Missouri Tigers, Real Tigers, facing Extinction?

by Val Germann

The last twenty years or so have been pretty tough on Missouri Tiger sports fans. In general, our University of Missouri “revenue” teams (that’s what they call football and basketball) have not done well, and the athletic department has been rocked by scandal after scandal. Luckily, the state’s sports fans are pretty much proof against reality and continue to show up for games, saving the MU Tiger from what some might call a well-deserved extinction.

If only things were working out as well for the real tigers, the ones in south Asia. But they’re not, as this quote from THE GUARDIAN today bluntly states:

But yesterday, a landmark study by leading conservationists warned that their plight is even more serious than previously feared. The big cat, the report warns, is close to extinction and the area in which it lives has been nearly halved in the last 10 years.

The situation is quite plain. The human population of India has shot through the roof while that of the Tiger has headed into the basement. The one is the same as the other, two halves of the same walnut, and all the hand-wringing in the world is not going to make one ounce of difference. But that isn’t going to stop some people, of course, who think that like King Canute they can bade the tide be still. Groups like Save the Tiger continue to have hopes:

The authors of the report – Setting Priorities for the Conservation and Recovery of Wild Tigers 2005-2015 – advocate a “tiger summit”, involving the heads of state of the 13 countries which still host the species.

But it’s all in vain, as anyone knows who has kept up with the overall situation. India, and all of south Asia, is “developing” at breakneck speed and its rampaging population needs more natural resources every day.

So, let’s hope the Missouri Tigers can avoid athletic extinction and MU’s athletic director can keep that tiger skin (donated by an alum who shot a Bengal Tiger in 1957) hanging on his office wall. That is, what a tragedy it would be if the tiger were to totally disappear!

Read the entire GUARDIAN article here.


About Val

I am a long-time teacher of science and astronomy with a strong interest in resource conservation and the environment.
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