By Kerri R.
Alice is curious what happened to the Shy Rabbit she had followed into the Savannah. Returning to the rabbit hole where she last saw the bunny, she searches the underground for what seems like a very very long time.
“There’s far too much to take in here, More to find than can ever be found.”Tim Rice
The rightfully timid creature prefers to stay safe and hidden and Alice decides to return to the surface. It isn’t quite like before though. The grassy land with sparse trees seems to have transformed into a different world covered in countless big-leaf trees (including the endangered dark red meranti tree) that she could barely see the ground in front of her. Massive flowers bloom like she had never seen before. Can this be real? It is a new Wonderland filled with the songs of tropical birds and small apes like the white gibbon and the endangered agile gibbon. She feels like Dororthy in the Wizard of Oz when she arrives in Oz.
“Toto…I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
Only Alice wishes her cat Dinah was with her as Dorothy had her dog. She imagines Dinah crouching through the jungle like she does in the grass at home and feels less alone.
Alice stumbles over something covered in leaves and catches herself on a tree. The tree looks like a giant scratching post with deep grooves in it. Curious. She turns to see what she tripped on when a group of people approach her and swiftly sweep Alice aside. A woman with a kind energy motions for her to be still and quiet. The unknown of what is happening confuses Alice and a few moments feel like forever as they wait. Then Alice hears the sound of leaves rustling under slow footsteps. A deep orange appears through the green leaves. Crouching like Dinah in the grass, the feline (with much larger paws) looks like he is about to pounce like Dinah springs onto her favorite toy. His target is out of Alice’s view at first. He pounces! And then she sees them…Two Sumatran Tiger cubs are wrestling playfully on the ground before their mother arrives and hurries them to keep moving along the path.
“There’s more to be seen than can ever be seen, More to do than can ever be done.”
For a brief moment the mother tiger looks directly into Alice’s eyes before continuing on. Still hiding in the brush, no one in Alice’s new group of friends moves again until they are sure it is safe to return to where Alice tripped. They all agree when to go together. Unsure how much time they have, the group moves quickly. Expecting to find a fallen branch, Alice learns that by luck she and the tigers had missed being caught in the snare trap left by poachers. The conservationists were out searching to remove the traps before anyone got hurt. A close call for everyone. Alice is stunned. Have you ever been caught in a trap of your own?
“And some of us sail through our troubles, And some have to live with the scars.”
Those who seek to trap the tiger desire to embody the spirit of the animal for its power, drive, and fearlessness. But at what cost?
“You should never take more than you give, In the circle of life.”
Imitation as a form of flattery comes at a high price when it contradicts the true spirit of the tiger. The feline is known for independence. A quiet confidence. An inner peace. It is unafraid to walk away from what or who disrupts that peace.
Every tiger’s stripes are unique to him or her. They are not meant to be taken. The spirit of the tiger comes from within and can’t be trapped. How can we prize something for its freedom and yet seek to control or contain it? Why can’t we celebrate what is special about someone or something without longing to possess it? Are animals going extinct because they are distinct? What does that say about our own fears and longings?
Tigers instinctively know that being an individual does not mean they are alone. They know who to trust. Tiger cubs may stumble along the way, but they are protected and encouraged to continue along the path.
“’Til we find our place, On the path unwinding, In the circle, The circle of life.”
Sumatran Tigers are critically endangered. Despite protection, illegal poaching continues to be a threat with still more losses in 2021.
Sumatran Tigers are Sudan Tigers. Do we take the risks of endangered animals for granted? Other Sudan Tigers (Javan and Bali) are already extinct.
Continental Tigers (Bengal, Malayan, Indochinese and Siberian) are endangered.
How poverty and corruption are linked to poaching endangered animals.
Alice encounters another magical feline in the next installment.
Kerri is an advocate for the introverted activist. Often at a loss for words in person, she writes to make sense of the world and connect with others. She wishes for more curiosity & kindness in the world.