This 4-year-old female is an exceptional hunter. Her amazing stripes are perfect to blend in with her surroundings. This is so important now that the humans have come closer. They are expanding their villages and clearing the forest to make way for their own livestock. And the poachers are even worse. They lay traps and are ready with guns to use her body for their medicines. Many of the people understand her beauty and respect her, she just wishes more would.
The tiger is the largest member of the feline family with a great roar that can be heard as far as two miles away. The Bengal tiger may be the most iconic out of all 5 remaining species and is even considered charismatic megafauna, a large animal with such symbolic value and appeal that they are often used to gain popular support. With its beautiful striped coat and majestically strong limbs, it’s not surprising why. It is the national symbol of both India and Bangladesh.
Tigers are independent creatures, only coming together for mating or on special occasions when food is plentiful. Otherwise, each tiger aggressively marks their territory and stay within the confines of their home range. A male will maintain an extra-large home range so he can have exclusive rights to multiple females which overlap with his territory. A mother will give birth to between 1-4 cubs in a den she has found in either tall grass, thick bush, or a nice cave. The cubs are born completely helpless with their eyes and ears closed and covered in a thick woolly fur that they will shed when they are 3 and a half to 5 months old. They suckle for milk until they can start to eat solids at around 2 months old. Once they have reached this milestone the cubs will start to follow their mum out on her hunting trips, learning everything they need to know. At around 2-3, they have learnt everything they can from their mum and will start to look for their own territory, moving out of the family unit and becoming independent.
Tigers are carnivores and stealthily hunt, using their stripes as camouflage, to take down their prey, sometimes as big as an elephant! They very rarely attack humans, tending to avoid them instead. On the off chance they do, it is usually because they are sick and cannot hunt normally or there is not enough food.
All tiger species are endangered and the Bengal tiger has the biggest population of them all, a very sad fact when there are thought to be fewer than 2,500 left. Their biggest threat is poaching. They are killed for their beautiful fur, their bones and body parts for use in traditional Chinese medicines, and by trophy hunters. Their use in medicines has had no proven efficacy. Their habitat has also been badly degraded and fragmented by logging and the ever-encroaching human presence. They also suffer from retaliation from humans who will kill them if they attack their livestock.
HOW TO HELP
Based off real animals that Gillie and Marc met while travelling, the public will be able to meet individual animals.
With public art, more people will come into contact with these sculptures, will stop and consider them, will take a photograph, and will discuss this with their friends and family. Through this increased exposure, the message of love, family, and conservation will be spread much further than any piece of art in a gallery ever could. It will bring people into close contact and will help them to fall in love. With love comes a greater urge to want to create a change and save all endangered animals.
The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtag #LoveTheLast to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe.
To help protect these animals, please donate to the WWF: https://www.wwf.sg/