Russia to India to Indonesia, to the UK and US – people can’t get enough of tigers. We name our sports teams after them, sing songs about their eye and refer to anyone (or anything) fierce as a “tiger”, whether it’s a particularly sexy person or a particularly robust economy.
Ah, but there’s the rub. No matter how much we might like tigers, economies trump them every time. We’ll click millions of times on videos of Sumatran tiger cubs learning how to swim at the National Zoo in Washington, DC because of the dopamine hit their innate cuteness provides, but as a species, we’re not really that interested in their survival.
From National Geographic (yes, go on and click the link in order to see the cuteness):
"Sumatran tigers are endangered, and the birth of the cubs in August was considered 'a conservation success,' according to the National Zoo’s website. With only about 500 Sumatran tigers living in the wild, Bandar and Sukacita represent the future of the species."
A birth at a zoo is considered a conservation success. But what then is a 51 km (31 mi) road through the Harapan Rainforest, a crucial area of remaining habitat for the Sumatran Tiger? Progress, I suppose? Well, at least we have the swimming cubs in Washington. (Let’s try not to mention the one that died in the London Zoo last month. Oops.)
And it’s not just tigers. It never is. The Harapan Rainforest is one of those pesky biodiversity hotspots that keep getting in the way of big companies tearing up the Earth in order to get at some dirty fuel and make a few bucks for a few years before buggering off in search of new plunder.
Here’s what a spokesman for the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has to say about Harapan (via the Observer): More....