Monday, January 16, 2006

Seen Any Big Cats Lately?

The Indian government launches a different kind of a census: to once again take stock of its tiger population. (40,000 a century ago, less than 3000 now - I'll take "fast dwindling" for 400 points, please)

Will the great tiger become a mythical, legendary beast, remembered only through pictures and paintings, poems and stories? Let's hope not.

If you think of extinction only in the context of dodos and dinosaurs, visit the Bronx Zoo sometime. The zoo has a depressing exhibit on animals that simply disappeared off the face of the earth. And the Tiger - the magnificent, beautiful Tiger - could soon end up on that wall in Bronx.

An old article in National Geographic (circa 2003) criticizes the Indian Government's previous attempts at such a census.

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