I have sooo just discovered the man I'm going to marry. Too bad he lives in Canada and has absolutely no clue that I even exist. The first time I saw him he was standing in a field, watching a tiger play. I was enthralled, wanting to watch forever, but then the show cut to commercial. Damn Discovery Channel.
So there's this experiment to reintroduce captive tigers into the wild. A 24 year old zoologist from Canada teamed up with a South African entrepeneur to create a sanctuary in Africa (where tigers do NOT live, by the way) to train captive tigers to hunt and then raise their children wild. The hope is that the new wild cubs can be introduced to their natural environment in Asia or Sibera to restrock the populations there and keep tigers from becoming extinct.
Dave Salmoni was a 24 year old accomplished zoologist and big cat handler when he started this project. I so want to be everything that he is, but the possibility of being a zoologist that actually gets to to do what he does is so small that I dind't think the risk was worth it. What better way to make up for that than to go through him, right? :) He's pretty damn, cute, too. :) Oh to play with tigers and cute men who play with tigers. That would be the life.
Anyway, the experiment rocks and seems to be going successfully so far. The tigers learned to hunt and are now being tracked by satellite to make sure they are truly adapted before impregnating the female. Check out the story of "Living With Tigers."
There's also a really cool description of the different species of tigers that are still living today. The last of the most recently extinct species, the Javan tiger, died no more than eight years ago.