NatGeo Provides Intimate Look At Threatened Indian Tiger
With all the crazy stuff going on in the world today, it’s easy to forget that our decisions affect every living being on Earth, including those that aren’t human.
I won’t deny that the choices we make today could very well spell the end of our species in the next century. But what about the beautiful, innocent creatures that had nothing to do with the environmental and political clusterf*ck we now find ourselves?
It’s especially troubling to think about animals that don’t have the commercial appeal of the polar bear or a baby primate: those predators near or at the top of the food chain, like the majestic Indian Tiger.
These are animals that have no one to fear but humans, because we can destroy them without a gun or a trap. We are slowly chipping away at these species without irresponsible, negligent behavior.
National Geographic magazine’s December issue features the work of photographer Steve Winter, who spent months on the trail of one of earth’s most majestic and endangered beasts — the tiger. Winter worked extensively in some of tigers’ last strongholds in India, Thailand and Indonesia, capturing rare moments in the daily lives of wild tigers.
Here is an excerpt from the article by Caroline Alexander:
The tiger’s enemies are well-known: Loss of habitat exacerbated by exploding human populations, poverty—which induces poaching of prey animals—and looming over all, the dark threat of the brutal Chinese black market for tiger parts. Less acknowledged are botched conservation strategies that for decades have failed the tiger. The tiger population, dispersed among Asia’s 13 tiger countries, is estimated at fewer than 4,000 animals, though many conservationists believe there are hundreds less than that. To put this number in perspective: Global alarm for the species was first sounded in 1969, and early in the ’80s it was estimated that some 8,000 tigers remained in the wild. So decades of vociferously expressed concern for tigers—not to mention millions of dollars donated by well-meaning individuals—has achieved the demise of perhaps half of the already imperiled population.
Take a look at some of Winters’ most stunning shots (click to enlarge):
If you love NatGeo’s ability to capture intimate moments in the lives of wild animals, check out Field Test, a new feature on the National Geographic website that provides an inside look at field assignments for the magazine, and features Steve Winter’s friend and mentor, Nick Nichols, as he photographs lions in the Serengeti.
All images ©Steve Winter/National Geographic