Tigers Forever Book Review – Showcasing the Plight of the Majestic Tigers

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National Geographic's Tigers Forever Saving the World's Most Endangered Big Cat, by Steve Winter highlights the global plight of these majestic and regal animals as their numbers dwindle due to territorial boundaries, poachers, hunters, and famine.


Michael Cline provides a foreword and through it the audience is introduced to Alan Rabinowitz, one of the world's foremost experts on big cats and one of the most successful advocates on tiger conservation.

Between the two, each who provide forward "Let's Talk Tigers" and "Saving Tigers," the reader is provided sufficient expert information to understand tigers, and big cats, lions, jaguars, and snow leopards, are endangered. And as their natural habitats are primarily in areas of the world that experience high levels of poverty, and on the open market a dead tiger can bring in $100,000, the ethical questions of conservation or feeding a starving family, depending on what side of the spectrum one is on, is clear.

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Tigers Forever is misleading. The expected pictorial on big cats, the long lens capture of the hunt, the tiger gliding steely eyed through the tall grass hunting its prey, at rest, and the battles between those who dare encroach, are missing from the 223 pages.

Tigers Forever Saving the World's Most Endangered Big Cat is divided into chapters beginning with "Myanmar: In The Valley of Death;" "Kaziranga: Dodging Bullets;" "Sumatra: With Sumatran Tiger;" "Thailand: Tiger Science and "India: Bengal Tigers." Within each chapter a field expert provides commentary on the region, and the demise of the majestic king of the jungle.

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What readers will find when they open the over-sized tome is a book dedicated to saving the mysterious, secretive, stealth, and unfortunately endangered animals. Readers will also understand the world of tigers, where they live, the dwindling numbers, the wild, free and caged, and the unfortunate disparity as there are four times more caged tigers in the United States than are free in the world.

Wild tigers are down to 3200, globally, with one-third breeding females.

Tigers Forever is accompanied by the double paged, specialty size coffee table art book glossies of tigers, what the audiences has opened the pages to see, in their natural habitat, and for many as close to a safari as they desire.

It is also filled with images of tiger hunters, of bear paws sold for $8.00 US, villagers who have little wares to sell and would kill the tiger to eat and sell the paws, teeth, and skin. A father and son poaching team uses razor wire and confessed to killing 100 tigers.

In Sumatra and Thailand biologists, researchers, and wildlife veterinarians work to save the imperiled and wounded tigers, through a variety of means including trapping, sedating, and fitting with satellite collars for study.

Camera trap photos are also used by researchers to determine the regions tiger population, the stripe pattern on each tiger is as unique as a fingerprint on each human.

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Throughout the pages are also pictures of life in each of the regions, and the animals, rhino's, elephants, chimpanzees, and others that reside alongside with the most destructive: man, commercialization and destruction of the world's forest, deforestation.

"Tiger Forever is our Hail Mary pass. The clock is running out and the odds are stacked against us. We are still far downfield but the quarterback and receivers of the tiger world are highly skilled, passionate, and creative individuals who know their craft. The time is now, and the opportunity is ours to take. The ball is in the air," Alan Rabinowitz said.

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In the creation of this book, National Geographic partners with Panthera, a nonprofit organization that brings together the world's leading experts to direct and implement effective conservation strategies for the largest and most endangered cats: tigers, lions, jaguars, and snow leopards. Panthera's Tigers Forever program, officially launched in 2006, is committed to increasing tiger numbers at key sites by 50 percent over the next ten years.

Tigers Forever Saving the World's Most Endangered Big Cat is available at fine bookstore everywhere or online through National Geographic.

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