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Save the Tiger

April 20, 2018

When the stars threw down their spears, And water'd heaven with their tears: Did he smile his work to see?  Did he who made the Lamb make thee?       

               ~William Blake


I had mentioned this movie in one of my previous newsletter articles to you but this one is with a new ending.  They said it couldn’t be done, but against the odds, director Ang Lee released a pioneering movie in 2012 from a supposedly unfilmable book “Life of Pi.”   Spoiler alert!

Briefly, a young man named Pi loses his family in a shipwreck.  Lost at sea, he is the lone survivor on a life boat, or so he


thought- he is alone with a fearsome Bengal tiger on board!


Pi is naturally terrified of the tiger, but eventually develops feelings for the tiger and begins to take care of him.  After all they have nowhere to else go.  So they learn to live on the small boat together.  Pi provides the tiger with fish, soothes him with words, and even embraces the tiger after a horrible storm. Paradoxically, the tiger helps Pi survive.  Pi’s focus on the tiger's needs keeps him going. 


One take away from this story is that we need each other.  “Waitaminnit” …lost at sea with a tiger in the boat?  We may soon never have to worry about meeting a tiger. The tiger is one among a growing list of critically endangered species due to poaching, habitat loss, conflicts with humans, and climate change. There are less than 4000 tigers left in the world. The tiger is an apex predator: wolves, bears, other great cats, hawks, eagles, crocodiles, killer whales  and sharks make up this list.  Apex predators have an important ecological function; by eliminating slow, weak and sick animals (and sometimes just plain unlucky ones) they help reduce the risk of overpopulation while keeping the prey population healthier.  They are also important to the health of the ecosystem. They maintain the balance between prey species and the rest of the system. Without apex predators, everything gets out of balance, leading to cycles of population explosions and crashes, depleted lands, stunted forests, and flooding rivers. The short answer to Wm. Blake’s question,” Did he who made the lamb make thee?” is yes.  We need each other, and our work as caretakers of God’s creation is to dream a dream of healing and hope where all creatures great and small can share the bounty and beauty of life together here on planet earth. Save the tiger and we’ll save ourselves and future generations!

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